Toffee apples are an amazing thing but I find them rather too sweet so I got to thinking that salted caramel apples should totally be a thing (I know, I know, I am obsessed) I made a spiced apple sponge with salted caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream. The sharpness of the apples was a good contrast to the salty/sweet icing.
For the cakes (makes between 12-16):
- 200g butter, softened
- 150g caster sugar
- 225g self-raising flour, sifted
- 80 ml milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- half tsp mixed spice
- 5 medium apples (750g) – I used Granny Smiths
- 100g saltanas soaked in 100ml boiling water and allowed to cool (I did mine in half rum, half boiling water)
- 25g butter, extra
- 1/3 cup (75g) soft brown sugar
- Preheat oven 180°C and put cases in a 12 hole muffin tin – I usually do a few extra in a second tray just in case
- Peel and core apples. Cube into little cubes (no bigger than 0.5cm). Sprinkle cubed apples a bit of lemon juice to avoid browning. Melt the 25g extra butter in a large frying pan; cook apple cubes until browned lightly (about 5 minutes). Add brown sugar and saltanas (including soaking rum if used, if not drain the water off); cook stirring until it goes nice and thick (about 5 more minutes). Allow to cool completely.
- Beat together the butter and caster sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add flour and milk in 2 batches folding in gently.
- Fold in the apple mixture into the cake mixture until totally combined.Fill cases to about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes (till golden brown springy).
For the buttercream (this makes enough for about 24 cakes; it is worth making lots and then freezing the rest if you are doing less cakes)
- 375g white caster sugar
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 100ml water
- 6 egg whites
- 600g soften unsalted butter in 2cm-ish chunks
- 2 quantities of Nigella salted caramel sauce (totally cooled – use it from the fridge ideally)
- Put sugar, golden syrup and water in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan and stir until totally combined. Brush the inside of the saucepan with clean water on a damp pastry brush to dislodge any stray grains. Set over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. When the sugar mixture has come to the boil add a sugar thermometer and keep cooking until it reaches will into soft ball stage, 121°C.
- Meanwhile put the carefully separated egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer (with a whisk attachment) and whisk the egg whites to soft peaks – be careful not to over whisk. Then slowly pour a steady stream of sugar syrup into the egg whites, being careful not to hit the whisk while doing so – I find pouring down the side of the bowl is the easiest way of doing this. Continue whisking until sides of the bowl feel cool. Add the softened butter chunk at a time one by one at a time and whip until fully incorporated and smooth
- Add in caramel and whisk until fully combined
- Pipe on to cakes and drizzle with a bit of caramel
I used the left over icing a week later on a version of these cupcakes: https://bakeitinstinct.com/2013/07/08/salted-caramel-oh-salted-caramel/ and added sugar glass for some slightly Halloweeny decoration.