Oh this cake! It is huge and it is a Hummingbird recipe so I knew it would be good (the book is currently £5, a total steal and excellent cake book). When it comes to apple cake, this cinnamon crumble apple cake is incredibly hard to beat, but this is a whole different kind of cake. An apple cake for sure but similar to a carrot cake. The icing was something new entirely, a brown sugar meringue icing; who knew?! This was the second cake I made for a fantastic party that I went to last weekend. I worried people wouldn’t be able to eat a whole slice themselves, given it was a 4 layer cake, but I needn’t have worried (that’s got to be a good sign right?).
This is an event cake, it is vast and you will need several people there to help you eat it.
- 280 g of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated (you want 100 g of grated apple)
- 120 ml of apple juice
- 500 g of light brown sugar
- 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 0.5 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
- 0.5 tsp of ground ginger
- 4 large eggs
- 460 g of plain flour
- 2.5 tsp of baking powder
- 2.5 tsp of baking soda
- 0.5 tsp of salt
- 120 ml of sour cream
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 300 g of pecans, chopped
- Four 20 cm (8 inch) round loose-bottomed cake tins
For the icing:
- 6 large egg whites
- 250 g of dark brown sugar
- 440 g of unsalted butter, chilled and chopped into cubes
- gold dragées, to decorate( optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C.
- Line the bases (with baking paper) and grease the sides of the 4 tins.
- Melt 40 g of the unsalted butter (from the cake mixture butter) into a medium sized saucepan, over a medium heat.
- Add the grated apples to the pan.
- Add the apple juice, 150 g of the light brown sugar and the spices to the pan and stir. Cook until the apples are soft and the liquid has reduced by about three-quarters.
- In a large mixing bowl (or food mixer) whisk together the remaining butter and light brown sugar using a electric whisk, until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, once the previous egg is thoroughly mixed in.
- In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, along with half the sour cream and all of the vanilla. Mix until well combined, on a low speed.
- Mix in the remaining dry ingredients and sour cream.
- Using a spatula, fold in the cooked apple mixture and pecans, until well combined.
- Divide evenly between the four tins (a set of scales will help you here).
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the sponge bounces back when pressed lightly. The recipe says 20 minutes but I found mine needed a little longer, keep a close eye on them after 20 minutes.
- Leave the cakes to cool for a few minutes in the tins, then removed them and let them cool fully on a wire rack.
- Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the icing. Place the egg whites and dark brown sugar in a medium-large glass mixing bowl, over a pan of simmering water.Using an electric hand held whisk, whisk at high speed for 6-8 minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved and the meringue has increased in volume and forms soft peaks. My electric whisk doesn’t have a very long cord so I needed an extension lead for this.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, a few cubes at a time. Once all the butter has been added, whisk for a further 5 minutes, until the icing is smooth and glossy. Set the frosting aside to cool for 45 mins – 1 hour.
- To put the cake together, place the bottom layer onto a plate or board (I found a little dollop of icing underneath the bottom layer stops it sliding around. Scoop a good few tbsp of icing on top of it and spread is out until you have a few mm of icing evenly spread over it. Repeat this for the further 3 layers.
- Place a thin layer of icing all around the sides and filling in any gaps between layers at the edges, then place a thicker layer of icing over the sides and smooth using a palette knife.
- Top with gold dragées or anything else that you fancy.
- Take it to a party and prepare to be pounced on.