Before I start to explain how insanely tasty this cake is, I have a confession… this is not my own recipe.
In fact, it’s my future Mother-in-laws, and after tasting this cake a few weeks ago I knew I just had to share it with you (Ruth I hope I’ve done it justice!).
Unlike the usual ‘cream your butter and sugar together’ method, this recipe requires you to rub the butter into the flour, coating the flour proteins in a layer of fat. The ‘rubbing-in’ method makes it harder for water to get through, resulting in less gluten and a finer, more tender crumb. Trust me once you take your first bite you will know what I’m talking about.
I decided to drizzle the cake with homemade caramel, because well you know it’s November…bonfire night, toffee apples and all that, and also I wanted to practise my caramel making skills, or lack of! For some reason it always seems to crystallize for me, but not this time I think i’ve finally cracked it 🙂 Read on to see my top tips for beautifully smooth golden caramel.
Ingredients (makes an 8inch round cake)
300g self-raising flour
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
150g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
150g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs, at room temp
8 tbsps. milk
250-300g Granny Smith Apples, peeled cored and chopped into small chunks
For the caramel drizzle
100g granulated sugar
2 tbsps. water
40g butter, at room temperate and cut into pieces
60g heavy cream, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 180°C and line an 20cm round cake tin with grease proof paper. I use cake liners for ease, which can be purchased from most large supermarkets.
Mix the flour, baking powder and the cinnamon together in a large bowl.
Add the chilled butter and rub it into the flour until it begins to look like fine breadcrumbs.
Now stir in the light brown sugar.
Add the egg and milk, and mix together until you reach a smooth, thick cake batter.
Fold in the apple and sultanas until coated in mixture.
Pour the mixture into your tin and bake in the center of the oven for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and is springy to the touch. A skewer inserted into a centre should come out clean.
Leave on the side to cool whilst you make your caramel drizzle.
For the caramel drizzle*
Add the sugar and water to a medium-large sized saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until combined.
Leave the sugar to melt, do not stir the sugar. Simply swirl the saucepan until the sugar has melted and turns a light amber colour, similar to the picture below. Be patient, this can take a while!
Carefully add the butter and whisk until all the butter has melted.
Now remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have smooth caramel.
Pour into a bowl and leave to cool and thicken for about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, drizzle the caramel over the cake.
*here are my top-tips for smooth, golden caramel – no lumps here!
1. Use a medium-large saucepan so the sugar becomes thinly spread along the bottom. This is help the sugar to melt evenly and stop it from burning.
2. Make sure your saucepan and ultensils are completely dry and free from any debris.
3. Add a few spoons of water to the sugar before putting it on the heat. The water will help prevent crystallisation.
4. Resist the urge to stir the sugar as it melts. Simply swirl the saucepan to stop it from burning.
5. The cream and butter must be at room temperature before you add that them to the melted sugar, I would recommend getting them out the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start.