Autumn has arrived in my kitchen! This is one of my favourite times of year and I just love the abundance of fruit that fall brings with it. This apple and caramel cake is a perfect everyday cake made super special topped with apple cider caramel and roasted Pink Lady crisps!Read More
The weekend was so lovely. Mostly sunny, a little rainy and packed full of family fun. And an extra (bank holiday) day is always an added bonus :) And then today one of my boys felt too poorly for school so we decided to make something yummy to cheer him up!
The first time I made Monkey Bread it was a complete success in our house. All of the boys asked when I was going to make it again so I knew it was definitely a winner! Today we made a slightly different version and played around with one from the Australian Women's Weekly. It made me giggle that's it's in the category for "The Lazy Baker"! I'm not sure I agree it's for the lazy baker but it's a version of monkey bread that doesn't contain any yeast and you don't have a wait for a rise so I guess that could be considered a kind of lazy :) What I love about this is that the balls are filled with spiced apple making them soft and yummy on the inside whilst they have a crunchy sugary outside. Then once it's baked you top it with a delicious caramel sauce. Doesn't that all sound like absolute heaven?
I used a bundt tin to bake my bread. To ensure that it's baked all the way through, we need a pan with a tubular centre so a kugelhopf or bundt tin is ideal for this. The tin needs to be greased and then floured VERY well. As with all bundt tin bakes, I find the success is all about the greasing of the tin otherwise it's almost impossible to get it out of the tin in one piece. Once the tin is prepared, we make the apple. After peeling, coring and cutting up the apple into small pieces, it's brought to a simmer with water, cinnamon and allspice and then heated for ten minutes to become soft. Then set aside to cool down.
The dough is simple to prepare. We mix the flour and sugar and then rub in cold butter with your fingertips to get the consistency of breadcrumbs. Then add the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until a dough is formed. We gently knead it for five minutes until it's a soft dough. Then weigh the dough and divide it into 14 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten it until it's an 8-10cm circle. Then we place a teaspoon of cooled (if it's too hot it melts the dough) apple sauce into the centre and pull the sides up around it, pinching them closed at the top. Each ball needs to be rolled in melted butter, then a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon and finally arranged in the tin in 2 rows - depending on your tin, around 6 balls at the base and then 7 on top.
No proving is required for this bread, so we pop it straight into the oven for 20 mins and then after covering it with foil, bake it for a further 15 minutes. When it's finished baking, it needs to be left in its tin for 30 minutes and then gently removed. You will need to loosen it from the sides with a palette knife and then gently turn it out onto a plate.
For the caramel sauce, I used the same recipe as for my Anzac Biscuits with Salted Caramel. We melt the golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan and then stir in the butter, cream and salt. This is then drizzled over the top of the bread.
This is a lovely bake that is especially yummy straight from the oven. The little balls taste like delicious doughnuts (with a gorgeous cinnamon sugar exterior) and are light inside with an extra special surprise of spiced apple. They are perfect for breakfast and brunch but would also be a great pudding for supper with friends.
I suspect that Monkey Bread will be staying a firm favourite in this house for years to come - and am looking forward to trying new flavour combos :)
Apple and Caramel Monkey Bread
adapted from Australian Women's Weekly Pecan & Apple Monkey Bread
Spiced Apple Ingredients
- 3 GRANNY SMITH APPLES
- 55G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 TBSP LIGHT BROWN DEMERARA SUGAR
- 1 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- 1/4 TSP GROUND CLOVES
- 1 TBSP WATER
Monkey Bread Ingredients
- 450G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 2 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 40G COLD BUTTER (cut into little bits)
- 310ML BUTTERMILK
Cinnamon Sugar Coating Ingredients
- 90G BUTTER, MELTED
- 165G LIGHT BROWN DEMERARA SUGAR
- 1/2 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
Caramel Sauce Ingredients
- 100G LIGHT SOFT BROWN SUGAR
- 50G GOLDEN SYRUP
- 75G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 75ML DOUBLE CREAM
- 1 TSP SEA SALT
- First of all, grease your Bundt tin with butter and then a coating of flour over the top of the butter - it's very important to grease all the nooks and crannies of the bundt tin otherwise there's a good chance your final bread will stick to the tin and not come out in one piece!
- To make the Spiced Apple, peel, core and chop your apples into small pieces
- Place them in a saucepan with the sugars, spices and waters and bring to a simmer
- Cover, reduce the heat and cook for around 10 mins until soft
- Drain the liquid away and leave to cool
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan)
- To make the Monkey Bread, put the flour and sugar into a bowl and stir to combine
- Add the cold, cubed butter and rub the butter into the flour until you have a breadcrumb texture
- Add the buttermilk and stir it through the flour with a knife until it comes together in a dough
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough the 5 minutes
- Weigh the dough and divide it equally into 14 pieces
- Take each piece, roll it into a ball and then flatten it into a disc around 8-10cm in diameter
- Place a teaspoon of cooled apple into the centre of each disc, pull the sides up around the apple sauce and then pinch the dough together at the top to seal the ball
- Do this for the rest of the balls
- To make the Cinnamon Sugar, mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small ball and also have your melted butter in another bowl next to it
- First dip each ball completely in the melted butter and then roll it in the cinnamon sugar so it's fully coated
- Arrange the coated balls in the tin in 2 rows - probably around 6 in the bottom and 7 on top
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
- Place tin foil over the top of the tin and then bake a further 15 minutes
- Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 30 minutes
- Using a palette knife, gently loosen the sides of the bread from the tin and gently turn out onto a plate
- To make the Caramel Sauce, place the sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of water
- Bring it just to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes
- Add the butter, cream and sea salt in one go and stir for another minute until everything is melted and fully incorporated
- Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature
- When you're ready to serve your Monkey Bread, drizzle it with the caramel sauce and then dust with icing sugar
- And enjoy :)
So we've barely been back at school and it's the half term break already. This week, we've escaped to the countryside to spend our time running around country houses and communing with nature. And it's been lovely to be out of the big city, surrounded by beautiful gardens laden with flowers and baby animals everywhere we turn. Even as I'm sat writing this, I'm watching two wild rabbits chasing each other across the lawn outside. We're about six weeks aways from the optimum time to visit my parents when their vegetable and fruit garden is rich for the picking and the boys hide out in the fruit patches, their mouths stained with berry juice as they eat more than they bring back for us.
