Monday, 2 February 2015

Cinnamon Spiced Apple & Walnut Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Yep… here’s ANOTHER walnut recipe, but they really are such a versatile nut and can be used in so many ways in both sweet and savoury dishes that I think it’s worth posting this recipe! Here they have been used alongside apples in a cinnamon spiced cake which is then topped with a salted caramel sauce!!! This may be a slightly sinful cake, but it tastes heavenly.
 
This cake is made by melting the butter and adding it along with the eggs and brown sugar to the dry ingredients. This along with the inclusion of apple slices makes for a beautifully moist cake which can be served as it is cut into slices as a teatime treat or with some extra salted caramel sauce and a small dollop of lightly whipped cream as a dessert. A couple of days after I made it, I heated some up and served it in a bowl with some warm custard which was absolutely delicious and strongly recommended.  As I have suggested, this cake keeps extremely well; as the cake contains quite a lot of apple in it, I stored it in the fridge after the first day – you can warm it up again in a low oven or heat for 30 seconds in a microwave and serve it with the aforementioned custard, or some vanilla ice-cream!
 
I love the crunch of the almonds in this cake and think that they taste wonderful against the sweetness of the apples. Although I have not tried it yet, you could always substitute sliced pears for the apples which would also taste fab with the walnuts.
 
Initially I had decided not to include any spices in the cake, but on a whim changed my mind and opted to add some ground cinnamon. I am really glad that I did as the cinnamon really made the walnuts seem more intensely flavoured. Although the cinnamon also makes the cake appear sweeter, I decided that I would top the cake off with some salted caramel sauce. Caramel when brought to the right stage of caramelization has a perfect balance between being sweet but with a slightly bitter edge. The addition of salt further balances out the sweetness and really excites the taste buds.
 
I baked this cake in a deep 27cm ring cake tin, but you could bake it in a 22cm-23.5cm round cake tin.
 

Ingredients:

325g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
225g butter, melted and allowed to cool
200g caster sugar
125g light brown muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
Salted caramel sauce:
250g caster sugar
80ml water
1tsp vanilla extract
125ml double cream
25g butter
½ tsp sea salt flakes
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Grease a deep 27cm ring tin with butter and then sprinkle with flour shaking out the excess. Set aside.
2. Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together into a large mixing bowl. Separately mix the melted butter, caster and muscovado sugar together and add the eggs, whisking together to combine.
3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly mix in the butter mixture, with a balloon whisk, making sure that there are no pockets of the dry mixture remaining. Add the sliced apples and chopped walnuts and mix them through the batter with a wooden spoon making sure that they are well distributed.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and even out the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes or until the cake is well risen and a thin skewer inserted into the cake come outs clean of any batter. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to finish cooling completely before topping with the salted caramel sauce.
Salted caramel sauce:
5. Place the water and sugar in a heavy-based, medium sized saucepan and bring up to the boil over a moderate to high heat. Do not stir the mixture as this can cause it to crystalize, but gently swirl the saucepan every now and again.
6. Allow a caramel to develop which will take about 4 to 5 minutes. When you have reached this stage, pour in the double cream carefully – the mixture will splutter – and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the mixture over a moderate heat for a further 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
7. Add the butter, vanilla extract and salt flakes and stir well. The sauce is ready.
To finish:
8. Pour the sauce, whilst still warm, over the cake. This makes more sauce than you will need, but believe me, you will find loads of uses for the extra!

Serves 10-12.