Sunday, 15 November 2015

Toffee Apple and Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

We had quite a lovely autumn this year.  The colours of all the trees around here were just stunning!  I really wish I had thought to get a picture of the view coming into the village before the truly horrible weather set in.  It was seriously pretty with the trees and the church and the local restaurant lit up with its fairy lights.  Especially when the sun is giving off that nice warm glow you only get when it's low in the sky.  Ah well.  It didn't occur to me until too late and now everywhere is wet and grey and most of the leaves have been blown off the trees.

Anyway, since it's autumn I felt like baking with some autumn flavours.  I was determined to include pumpkin, as I have several tins of it in my cupboard from bulk buying it last year.  However, I then started going a bit mad with wanting to add all sorts of flavours so I also ended up using apples, toffee and ginger.  I used a combination of two recipes for my autumnal experiment.  Well, actually, I used three as originally I was going to include cinder toffee too.  I scrapped that, though not until after I made it.  The cinder toffee turned out well but tasted ever so slightly burnt so it left a bitter after taste.  I didn't think that was right so I figure I'll try that again another day.  The cake was fine without it anyway. 

I made this cake twice as the first one did not turn out the way I wanted.  It was far too dense in the middle.  It still tasted good but it annoyed me because I knew it should have been more cake-y.  Turns out I over mixed it.  I got too carried away with my lovely mixer.  Oops.  So the second time around I made sure to do the barest minimum of mixing for each stage and folded in the flour.  The result was much better so I was happy.

It's not the most attractive looking cake.  But I think that seems to be common with fruit baked on the top.  I never think upside-down cakes look particularly appealing unless you've used pineapple.  Cooked toffee and fruit and dark cake can look overdone, even though it isn't.  It probably would look a bit better if my apples were a bit more evenly cut.  Ah well.

This cake was scrummy.  Nice and moist with a distinctly apple taste and a ginger note at the end.  Drizzled with leftover toffee sauce is a necessity and this would go well with warm cream. 

Recipe - inspired by Sophie Thompson (via A Mummy Too) and Very Best Baking by Nestle

Toffee Sauce:
  • 100g/3.5oz butter
  • 100g/3.5oz muscovado sugar
  • 150ml/5fl.oz double cream
  • 245g/8.5oz plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1.25 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see here to make your own)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 115g/4oz butter
  • 115g/4oz granulated sugar
  • 45g/1.5oz brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 a tin of canned pumpkin (about 215g/7.5oz)
  •  3-4 large green eating apples (like Granny Smith)
  • 60ml/2fl.oz treacle 
  1. Start by making the toffee sauce.  Put the butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan together and set over a low heat.
  2. Stir the mixture until it is bubbling and golden.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Line a 23cm/9inch round, spring-form or loose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  4. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  5. Cream the butter and the sugars together in a separate bowl until fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in after each addition until just incorporated.
  7. Peel and grate half an apple and add it, the pumpkin and treacle to the mix.  Beat in.
  8. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients.
  9. Spoon half the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth out.
  10. Peel half of the remaining apples and cut into thin slices.  Arrange the slices in a spiral pattern inside the tin.
  11. Drizzle with about 1/3 of the toffee sauce.
  12. Repeat steps 9-11 with the remaining batter, apples and toffee sauce (you should have some sauce left over for serving).
  13. Bake the cake in the oven for just over an hour (a skewer inserted through the middle of the cake should come out clean).
  14. Allow cake to cool in the tin for at least 45 minutes before unmoulding then finish cooling on a wire rack.
  15. Serve with remaining toffee sauce. 

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