Saturday, September 15, 2018

Donna Hay's Candied Apple Cake

In the 100th (and last) edition of Donna Hay magazine, there is an entire section of beautiful Enchanted Garden cakes.  Long time readers will know that I adore beautiful cakes, and this edition was perfectly timed so that I could choose one of the cakes for my birthday cake.

I selected the Candied Apple Cake, with gorgeous slices of skin on, candied apple adorning the  sides of the cake.  On making this cake, and reading the other recipes in the Enchanted Garden section, all of the cakes contain large quantities of plain flour with only bicarbonate of soda as the raising agent.  My cakes were rather flat and dense, and I am wondering whether they are meant to be that way, or whether there is a misprint.  In any event, my finished cake was only one apple high, whereas the one in the magazine is a towering three apples high. I was also not enamoured with the texture of the cake.  I would be interested in hearing the experiences of anyone else has made these cakes and whether they thought there was sufficient raising agent in them.

The only candied apple element of this cake is the candied apple slices on the outside.  I tried to step up the candied apple flavour by reserving the gorgeous rose pink syrup from boiling the apple slices and brushing it over the cut surfaces of the cake, and putting two tablespoons in the icing.  I am not sure that it helped much to boost that flavour but it was worth a shot.  

If I made this cake again, I would also (a) use a different base cake recipe that is less dense; and (b) put some apple either through the cake or between the cake layers so as to give more prominence to the apple flavour.

Nonetheless, I think this was a pretty cake, and my friends said that they enjoyed it:

If you would like to have a go at making this cake, you will need:


2 cups water
250g chopped butter
4 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2/3 cup almond meal
4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Candied apple slices

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 red apples, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandolin


375g chopped butter
3 cups sifted icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line three x 18cm round cake tins.

Put the water and butter into a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter is melted.

Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, almond meal and sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine.  Next, add the lightly beaten eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and melted butter mixture and stir until smooth.

Divide the mixture evenly between the three cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for approximately one hour or until cooked through.  Remove the cakes from the oven but leave the oven on so you can make the candied apple slices.  Cool in the tins for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

To make the candied apple slices, put the sugar and water into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.  Cook the apple slices in the syrup, in three batches, for 2 minutes each.  Remove the apple slices from the syrup with tongs and place flat on lined baking trays.  Bake in the 160 degree oven for 20 minutes, then allow to cool on the trays.  I forgot about one batch of apples and boiled them for 15 minutes - they made the most devine crisp apple chips once baked.

For the icing, place the icing sugar, butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until pale and creamy.

Now comes the construction part!  Trim and halve each of the cakes. (At this point, you can brush the cut side of the cakes with reserved apple syrup, if desired.)  Put the bottom cake layer on a cake plate or cake board, and spread with half a cup of the icing.  Repeat for the remaining layers.  Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake, and press the apple slices into the sides of the cake.

Slice and serve!  Donna says this cake feeds 8-10, but the cake is massive, so I would say it could feed twice that number, cut into thin slices.


Mackay Sherry said...

I’m not fond of apples �� in cakes and it sounds like this recipe wasn’t tested by them enough:). Looks pretty tho. Cheers sherry

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I like your idea of adding the syrup to the cake! I'd also want to drink it with some soda water too! :D

Johanna GGG said...

Those candied apples look very pretty but sounds like it didn't quite live up to expectations - though who can be disappointed with a cake so pretty and so many layers Happy birthday too!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks! I thought it was pretty.

Cakelaw said...

Thank you!

Cakelaw said...

Yes, that would be nice. Or on icecream.