Spiced Apple Cake

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?).

Spiced apple

This is an event cake, it is vast and you will need several people there to help you eat it.

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Line the bases (with baking paper) and grease the sides of the 4 tins.
  3. Melt 40 g of the unsalted butter (from the cake mixture butter) into a medium sized saucepan, over a medium heat.
  4. Add the grated apples to the pan.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, once the previous egg is thoroughly mixed in.
  8. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  9. 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.
  10. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients and sour cream.
  11. Using a spatula, fold in the cooked apple mixture and pecans, until well combined.
  12. Divide evenly between the four tins (a set of scales will help you here).
  13. 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.
  14. Leave the cakes to cool for a few minutes in the tins, then removed them and let them cool fully on a wire rack.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.Spiced apple2
  18. 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.
  19. Top with gold dragées or anything else that you fancy.
  20. Take it to a party and prepare to be pounced on.

Cakes

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