Around this time of year, the trees in our garden become laden with apples. Since I can remember, my mother has baked apple crumble after apple crumble. Although I would never turn this traditional dessert down, I have become slightly bored of it. I decided to make something different utilising this abundance of fresh fruit!
This gooey and deliciously sweet cake can also be a perfect dessert, especially when served warm with custard or ice cream. I added walnuts to enhance the texture, whilst the caramel bites melt within the cake creating pockets of sticky sweetness.
FOR THE CAKE:
-3 medium apples
-2 cups plain flour
-1 cup light brown sugar
-1/2 cup sunflower oil/ vegetable oil
-1 tsp vanilla essence
-3 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/4 cup milk
-1/4 cup caramel bites
-1/4 cup walnuts, crushed
-1/2 cup dates, chopped
FOR THE CARAMEL COATING:
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-1tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup cream
-1/4 cup butter
Preheat the oven to 180°.
Combine the sugar and oil until the sugar is evenly coated. The stir in the baking powder – make sure to not leave any chunks as this tastes awful!
Beat the eggs well then add to the mixture with the vanilla essence.
Peel and slice the apples into bitesize chunks – no need for these to be even or neat! If you have not done so already, crush the walnuts and chop the dates. Then add all three ingredients to the original mixture.
Finally, stir in the milk and flour. Add as much cinnamon as you feel is necessary. I found 3 teaspoons was necessary, otherwise the flavour is lost amongst the sweetness!
Place in a greased baking tray and cook for 30 minutes. Remove when the top has browned and the mixture does not wobble. Careful to not over-bake!
Prepare the caramel coating whilst the cake is cooling. That way it will be added when the cake is still warm and will only be partially absorbed leaving a glossy finish.
Melt the butter and sugar in a pan. Add the cream and bring the mixture to the boil. Then decrease the heat and leave the mixture to simmer for a further 5 minutes. The texture should thicken whilst the colour darkens. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla essence.
Finally, pour over the cake, ensuring the caramel is evenly dispersed.
Enjoy whilst warm!!!