Saturday, 5 April 2014

Baking: a toffee apple cake for my three-year old

Happy Birthday Tiny One! He turned three. It feels like he's on an express train to grown-up some days.

He asked for an apple cake for his birthday. He also asked for a lion cake for his lion birthday party. I won't show you the lion cake. It was atrocious. I mean, he was happy, and it tasted really good, but it was the ugliest cake I've ever made for a birthday. And considering that I have three boys, 15, 4 and 3, that's a lot of birthday cakes it comes behind.

But the apple cake a few days later was a winner. I looked at quite a few recipes, but apple cakes are quite teatime-ish and not so very birthday-ish, aren't they? Then I stumbled on the Apple Cake with Toffee Topping in Tessa Kiros' Falling Cloudberries. It's a lovely plain cake sat atop melded apple slices and topped with toffee sauce, both of which take it most definitely into the birthday category. We are still enjoying it! It's lovely with a cuppa mid morning (who, me?!). You can find the recipe if you 'look inside' on amazon, p.269, but I'll give it to you here too, in my own words, as the Amazon version is in US measurements...

Tessa Kiros' Apple Cake with Toffee Topping

For the cake, you'll need: 3 apples, 100g softened butter, 200g caster sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3 eggs, 200g plain flour, 2 tsps baking powder, 60ml milk.
And for the topping: 20g butter, 115g caster sugar, 125ml single cream.

Preheat the oven to 190oC and grease and flour a 24cm springform tin. Peel the apples, and cut each into 12 pieces, removing the core. Arrange the slices in the tin (they fit in two tightly packed concentric circles).

With an electric beater or whisk, cream your butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Then add the eggs one by one, beating well each time. Sift and beat in the flour and baking powder, followed by the milk. Plop the smooth, fluffy batter onto the apple slices, smoothing the top. Then bake for 35-45mins until a skewer comes out clean (I use wooden skewers or a piece of dry spaghetti). Remove from the oven to a cooling rack, but keep it in its tin.

Time for the toffee: cook the butter and sugar in a small pan for 3-4mins until the sugar melts and turns a light caramel. Add the cream very slowly at first. Lower the heat and simmer for another minute. If your caramel solidifies in the middle of creamy sea (yes, that was mine), just heat slowly and use a sauce whisk. To start with the caramel will stick to it but be patient - eventually you'll be lump-free and caramel-coloured!

Run a palette knife around your cake sides then add the toffee sauce. Leave to cool before removing the side of the tin. Ice-cream or cream would be lovely with it, but we had neither and loved it still. It keeps well in the fridge - we're on day 3, it's still yummy and there's still 1/4 left. Not for long!

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