Today is my blogs 3rd birthday. I can’t quite believe it. Three years ago I was at university and sitting in an attic bedroom with my laptop, huddled under the sloping eves and deciding to make my first tentative steps into blogging. A lot has changed since then, both for me and my blog. I feel I have developed more as a cook, baker and general foodie, the world of blogging opening my eyes and imagination to new recipes, cooking techniques and flavours. So thank you to all my fellow bloggers, commenters and followers for your support and inspiration, you help make my day shine.
Every year on this date I always ensure I have an apple and spice themed dessert to celebrate my little blog. The 1st year was a delicious apple packed Spiced Apple Cake and last year some yummy Apple & Cinnamon Oat Crumbles. This year is no exception, and I present to you an overnight apple spice cake. It’s basically LOTS of apple layered with spiced sugar and slowly baked until soft, tender and bursting full of concentrated apple flavour. It couldn’t be more apple packed if you tried!
The dessert is baked in a very low oven overnight – 12 hours of gently baking to be precise, to allow the water from the fruit to evaporate and become more concentrated. The fruit softens and becomes more compact as it bakes. It’s not so much a cake, more of a layered compote. I saw this recipe on Desert Candy’s blog using orange zest and apples, but being a lover of spices I removed the orange and used a lovely warming blend of spices in its place. The result was heavenly.
I put the cake in the oven before I went to bed and in the morning I opened the kitchen door to be greeted by a cloud of intoxicating spiced apple aroma, filling the kitchen with its sweet fragrance. Just divine. Once baked, the cake is inverted while the apple juices that seeped out during baking are reduced and drizzled over the top as a sticky glaze.
Cutting a slice revealed the layers of apple and spices. You need to use firm apples that will survive a long cooking or else you’ll end up with mush. I was pleased to see mine stayed together well, whilst still becoming soft and tender. I enjoyed my first slice au natural, letting the full burst of intense apple flavour shine through but I think it would be wonderful served in a pool of custard too. Or, seeing as it’s also Pancake Day today, on top of some fluffy American style pancakes!
Overnight Apple Spice Cake
(Recipe adapted from Desert Candy blog)
2kg firm fleshed and quite tart apples (I used 1kg Breaburn & 1kg Granny Smith)
Juice of 1 lemon
150g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
Line a 7-8inch/18-20cm deep springform tin with a layer of greaseproof paper.
Peel and core the apples using an apple corer, to allow the apple to remain whole. Alternatively, cut into quarters and remove the core this way.
Add the juice of the lemon to a large bowl of water. Finely slice the apples into 2mm thick rings and place them into the liquid to prevent them from turning brown while you slice the remaining apples.
Mix the spices into the sugar and stir together to mix.
Preheat the oven to 85C.
Drain the water from the apple slices and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Arrange a layer of apple rings into the base of the tin. Sprinkle over 2-3 tsp of the spiced sugar and cover with another layer of apple. Repeat the process of apple, sugar, apple…until both are used up.
Cut a disc of greaseproof paper the size of the tin and place on top of the layered apples and press down lightly.
Wrap the tin in a sheet of foil and place into a baking tray to catch any juices that escape during baking.
Place the tin in the oven for 12 hours (yes really!).
Once the 12 hours are up, remove the tin from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Do this over the baking tray as lots of juices will have collected in the base and you want to keep them.
Press down gently on the top of the apple cake to extract any remaining apple juices.
Invert the apple cake onto a plate and remove the greaseproof base.
Pour the apple juices into a small pan and bring to a simmer. Allow to bubble slowly for 10-12 minutes until reduced by half and syrupy.
Drizzle the apple syrup all over the upturned apple cake and serve.
Also tastes delicious cold and can be served with custard, cream, yogurt or simple on its own.