It’s apple season and I’m in heaven. Is there anything more comforting for a wintertime treat than soft, moist cake, sweet caramel and tender toffee apples? I lucked out and was given a bucketful of beautiful seasonal apples picked fresh from my neighbour’s orchard. Their aromatic, juicy flesh was ripe for baking and I happily obliged.
A homey, rustic toffee apple cake recipe made from caramelised apples, quinoa, happy eggs and flour, my Toffee Apple, Almond + Quinoa Cakes are real little show-stoppers.
1¼ cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
8 small apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into rough cubes
50ml pouring cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup quinoa, rinsed
100g unsalted butter – melted and cooled
¾ cup + 1 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Almonds, roughly chopped and lightly toasted for sprinkling
Dried apple slices
Maple syrup for drizzling – try and use real maple syrup and not maple ‘flavoured’ syrup
Preheat oven to 180C
In a saucepan, combine ¾ cup sugar, cognac and a dash of water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for approx. 4-5 minutes until the mixture has turned a lovely dark golden colour. Add the cream and butter and cook for another minute until combined. Add apple pieces, mix to coat the apples and continue to cook for another 5 or so minutes until the apple is soft and tender. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, pour apple mixture into a food processer and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Bring the quinoa and 125 ml water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce heat and simmer until the water has evaporated and the quinoa is cooked (approx. 10-15 minutes). Add vanilla and stir to combine. Drain to remove any remaining liquid then spread out onto a tray to cool and dry out.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk eggs and the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the melted and cooled butter and whisk to combine. Sift flour and baking powder into the wet mixture, stir to combine, stir in apple purée and quinoa and pour mixture into 4 lightly greased and floured 200ml moulds. Pop into the preheated over for approx. 20-25 minutes until the cakes are golden and the centres spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and let cool in moulds for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack.
Serve warm topped with rings of dried apple, a scattering of roasted almonds and a generous drizzle of maple syrup (…the good stuff). Also delicious with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
YUM!!!! They look amazing!
Thanks Cate. My goodness, how have I not come across your beautiful blog! I will certainly be a regular there now on!
Thanks Kate, I was thinking exactly the same thing about yours!
Those look absolutely wonderful, Kate. Really, REALLY good!
Thank you. So glad you like them. I just had a sneaky peek at your apricot stuffed lamb w/ bulgar wheat salad.. looks delicious – perfect for the cold wintery weather I am sheltering from tonight!
Quinoa in an apple cake, I can deal with that.
Get around it, John. Gives the little cakes a subtle hit of nuttiness that works perfectly with the sweetness of the apple.
These look beautiful! Great use for toffee 🙂
Se ve Fantastico
Now, these look fantastic! But I’ve one question: what’s quinoa? Whatever it is there’s no way I’ll be able to get it here in Sri Lanka but cooking them is the best way to get a bit of an apple fix (we never getting lovely freshly ripened apples here) so a substitute might do the trick. Have you tried without blitzing the caramelised apples, so they’re a texture in the cake or will that make it too dry?
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.
First off, thanks for taking a peek at ff&k all the way from Sri Lanka! In answer to your question, quinoa
(pronounced Keen-wah) is a highly nutritious gluten-free grain (…or seed really) which has a mild, nutty flavour and a lovely fluffy consistency when cooked.
I haven’t tried the recipe without the blending of the apples – that does sound like it would be a delicious variation of the cakes though. Do let me know if you try it, would love to hear how it turns out!
Kate, I’ll have to wait till I’m somewhere I can buy your quinoa, unless I could substitute rice flour or karrukan (now that’s an idea) – you are talking of the grain after it’s ground into a flour ?
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