Just before Lockdown Number Three there was a window of time when my son and daughter-in-law were able to visit, together with their new puppy. At the same time we were able to exchange Christmas presents. The visit wasn’t very long, and we weren’t sure when we would see each other again… a worrying feeling of uncertainty.
But we managed a feast together of goose, followed by this fabulous gooey cake. There was a lot left, and my concerned maternal instincts were slightly alleviated by being able to give the remains to our visitors – the cake was a huge hit with all tasters.
Don’t waste the other half of the orange: peel, and slice thinly and add to a salad of rocket, spring onions, walnuts, and celery.
Here’s what to do.
Really soft, gooey, apple and caramel cake with which to celebrate
Serves – 10
- 4 ordinary eating apples
- 350g/12 oz/1¾ cups soft brown sugar
- ½ orange – juice and zest
- 3 eggs
- 240 ml/1 cup olive oil
- 330g/2 cups plain flour
- 5 tsps baking powder
- 100g/1 cup ground almonds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Generous grinds of nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- Pinch of salt
- 150-180g/5-6 oz packet of plain cream cheese
- 100g/4 oz butter
- 165g/1⅓ cups icing sugar
- Make sure your butter is at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 210°C.
- Peel, core and grate two of the apples.
- Line the bases of two 20 cm/8” loose-bottomed cake tins. On one of them use a generous amount of paper (the paper should come up the sides by a couple of cm/half an inch), then butter them. Encase the tin with the extra paper in tin foil (to prevent leakage).
- Make the apple decoration for the top of the cake by peeling and coring the two remaining apples, then quarter and cut into thin slices. Arrange them in a decorative, overlapping circle on the base of the tin with the foil.
- Put 135g/⅔ cup of the brown sugar in a small saucepan with the orange juice. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Dissolve the sugar, and reduce to a thickish, dark, caramel syrup. Don’t let it burn. When it’s ready pour it over the apple slices and leave to cool while you get on with the rest of the cake.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric whisk, mix the rest of the sugar with the eggs. Then whisk in the olive oil, and grated apple.
- With a spoon fold in the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, spices and salt. Pour into the two cake tins.
- Bake for about 30 minutes – a skewer should come out clean. The cake with the caramel topping may need a few more minutes.
- Once out of the oven leave to cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile make the filling. You can use the same mixing bowl, and whisk, you used for the cake mix. Soften up the cream cheese with the whisk, and add the butter. When the mixture is smooth, slowly add the icing sugar. Whisk in the orange zest.
- It’s recommended that you assemble this cake as near to the time of eating as you can. In the meantime keep everything cool, the filling in the fridge.
- When you come to assembling put the non-caramel cake onto a cake tin and spread with the filling (which you’ve taken out of the fridge before to get it to room temperature). Top with the caramel cake. You may find there is loads of caramel sauce still left in the cake tin. Don’t waste this! Serve in a small jug for happy eaters to help themselves.