Sunday, 25 March 2018

Madhouse recipe : Toffee apple shortbread cake

It seems very flippant and well, wrong really, to be blogging about cakes while going through a bereavement, but - especially if you've got kids - life has to go on, which is probably a good thing. The kids have all been quite jittery since Madhouse Daddy died, especially at night - they saw and heard much more than any kid that age should - so, for now, the girls have moved their mattresses onto the floor in my room and Pierre's in bed with me. Paradoxically, we've been having some of the biggest giggles we've had in years - I've discovered that not only does Pierre talk in his sleep, he's also a complete wriggle-monster. On one occasion, I woke up to find his head under the covers and his feet on the pillow next to my head. Luckily he doesn't have smelly feet !

So, on to the cake. It was deliciously gooey and Madhouse Daddy polished about half of it off all by himself !

Toffee apple shortbread cake

ingredients :

360g plain flour
75g icing sugar
340g butter
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
300g sugar
8cl water
350g crème fraîche
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a deep, square (or round will do, if you don't have a square one) cake tin with baking parchment. Mix together the flour and icing sugar, then cream in all but 2tbsp of the butter until it just forms a dough - don't over-mix.

Press about 2/3 of the dough into the line cake tin until relatively flat and smooth. Put in the oven for 20 minutes while you sort out the apples.

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Bring to the boil - you can use a brush dipped in water around the sides of the pan to stop the sugar from crystallising (I didn't bother). Take off the heat when it reaches the right golden colour. This should take about 5 minutes.

Drop in the apple chunks - they will release their juice and the caramel may go hard but keep cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes and it will go liquid again. Once all the liquid has reduced and the caramel has started to thicken, take off the heat.

Take the biscuit base out of the oven.

Add the crème fraîche, the remaining 2tbsp of butter and a pinch of salt (or leave it out if salted caramel isn't your thing) and keep stirring over a high heat until smooth and glossy.

Pour the toffee apple sauce over the biscuit base.

Pull off chunks of the remaining dough and dot all over the top.

Bake for a further 15 minutes until the topping has gone slightly golden brown. This is the killer - you have to wait for at least an hour for it to go cold, then chop it into slices and serve.

Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky as it used up some apples that were going wrinkly in the fruit bowl.

Link up your recipe of the week


  1. Will blog about what happened to your husband, Cheryl? I'm sorry if it is rude of me to ask. It's such a sad thing when someones leaves before so suddenly. I hope you and the children find strength together.

    1. Nothing to tell really - just a sudden heart attack. No warning signs, all very sudden and unexpected :(

  2. I totally love the look of this cake, so gorgeous. I know my son wouldn't be able to wait an hour for it to cool though. I had to laugh at Pierre being a wiggle monster. My son is the same, the sheets are always off his bed the next day

    1. I wondered why his quilt was always on the floor, even when I tucked the ends in the bottom of the bed ... now I know !

  3. It's not flippant at all, Cheryl, to blog about cakes when you're grieving. It's one of the ways of coping with a tragedy. My eyes welled up when I read about your current sleeping arrangements, but that is only natural to want to be together at this time. And the cake is gorgeous!

  4. Oh yum sounds delicious


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