The leaves are turning, the mornings are misty and the season of mellow fruitfulness has definitely arrived. There are apples aplenty here in the New Forest and apple cake is an autumnal essential bake. For Bonfire Night last year, I reckon I created my best ever. It’s a toffee apple hazelnut cake and is just perfect for this time of year.
Thankfully there seems to be a growing trend in the UK and elsewhere towards high quality independently produced food. Just as farmers’ markets have grown in popularity, online delicatessens offering artisanal products are also springing up; these delights are now much more accessible to those of us who don’t have a fantastic deli just around the corner – it’s a great time to discover excellent products you’ve never heard of before, especially with Christmas just around the corner. I’m all for it.
When I was sent the bar of Divine spiced toffee apple chocolate that I reviewed on Day Four of Chocolate Week, delicious as it was, I knew I had to make something with it – something suitable for bonfire night on 5th November. Read on for my spiced toffee apple bonfire cakes recipe.
I had a birthday cake to make for a friend and given free rein to make what I thought fit, I was in the mood to create a salted caramel cake. A once unfamiliar concept on British shores, it seems to have taken the nation by storm and is now everyone’s favourite flavour – it’s certainly one of mine.
Salted caramel and brownies are two of my favourite things, so what could be better than combining them both? Not much as it turns out. Read on to find out how to make this divine recipe for Cornish sea salted caramel brownies.
The wonderfully creative Elizabeth from her kitchen in Shetland is hosting this month’s We Should Cocoa and she has tasked us with making bite sized chocolates. Flavours are completely up to us. As it happened I’d been given some chocolate flower moulds with sticks as a birthday present from my mother and this seemed the perfect opportunity to try them out and make one of my favourites, almond chocolates.
On Friday, we celebrated Cornwall Clandestine Cake Club’s 1st birthday. With this momentous event in mind, we were tasked with making something rather special, a “birthday cake”, not I hasten to add that the CCC cakes aren’t always special. I’d seen a few caramel cakes on the internet recently and had also just tried Green & Black’s new sea salted milk chocolate which I rather fell for. These combined to give me salted caramel on the brain, so I decided to indulge my new found obsession and make a salted caramel chocolate cake. I couldn’t find anything in my cookery books or on the net that appealed, so I adapted the chocolate caramel cupcakes I made a couple of years ago to fit my vision.
- Dissolved 225g caster sugar in a large pan on gentle heat with 100ml water.
- Brought to the boil and left for a few minutes to bubble away. Then “watched like a hawk” for it to turn to a nice reddish brown caramel colour, but to ensure it didn’t burn.
- Poured in 200ml double cream. It all went very lumpy at this point, but I stirred and stirred and eventually it became more or less smooth.
- Stirred in 1/2 tsp Cornish sea salt and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- Creamed 250g unsalted butter with 200g dark brown sugar.
- Beat in about 1/3 of the caramel.
- Broke in three duck eggs (large hens eggs are fine) and beat well.
- Sifted in 200g flour (1/2 spelt, 1/2 white), 40g of cocoa and 1 rounded tsp baking powder.
- Spooned into two 21 cm cake moulds and baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
- Left to cool for ten minutes then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Creamed 80g salted butter with 120g icing sugar until my arm was sore and the mixture was very light and fluffy.
- Beat in another 1/2 of the remaining caramel.
- Spread on top of one of the cooled cakes and placed the other on top.
- Licked the bowl clean – reckoned it was the best buttercream I’ve yet made.
- Spread the remaining caramel over the top of the cake.
- Sprinkled various milk, dark and white chocolate bits over the top and dusted very lightly with two types of edible gold glitter.
Modesty be hanged, this cake proved to be very popular with the other cake club members and I only got to try a tiny slice. It was rich and chocolatey and offered the discerning punter three separate hits of salted caramel of differing intensities in the various layers. This just proves to me that salted caramel has not yet had its day!
I’d had visions of the caramel dripping down the sides of the cake, but by the time I got to apply it, it had set. This must mean that I am fated to make it again.
I’ve had my eye on this recipe from Green and Black’s for some time – the salted caramel sounded rather exotic and the three impressively rich layers clinched it. So with friends coming to dinner this weekend, it seemed like an appropriate time to hopefully give them a real treat!
- Rubbed 3oz unsalted butter into 8oz flour (1/2 wholemeal and 1/2 white spelt) and 2oz icing sugar.
- Added 1 egg and a splash of water & combined to form a dough.
- Rolled this out using plenty of flour into a round to fit a 9in flan tin.
- Pricked the bottom and baked blind at 180°C (gas 4) for 10 mins (or until just cooked).
- Left to cool whilst made caramel.
- Put 8oz granulated sugar into a heavy bottomed pan and left on a low heat until liquid and the colour of caramel.
- Brought 4fl oz whipping cream and 1 tsp Cornish sea salt to the boil then poured into boiling caramel (did this gradually as mixture will rise rapidly and could cause burns).
- Took off the heat, added 1oz unsalted butter and stirred until smooth.
- Poured this into pastry case and then got on with the Chocolate Ganache.
- Brought 10fl oz whipping cream to the boil with 1/2 oz honey.
- Stirred in 100g broken dark chocolate until melted.
- Stirred in 2oz unsalted butter until melted.
- Poured this over the caramel then left in a cool place to set for 4 hours.
- Decorated with Forget-me-not flowers.