It’s apple season and I’m in heaven. Is there anything more comforting for a wintertime treat than soft, moist cake, sweet caramel and tender toffee apples? I lucked out and was given a bucketful of beautiful seasonal apples picked fresh from my neighbour’s orchard. Their aromatic, juicy flesh was ripe for baking and I happily obliged.
A homey, rustic toffee apple cake recipe made from caramelised apples, quinoa, happy eggs and flour, my Toffee Apple, Almond + Quinoa Cakes are real little show-stoppers.
1¼ cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
8 small apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into rough cubes
50ml pouring cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup quinoa, rinsed
100g unsalted butter – melted and cooled
¾ cup + 1 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Almonds, roughly chopped and lightly toasted for sprinkling
Dried apple slices
Maple syrup for drizzling – try and use real maple syrup and not maple ‘flavoured’ syrup
Preheat oven to 180C
In a saucepan, combine ¾ cup sugar, cognac and a dash of water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for approx. 4-5 minutes until the mixture has turned a lovely dark golden colour. Add the cream and butter and cook for another minute until combined. Add apple pieces, mix to coat the apples and continue to cook for another 5 or so minutes until the apple is soft and tender. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, pour apple mixture into a food processer and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Bring the quinoa and 125 ml water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce heat and simmer until the water has evaporated and the quinoa is cooked (approx. 10-15 minutes). Add vanilla and stir to combine. Drain to remove any remaining liquid then spread out onto a tray to cool and dry out.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk eggs and the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the melted and cooled butter and whisk to combine. Sift flour and baking powder into the wet mixture, stir to combine, stir in apple purée and quinoa and pour mixture into 4 lightly greased and floured 200ml moulds. Pop into the preheated over for approx. 20-25 minutes until the cakes are golden and the centres spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and let cool in moulds for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack.
Serve warm topped with rings of dried apple, a scattering of roasted almonds and a generous drizzle of maple syrup (…the good stuff). Also delicious with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.