It was 7.30pm, every night, by the time I sat down and turned on the TV. And, every night, at 7.30pm Toby Puttock’s beaming face, framed by a tousled mane of carefree ’country boy’ curls, would appear and he would begin touting the virtues of late Summer in the country, of hanging upside down in trees, and of course, the beginning of….’Apple season’!!
I am partial to apples, all sorts of apples, I hold no one aside, I like them all. Apple’s are so simple, such a staple amongst fruits, all at once, sweet, sour, crunchy, thirst quenching and fulfilling. Since the beginning of time, nothing quite speaks of ‘down on the farm’, old fashioned, goodness than apples for the teacher, apples in your school lunch, apples stewed, baked and toffeed.
After 2 weeks of allowing my subconscious to fall deeply in love with new season, Autumn apples, my brother’s beaming face appeared at my doorstep with a bag of tree ripened…apples!! How extraordinary!!! And, what a bag of apples they were, absolutely beautiful, home grown, handpicked and completely pesticide free. My first seasonal chocolate cake took form there and then.
It was a no brainer really, it just had to be apple upside down cake. It may come of no surprise, but somehow, the richness, and homeliness of an upside down cake has always held my imagination. I made my first one as a child, and still can’t go past one if I am presented with apples. BUT, of course, it can’t be any old apple upside down cake. I started off making a few little test cakes. Chopped roughly in big chunks, I stewed the apples in butter and brown sugar, oh, the aroma of sweet apple, and caramel were bewitching. A sprinkling of nutmeg and there I was, standing at the stove eating the apples straight out of the pan. When I did manage to make them into cakelets and finally turned them out of the tins, they were just plain yummy, I loved them for what they were but really were these little cakelets special enough to present as a Bliss offering? I ummed and ahhhed, so I guessed the answer was no. I needed to move onto the next step, what could I do with the cake recipe to give it more oomph? Coconut and white chocolate sounded like the perfect accompaniment to caramelized apple, and yes, it was! Moist coconut strewn throughout the cake and a good dose of coconut milk upped the ante and they were a smashing success throughout the household. I tasted them, I photographed them and looked at them from all angles. But, were they good enough to make the ‘Bliss’ seasonal menu?
I ummed and ahhed…so I guessed the answer was, no. It needed more, it needed pizzazz, it needed even more drool factor, it needed to be a ‘home made, indulgence’. Home made needs to be at the heart and soul of the cakes that I bake but sometimes the look and taste need to be slightly more sophisticated to fit the ‘indulgence’ part of what I want to do. I let out a big sigh when I realized what lay ahead of me. Caramelized, chunky apples are my long time, personal love but, I knew it was time I grew up and moved on…I needed to let go.
I searched my heart, I searched my soul, then I searched my entire library and came up with the solution…and it made me smile.
Toffeed apple slices (Seriously, who wouldn’t smile?)
A sticky, fragrant, layer of apples, looking reminiscent of a tarte tatin. Contrasting with a rich and moist, white chocolate cake, which has soaked up just a smidgen of that sticky sugar through the top, little chewy pieces of moist coconut, protruding through each bite for just a touch of extra texture and a hint of depth…now THAT is a cake you can indulge in. And, all topped with crunchy, roasted hazelnuts. How could I not smile?
So here it is, my first seasonal offering. Inspired by, beautiful, home grown Royal Gala apples, from my brother’s tree. Toffeed apple, coconut and white chocolate upside down cake, with roasted hazelnuts.
Only available until end May 2011
Made with seasonal apples
I’m very happy to offer you my very first, fresh produce inspired, seasonal chocolate cake and I hope you like it too.
My seasonal cakes may not be the same every year so, please enjoy them while they last! Cheers Lynnette X