It’s National Baking Week this week. Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night are also getting closer. It’s that time of year where you yearn for some good wholesome home baking. In this post cake and toffee apples. What a combination!
I love baking. I find it therapeutic. I am probably most at home when I am using yeast (shown off that I am with my croissants), but I also love discovering a really good cake recipe. A beetroot cake might sound rather unlikely, but I bet you’re mightily fond of carrot cake? As Nigel Slater says, this cake tastes no more of beetroot than carrot cake tastes of carrot. I’d bought some small cylindrical beetroots from the farmers’ market. I grated these with the smallest grater for my Magimix.
As Nigel used brazil nut oil as an experiment, I used half/half walnut and sunflower oil to great affect. You can read Nigel’s recipe online. Just one tip, I found that my fan oven and silicon mould cooked the cake in about 30 minutes.
At the weekend, I also started by daughter’s birthday cake – based on my Christmas cake recipe. This time I used Dove Farm’s gluten free self raising flour to suit some of the guests’ dietary needs. I was very pleased with the results. You truly wouldn’t have known any difference.
I’m not sure that making toffee apples is exactly baking, but for that same birthday party, I thought I’d try making some. A first I must admit. Most recipes called for a mixture of sugar and golden syrup, but I was rather taken by Asda’s toffee apple recipe which included butter and honey. I’d suggest you really do need a sugar thermometer for this. The recipe suggests cooking for 10 minutes (no temperature given). But checking with other recipes, the suggested temperature was 140 degrees C. This took a good 15 minutes to reach. I’m rather pleased with the results. I did a second dip as I only had 4 apples to experiment with. Well worth a go, if you have that thermometer. When I make them in bulk I’ll source some proper sticks to spear them with too. I’m also keen to try caramel recipes shared by my friend Katey Lee.
Asda’s Toffee Apple Recipe
Makes 6 ( I used half quantities and covered 4 small apples). Ready in 1 hour
6 eating apples
450g demerara sugar
50g Asda Unsalted Butter, plus extra for greasing (I used salted)
2tsp cider vinegar
1tbsp Asda Clear Honey
Wash and dry the apples. Push a stick into the base of each one through the core, making sure it’s secure (use ice lolly sticks or thick wooden skewers). Grease a piece of baking paper. Fill a bowl with cold water and keep this ready to test the toffee.
Put the sugar, butter, vinegar, honey and 150ml cold water into a pan and heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
Boil for 10 minutes or until the mixture reaches 140 degrees, testing frequently towards the end – it’s ready when a small piece dropped in the water turns hard straight away. Don’t worry if it looks frothy, this is normal.
Remove from the heat and dip the apples in the toffee to coat. Take care as the toffee will be hot. Stand on the baking paper and leave to set and cool before eating.