Hurrah for apple season, and for the need to wear more layers to hide the cake you’re entirely justified in eating in a bid to keep warm. Mentions of Indian Summers will be glossed over. I recently discovered this recipe in Well Seasoned: Exploring Cooking and Eating with the Seasons by Russell Brown and Jonathan Haley, which was published earlier this year. I have modified it a bit, to make it more of a cake and less of a pudding. It’s got a few stages, but is actually very easy to make, and totally worth it.
The Toffee Sauce
100ml double cream
1 strip of lemon zest
½ tsp sea salt flakes
100g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
Knob of butter
5 sharp apples, peeled, cored and cut in to 8 wedges (I used Cox, which fall apart a little but I liked that)
4 tbsp caster sugar
150g caster sugar
50g light soft brown sugar
200g self-raising flour (I used Doves Farm gluten free self-raising flour which worked fine)
½ tsp mixed spice
3 large, free-range eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 160oC and butter and line a 1L loaf tin
- Warm the cream and lemon zest for around 20 minutes, then bring just to a simmer. Set aside to cool.
- In a heavy-based pan warm the sugar and syrup until they’re a medium caramel colour then add the cream and cook over a low heat until the caramel has dissolved. Pass through a sieve in to a jug and set to one side to cool.
- Melt the butter in another heavy based pan, add the apple and sprinkle with the sugar.
- Mix to coat and then fry until lightly caramelised (I put mine in the bottom of the Roasting Oven of the Aga for about 10 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- Cream the butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs to the mixture, following each egg with a spoonful of flour to avoid it curdling.
- Mix in the last of the flour and mixed spice and stir to combine.
- Put the apples in the base of the cake tin, and spread to form a thin layer.
- Spread the caramel sauce over the apples, mixing gently, and then chill for 20 minutes or so.
- Pour the cake mixture over the apples and caramel and spread to level the top.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150oC for a further 30-40 minutes (I put mine in the bottom of the Roasting Oven of the Aga, and put a cold shelf above after the initial 10 minutes, it only needed another 25 minutes to cook). It should be risen, golden and firm to the touch in the centre of the sponge.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carefully inverting on to a plate. It’s best served warm, with clotted cream in my opinion. You can try and make it in advance, but I challenge you not to try some as soon as it comes out of the oven!