The Incredible, Invisible Apple Cake!

Invisible Apple Cake

Love dem apples? This gorgeous cake is chock full of apples. If you're after a cake that is more apple than batter then this cake is your dream come true. A cinch to make (the hardest bit if you can call it that is peeling and slicing the apples), it is topped with toasted flaked almonds and flavoured with cinnamon. And just to finish it off is a divine salted caramel sauce! I called her Alice.

This year Mr NQN had a milestone birthday. And if you're a long time reader you'll know that he didn't grow up really celebrating birthdays and he never looked forward to them. I think it was the well meaning but misguided efforts of parents who wanted the kids to not place value on material things. But perhaps they went a bit too far and birthdays became miserable events especially when friends would have big celebrations. I am trying to coax Mr NQN into having fun celebrations. The best way is with presents to make up for years without them. This year he got a very expensive bike. Like I didn't know bikes could cost that much but since it was a big birthday it was the perfect gift.

And then it came to the cake. He loves fruit and he doesn't like cake. I mean the chances of me finding and marrying someone that doesn't like cake are close to zero. He adored a thousand layer apple cake that I made for him a few years ago-he still talks about it although I think it's to torture me because he knows it almost drove me mad. Then a few months ago I saw this cake on Sarah's lovely blog. It's pretty much all apples held together by a bit of batter. Perfect! I had finally found the perfect cake for him! It was the needle in the haystack!

Invisible Apple Cake

I was in Peru a few months ago searching for my own needle in a haystack. We were doing a reccy trip for Experiential Traveller and we were checking that everything was perfect for our September tour. The restaurants, hotels and experiences we had selected were absolutely wonderful but there was just one hitch, actually two.

A couple of the guides we had weren't great at all. One guide wouldn't stop talking the entire time. It was as if he thought that the best guide was one that threw out random information at every turn no matter how relevant or not. It was towards the end of my time there and we were driving 1 hour to find a little town that made bread-the bread is famous in Peru and it was a must visit. I was tired and rested my head against the back of the seat and closed my eyes because he exhausted me.

"See that truck driving past us? It's carrying GRAVEL," he said.

I opened one eye and wondered if I had ever mentioned an interest in gravel. I have no interest in it so I closed my eye and pretended to sleep.

Invisible Apple Cake

My rest was shortlived. "Oh look Lorraine that's where you can store things, it's a STORAGE facility," he said, getting very close to mansplaining. I tried to communicate with him with my eyes, body language and telepathically that I was not in the market for storage and that I was a tourist and at no point should he ever wake up our precious guests and tell them where they can store things.

But he didn't get the hint at all until I finally said as firmly as I could, "I am sorry but I don't really care about gravel or storage or the quarry rocks that we passed". He was obviously not picking up on my closed eyes or lack of interest and reaction. I could tell that he kept wanting to talk but he stopped...for about 20 minutes.

I write this now looking back at the situation with laughter because at the time I was not happy Jan and thinking that there was no way we would subject our guests to this guide with verbal diarrhea. Now we have a great guide, a chef that is more intuitive, flexible and ... doesn't go on about rocks, gravel and storage, only food!

So tell me Dear Reader, would a guide like that drive you mad or do you like lots of information? Would you like a cake like this? Have you ever been mansplained?

Invisible Apple Cake

Did you make this recipe? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
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An recipe by Lorraine Elliott adapted from Buzzfeed Japan

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 70 minutes

Serves 8

  • 3x apples (around 600g/21ozs., I used Granny Smiths)
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 100g/3.5ozs. caster or superfine sugar
  • 150ml/5flozs milk
  • 30g/1oz butter, melted
  • 120g/4ozs. plain all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 50g/1.7ozs slivered almonds

For salted caramel sauce

  • 80g/3ozs. brown sugar
  • 50g/1.7ozs caster or superfine sugar
  • 100g/3.5ozs butter
  • Fat pinch of salt
  • 125ml/4flozs. milk

Invisible Apple Cake

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Line a long loaf tin with parchment on the base and sides. Peel, halve and core apples. Then slice thinly and place in a bowl of lemon water.

Invisible Apple Cake

Step 2 - Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale, fluffy and starting to get thick. Whisk in the milk and butter. Then fold in the flour and cinnamon. Drain the apples and then fold these in too. Spoon into the prepared tin laying apple slices flat. Pour over the rest of the batter. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 15 minutes. Then cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool. This cuts best when left to cool completely, even overnight.

Invisible Apple Cake

Step 3 - Heat the sugar, butter and salt in a heavy based saucepan until melted. Add in the milk and boil rapidly until you get a nice thick dark caramel. You can strain the caramel if you need too. This makes a lot of salted caramel sauce, more than you will need but I always find it handy to keep in the fridge.

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