Hasselback Apple Streusel Cake

What is better than warm apples, cold ice cream and sweet caramel sauce?

The answer: NOTHING. This cake combines all my favourite things into a glorious slice of heaven. It is absolutely beautiful, moist, filling and the crumble just takes it that extra mile. I’ve been in love with this cake since I made a variation of it 2 months ago with bananas. It had all the same themes here, crumbly streusel topping, smooth vanilla ice cream and a gorgeous caramel drizzle to seal the deal. I’d been meaning to make that cake again but unfortunately bananas are out of season! With this unforeseen obstacle ahead, I decided to use apples instead and the result was just as gorgeous. 


Even if you’re not a fan of all the toppings and  add ons, this cake is still beautiful in its natural state. It looks just as wonderful next door to my new ice cream scoop! All in all, this is a winning dessert, reminiscent of winter dinner parties or the holiday season. This cake is perfect for any family get togethers, dinner parties with friends or even when you’re sitting at home with a glass of Chardonnay.

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Hasselback Apple Streusel Cake
Ingredients

For the apples:

  • 3-5 Golden delicious apples
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp castor (granulated) sugar

For the cake:

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 and ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt

For the streusel: 

  • ½  cup uncooked rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½  cup softened butter

optional: caramel sauce and ice cream for serving

Method

  1. Halve the apples before using a sharp paring knife to slice the apple thinly, making sure not to go all the way to the bottom. It’s okay if you make a mistake, don’t discard any apple slices you end up with. Each slice should be about half a centimetre thick. This is called hasselbacking the apple. If desired, you can quarter the apples so that they aren’t as chunky in the cake. Toss the apples in a small bowl with the lemon juice and sugar and set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 10 inch springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs into the bowl one by one, stirring well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and buttermilk and stir until combined.
  4. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet. The batter will be very thick. Scrape the batter into the greased springform pan and use the back of a spoon to level it out. Press the hasselbacked apples into the dough, and scatter any stray apple pieces you may have over the surface. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the streusel by combining the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mixing together. Add the butter and use your hands or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly dough.
  6. Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter in an even layer. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, the cake is done when the streusel is a deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. This is best served warm with caramel sauce and ice cream. Lush!

Excuse me while I steal a slice of heaven!

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Caramel Apple Buttermilk Scones

Now I know what you’re thinking: scones are what Victorian ladies had at high tea back in 1907 and they have no place in today’s modern society. Well I’m here to tell you that scones can be cool too. Especially when you load the dough with apples and drizzle them in a yummy caramel sauce. WINNING.

Caramel Apple Buttermilk Scones

Ingredients

Scones: 

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¾ cup castor sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

 Caramel: 

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup fresh cream

4 tbsp butter, cut into cubes

1 tsp vanilla essence

pinch of sea salt

Method 

Make the scones

  1. Preheat you oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two 9×13 inch baking pans with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and sugar into a large bowl and stir to distribute. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, egg and vanilla essence. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet, and stop mixing when just incorporated. Add the chopped apples and stir gently. Be careful not to overmanipulate the dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into an 8 inch circle. Use a sharp Chef’s knife to cut it into 8 parts (like a pizza). Transfer the scones to the baking pans, leaving them a distance of 2 inches apart (they spread A LOT). Bake for 25 minutes then remove from the oven and let cool.

Make the caramel:

Add the brown sugar, butter and fresh cream to a saucepan over medium heat and warm together, stirring constantly until combined and is a deep golden colour. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla essence and salt. Store in glass jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be kept sealed airtight in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and reheated in the microwave when needed.

Assembly:

When the scones have cooled, drizzle the caramel over them. Serve immediately! Can be kept up to 2 days in a sealed airtight container.

Cinnamon Vanilla Bread Pudding with Crème Anglais

Bread and pudding don’t even sound like they should be in the same sentence.