The one fruit that is ready for us on this visit is the rhubarb. We especially love rhubarb with crumble. But I love it with apple and vanilla sponge piled up with rhubarb and then a buttery crumble topping in one delicious cake, our Apple & Rhubarb Crumble Cake.
The most time consuming part of making this cake is the chopping of rhubarb and apple and I like to cut them into very small pieces. I always chop these first, then make the crumble topping and set them aside as I make the cake. To get two cups of rhubarb, I used four long sticks of rhubarb which seems a lot compared to the one apple, but the ratios work. The sponge is very light and is piled high with the rhubarb which condenses down to become lovely and soft during cooking. Our rhubarb was a little sharp but seemed to work underneath the sugary crumble topping.
This is a lovely cake for afternoon tea with friends or we had it as dessert after dinner (the boys with a healthy dollop of custard on top!) It's lovely warm from the oven but keeps well for a few days.
This is a great way to enjoy your rhubarb and a little different from the usual stewed rhubarb or rhubarb crumble. I do love a good crumble and for me, this is home baking at its best :)
Apple & Rhubarb Crumble Cake
- 100G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 75G SOFT BROWN SUGAR
- 1 TSP CINNAMON
- PINCH OF SALT
- 75G BUTTER
- 100G BUTTER
- 100G SOFT BROWN SUGAR
- 2 EGGS
- 2 TSP VANILLA ESSENCE
- 175G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 2 TBSP MILK
- 1 GRANNY SMITH APPLE
- 2 CUPS CHOPPED RHUBARB (AROUND 4 STICKS)
- 50G FINELY CHOPPED WALNUTS
- Start by putting all the crumble ingredients in a bowl and rub the mixture with your fingertips until a fine crumble has formed and set this aside
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Grease and line a 8 inch cake tin
- Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and set aside
- Peel and chop the apple into small pieces and finely chop the walnuts and set these aside
- Cream the butter and sugar
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla
- Sift in the flour
- Fold in the apple and milk
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cale tin
- Sprinkle the rhubarb and walnuts over the top
- Scatter the crumble over the top
- Bake this for around 45 mins to an hour (the cake should be golden and the cake pulling away from the edges and I also test the cake centre with a skewer to ensure it's cooked)
- Enjoy as it is - or as my boys love, with a big dollop of custard!
We've been lucky enough to have a couple of planned roadtrips and lots of daytrips across this school holiday. Last week, we were down in Dorset enjoying the sea air and sunshine and on a visit to Weymouth, we stopped off at a little cafe which my Dad proclaimed served the best Dorset Apple Cake ever! I tasted a little and it reminded me of a German Apple Cake that my mum used to make when I was little. So this week, when our next roadtrip included a visit to mum and dad's house, I found myself digging through her old recipe collection - you know, the lovely kind of handwritten and typed recipe cards shared by friends some twenty or thirty years ago. There are a number of old favourites which re-surfaced (and which may make an appearance on the blog at some time!) and it was an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
So after a fun day out running around castle ruins, this afternoon saw the recreation of the childhood favourite, the German Apple Cake. I had a look on the internet and there are a number of variations for apple cakes, some including nuts, some missing out the cinnamon, some with apple inside and some on top. Our version is a simple sponge covered with butter, cinnamon and sugar, layered with sliced apple and then topped with more butter, cinnamon and sugar. It's a light cake which is great for afternoon tea or covered with dollops of custard (my boys' favourite) for pudding. I've never made it before, but it was definitely the same as my mum used to make.
The boys loved it.
I think we may have found another childhood favourite for them too :)
German Apple Cake
- 170G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 1 TSP BAKING POWDER
- 85G CASTER SUGAR
- 30G BUTTER (MELTED)
- 1 EGG (BEATEN)
- 140ML MILK
Cake Topping Ingredients
- 340G COOKING APPLES (I USED BRAMLEY APPLES)
- 30G BUTTER (MELTED)
- 1 TSP CINNAMON
- 85G SUGAR
- Prepare and slice the apples, putting them into a bowl of cold water
- Turn on the oven to 170 degrees
- Grease and line a round baking tin
- Firstly, to make the cake, put the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl and mix to combine
- Melt the butter and add to the beaten egg and milk
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then put pour into the prepared tin
- Melt the remaining 30g butter and brush half of this over the cake mix in the tin
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle half of this over the cake mix
- Drain the apples and pat them dry. Then place them in overlapping rows on the cake mix
- Brush with the remaining butter and then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon | sugar mixture
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes (test with a skewer to ensure it come out clean)
- Leave in the tin for 5 minutes to cool down (or longer if desired) and then move to a serving plate
- Excellent with custard or just naked!