How to make the best ever Bake Off cake
Kate’s Sticky Toffee Apple Caramel Cake
Great British Bake Off’s Kate Lyon, 29, won Star Baker for her Sticky Toffee Apple Caramel Cake which judge Prue Leith said was “the best cake I have ever eaten.” Prue wanted the recipe and now you can have it too...
Makes: One large cake, serves 16 Hands-on time: 2 hours, 30 mins Baking time: 20 minutes
FOR THE SPONGE LAYERS:
125g medjool dates, stoned and finely chopped 5 tbsp cloudy apple juice 325g unsalted butter, softened 250g light brown muscovado sugar 5 medium eggs, at room temperature, beaten 300g self-raising flour
¼ tsp baking powder 2 tbsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp ground mixed spice 60g dried apple rings or slices, finely chopped
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
175g golden caster sugar 3 tbsp water 175g double cream 175g unsalted butter, softened 100g icing sugar, sifted 125g full-fat cream cheese 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract, or to taste
FOR THE TOFFEE APPLES:
2 medium Bramley apples 175g golden caster sugar 3 tbsp water
YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
3 x 20.5cm round, deep sandwich tins, greased and base-lined with baking paper 1 Put the dates and apple juice into a small pan and cook gently over a low heat (stirring frequently) for about 10 mins, until thick and soft. Remove from heat and mash to make a coarse, thick puree. Leave to cool. 2 Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. 3 Put the butter into a large bowl and beat until very light. Add the sugar and beat thoroughly for about 5 mins until the mixture has a light and fluffy texture. 4 Gradually pour in the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and ground mixed spice into the bowl and carefully fold in using a large metal spoon or plastic spatula. 5 Add the cooled date mixture and chopped dried apples, and fold in until thoroughly combined. The mixture should drop easily from a tapped spoon – if it seems stiff, stir in an extra tablespoon of juice.
Divide the mixture equally between the three prepared tins and spread evenly. Bake the sponges for about 20-22 minutes until well risen, golden brown and springy when lightly pressed.
Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tins to loosen, then set the tins on a wire rack to cool and firm up for 5 mins before carefully turning out on to the rack. Leave to cool completely.
MAKE THE CARAMEL SAUCE:
6 Put sugar and water into a heavybased medium pan (not non-stick as you need to be able to see the colour of the caramel) and set over a low heat to melt very gently.
Stir occasionally, and keep a bowl of water and heatproof pastry brush handy so you can brush down the sides of the pan with water to dislodge any stuck-on sugar crystals.
Meanwhile, heat the cream until almost boiling, then set aside. 7 Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly without stirring until the syrup turns a rich caramel brown.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the warmed cream.
Return the pan to a low heat and whisk with a wire handwhisk for about a minute, until very smooth and thick. Pour into a heatproof bowl, leave to cool, then cover and chill for about 1 hour until firm. 8 Put the butter into a large bowl or mixer and beat for a couple of minutes until very light. Add the icing sugar and mix for about 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese, followed by the cold caramel sauce and vanilla extract. When combined, cover and chill until firm enough to spread easily.
FOR THE TOFFEE APPLES:
9 Peel the apples, leaving them whole. If you have a melon ball cutter, cut out balls of apple, avoiding the core. Otherwise dice or cut the apple into 1cm chunks. Pat dry before you make the caramel. 10 As before, put the sugar and water into a medium pan, dissolve gently then boil until you have a rich caramel. Remove pan from the heat and add the apple pieces. Stir gently with a metal spoon and leave for about 3 mins until the caramel has thickened slightly to coat the apples.
Using a fork, carefully remove the apples from the caramel and leave on the lined baking sheet to firm up – they will not set but will be sticky.
11 Set one sponge top-side down. Divide the buttercream in half and set aside one portion for the top. Spread the sponge with half the remaining buttercream. Divide the sticky toffee apples into 3 portions.
Scatter one portion over the buttercream, then top with another sponge. Spread with the remaining buttercream and scatter over another portion of toffee apples. Cover with the third sponge, top-side up, and gently press the whole cake so it is firm and level.
12 Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the sides to give a neat ‘naked cake’ appearance, then spread the remaining buttercream on the top. Decorate with the remaining sticky toffee apples. Leave to firm up overnight in a cool spot (not the fridge) before slicing.