This has to be one of my favourite flavour combinations. Coupled with balsamic + honey and blue cheese + sweet chilli. Another thing that this dish combines is the ability to be both a dessert and a breakfast item. That is to say, any leftovers can be consumed at 9 pm whilst drinking hot chocolate and watching Game of Thrones. Yes.


To be honest with you, I used to be one of those people who thought that bread pudding was one of those things that should have never been invented. That was before I actually had bread pudding. It’s terribly easy, requires literally no effort, and it’s basically a French toast casserole. That’s the easiest way for me to put it. And the great thing about it is that it can be easily manipulated as long as the core ingredients (bread, eggs and salt) remain the same.

I would recommend using a rich eggy bread, such as challah or brioche bread, because it drastically improves the flavour. Any other types of bread would still work, but I would strongly recommend either one of those two. This recipe also works really well if your bread is stale. If your bread is fresh, you can cut it into cubes and leave in a baking tray overnight, out in the open. Or, for a quicker method, preheat your oven to 180º/350ºF and bake the bread cubes for about 10 minutes, or until hard. I also like to leave my bread chunks to absorb the egg mixture for about 30 minutes to obtain maximum flavour. You can add in extras like chocolate chips, raisins or nuts to the mixture, it’s all about what you want.For anyone who’s unfamiliar with crème anglaise, the first thing you need to know is that it literally translates to ‘English cream’ from French. It’s similar to custard, but less thinner and it isn’t a sickly yellow colour like the packet variety tends to be. It also has a much more delicate and rich flavour than the yucky storebought stuff. I stole the recipe for the crème anglaise from Seasons and Suppers because she’s got the right idea. And she’s Canadian. That’s a definite guarantee that she can be trusted and that this will change your life.



Cinnamon Vanilla Bread Pudding with Crème Anglais

Ingredients

For the bread pudding: 

4 cups challah bread, or any other bread of your choosing, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 eggs

½ cup castor sugar

¾ cup milk

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla essence

a pinch of salt

½ cup sliced almonds (optional)

For the crème anglaise: 

½ cup fresh cream

½ cup full cream milk

½ tsp vanilla essence

3 tbsp sugar

3 egg yolks

Make the bread pudding:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir until the egg yolks are fully incorporated. Then add the bread cubes and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure to coat each bread piece fully. If you like, you could add in raisins, chocolate chips or nuts at this stage. Once each piece is coated, let soak for about 20 minutes before baking. This step is optional, you can bake the bread pudding straight after combining, but soaking the bread will give a more intense flavour.  Meanwhile, start on the crème anglaise.

Make the crème anglaise:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Add the milk, cream and vanilla essence to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat until it comes to a low boil, then take the saucepan off the heat. Make sure it doesn’t come to full boil because if it’s too hot, then you will cook the eggs and end up with scrambled eggs instead of crème anglaise.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until combined. Bit by bit, whisk small amounts of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until you’ve added about half the milk mixture. Then, pour the egg mixture from the bowl into saucepan and whisk over low heat until slightly thickened and the sauce just coats the back of your wooden spoon. When thickened, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap is right on the surface of the crème anglaise so that it doesn’t form a skin. Chill whilst you bake the bread pudding.
  4. Grease a medium deep dish baking pan with BUTTER, not any of that non-stick spray. We’re not here to help you cut calories. Then sprinkle the bottom of your greased pan with about 2 tbsp of brown sugar. This step isn’t necessary but whilst baking, the sugar caramelises at the bottom, giving your bread pudding a crispy bottom.
  5. Carefully layer the soaked bread cubes in the greased baking pan, and pour any leftover egg mixture over the top. This will bake into a lovely custard in the oven and the dish just becomes that much more rich. At this stage, you can sprinkle chopped almonds, chocolate chips or even sugar over the bread pudding mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or when you pull the bread apart with a fork, no liquid seeps out.
  6. Serve warm or cold with crème anglaise, melted ice cream or dusted with icing sugar.