Apple, walnut & custard cake

Dan Lepard on cake:

“I truly believe that life is improved by cake. Cake soothes and charms all but the stoniest of attitudes, and brings a shine to the eyes of even the grumpiest children. And from the happiest to the saddest of life’s experiences, icing and a soft crumb give us something sweet to cut and eat quietly when we’ve run out of words.”

Standing ovation, Dan. Making cake can be equally theraputic. I spent a happy couple of hours pottering about in my kitchen putting together the components for this cake and listening to podcasts by my favourite sassy ladies

Apple, walnut & custard cake

Recipe by Dan Lepard, Short & Sweet, 2011. 

For the custard:

full-fat milk 175ml

vanilla paste 1 teaspoon

light soft brown sugar 50g

maize cornflour 2 tablespoons (check that cornflour is maize not wheat derived if you want this cake to be gluten free)

free range egg 1

butter for greasing bowl 

Whisk all custard ingredients together in a saucepan until smooth, then bring to the boil, continuing to whisk all the time until thick. Spoon the custard into a lightly buttered bowl, then chill until very firm. 

For the apple & walnut filling:

Granny Smith apples 4, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1cm wide slices

light soft brown sugar 50g

brandy or dark rum 75ml

water 75ml

walnuts 75g, chopped

Place all ingredients into a frying pan and cook over a high heat until the liquid evaporates, then leave to cool. 

For the cake:

light soft brown sugar 100g

butter 75g

free range eggs 2 

gluten free flour or plain flour 50g

baking powder 1 & 1/2 teaspoons (check that it’s gluten free if this is a concern)

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan bake). Line a 20cm loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper and lightly butter the sides. Cream sugar and butter together until pale and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat very well between each addition. Stir in the flour and baking powder. 

Scrape batter into prepared cake tin. Chop the custard into rough squares and push these down into the cake batter. Spread the apple and walnut mixture on top of the cake, ensuring an even distribution of walnuts. If there’s any caramelly-boozy liquid leftover from apples, pour this over the cake. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or thick Greek yoghurt. Excellent for breakfast. 

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