A very Happy Easter to everyone! I trust no one has overdone it yet, with their chocolate consumption? I must admit, I’m a bit cheap. B and I usually wait until after Easter before we start foraging for chocolate eggs. Half-price chocolate eggs, that is. All that surplus from the easter bunny’s basket usually makes it’s way into our shopping basket a couple of days after the event.
To tide us over til the egg hunt, I decided to bake a cake. As serendipity would have it, I recently picked up a packet of Herbie’s fragrant sweet spice. This spice mixture is an exotic blend of coriander, cassia, cinnamon quills, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, blue poppy seeds, cloves, cardamom and rose petals. It added a touch of intrigue to a batch of mini spiced cocoa cakes last week, and I couldn’t wait to find another excuse to use it again.
Enter Lynne Mullins’ recipe for an apple custard cake. As if the words ‘apple’ and ‘custard’ weren’t enticing enough (rhubarb and custard, possibly the only other two words that could beat that), she uses the aforementioned spice mix to evoke a sense of Easter; cinnamon in particular, being one of those must-have ingredients in hot cross buns or simnel cake. The result is a soft and warm buttery cake topped with spicy apple slices and with a thin layer of vanilla custard running through the middle. In other words, a cake perfect for Julia’s Easter Cake Bake.
Fragrant Apple Custard Tea Cake:
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
55g caster sugar
30g plain flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g soft butter
110g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour, sifted
2 small apples, cored and thinly sliced (about 140g each)
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp caster sugar, extra
1 tsp fragrant sweet spice
For the custard
Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl until thick, then add flour and whisk until smooth.
Pour hot milk onto egg yolk mixture and stir until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan and stir over low heat until mixture comes to the boil.
Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until thick, then remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chill, covered in the fridge.
For the cake
Preheat ove to 180’C. Mix butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Fold in flour. Spread half the mixture into a 22cm greased and base-lined cake tin, add custard and smooth with a spatula. Add spoonfuls of remaining cake mix and spread carefully with a spatula to cover custard. Arrange apples on top of cake mixture and brush with melted butter. Combine sweet spice mix with extra caster sugar and sprinkle over apples.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until cooked with tested with a skewer. Cool in pan before turning out.