Monday, 1 October 2018

Hello Autumn {Spiced Apple cake with Brown Butter Icing & Caramel Sauce}

As much as I love Autumn I always find September a difficult month. 
I'm a bit of a Monica (Friends reference there) in the sense that I love getting organised and am a bit of a creature of habit, but I always find getting back into the school run routine after the freedom of summer just a bit tough. On top of that it's hard to get kids motivated about early mornings and you can guarantee the first bugs of the season will start to arrive. Last weekend a sickness bug hit us hard - well everyone except me, which I largely attribute to not staying still long enough to catch any germs ! - and although it only lasted a couple of days, they were really wiped out, and the big one missed a few days of school.
Thankfully they both recovered quickly but I've spent the best part of the week doing 23965 loads of washing, disinfecting every surface and making sure the kids eat as much fruit and veg as I can get into them!
As much as I knew it wasn't the best timing I did relish those few days of just being at home with my boys, while everyone else was busy, cuddled up on the sofa just being together. It reminded me that it's far more important to just slow down and do what you can rather than trying to do everything, and how important it is to give them my full attention as much as I can.

Over the last couple of days, it's been a little quieter with TJ back and school, and having got the house into some sort of order I decided to make use of all the apples piling up in my kitchen. We have a tree literally falling over with fruit in the garden plus the man I work for keeps sending me home with bags of them from his garden and I just can't say no! Last month it was plums but now it's apple time. I've been trying to think of things to do with them all but at the moment we'll just be eating a heck of a lot of apple crumble this year...

I've never made an apple cake before but I thought I'd give it a go; I looked at a few different recipes and mixed up a few ideas for this one. I've been seeing brown butter recipes pop up for a while and heard it makes cakes taste even better so I thought it'd be a good time to try it out for this one. All I can say is it has really changed my baking game. It really does give this amazing depth of buttery, nuttyness and it's perfect for cakes like this with brown sugar and cinnamon. 
I also went all out and added a brown butter cream cheese icing and a caramel apple sauce drizzled over the top. It takes a little extra time but is totally worth is for this cake, I promise! 
I was pretty impressed with myself for actually completing a full bake after so long and I get so much out of baking. It's my little creative outlet and I love it. I even managed to take a few snaps in between making tea- they're not the best on my messy table but hopefully they'll get you inspired to give it a go. It's perfect with a hot cup of tea on a cold Autumn afternoon (or in bed watching the Bake Off once the kids are asleep.)

Spiced Apple Cake with Brown Butter Icing and Caramel Sauce

For The Cake
1 Cup of self Raising Flour
1/2 Cup of Plain Flour
3/4 Cup of Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Soft Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla essence
1/2 Cup Brown Butter
1 Cup of Grated Apples (with 1 Tbs of Brown Butter and 1 Tbs Brown Sugar)

For The Icing 
1/2 Cup Cream cheese
1 & 1/2 Cups of Icing Sugar
1 Tbs Brown Butter
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

For The Sauce
1/2 Cup of diced apple (peeled)
1/2 Cup Brown Butter
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1. Add a tablespoon of good butter to a small pan and heat on medium until brown, It will start to bubble and froth before going a golden brown colour, be careful not to burn it. Remove from the heat and add a tablespoon of brown sugar and stir, then add the grated apples, stir and put back on a low heat for about a minute until just warmed and covered in the butter and sugar. Take of the heat and set aside to cool.
In another small pan add half a cup of butter and brown for the cake. Set aside to cool before using.

2. Put the sifted flours, sugars, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and combine well.
In another bowl combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and brown butter. Make a well in the dry bowl and add the wet mixture. Combine gently before folding in the grated apple.
Pour into a greased loaf tin ( I used a large Denby loaf tin) and bake at 180 for about 25-30 mins or until a metal skewer comes out clean. Cover with foil if catching.

3. To make the icing add everything to a bowl and mix well, cover and set aside for later as it is easier to use at room temperature.
 For the Caramel sauce, brown off the butter then remove from the heat to cool slightly then add the brown sugar and diced apples. Return to a low heat and cook, stirring carefully, until the apples have softened slightly and the sauce bubbles and has thickened a little. Cool before using.

4. Once the cake is cooled, cover liberally with the cream cheese icing then drizzle with caramel sauce.

This will last a few days in a sealed container but I have also frozen it and defrosted it and it still tasted so good! I think this week I'm going to batch bake a few to put in the freezer; I have a million apples to use up and I have a feeling this would also be lovely warm with custard...

Happy Baking!


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