I cannot believe how lazy I’ve been about my blogging recently. Life has just been so hectic and every time I try to sit down and write something, there’s always something else to do. I’ve also started on a diet, so I have been trying my hardest not to bake as much. This is torture to me as I really miss it. So I made a deal with myself. I said I would bake only for Cake Club or for special occasions. Famous last words: I lasted 4 days after joining Slimming World! It got to Sunday lunch time and I was working my way through a massive bag of beautiful rosy apples my Dad and step mum had given me. I just had to bake something and found the perfect recipe in Miranda Gore Browne’s book Bake Me A Cake As Fast As You Can.
Apple Amber is a traditional Irish pudding which is a bit like an Apple Meringue Pie. Miranda’s recipe is a cake version where the base is a whisked lemon sponge. The apples are spooned on top as a filling and then the meringue goes on top and is baked in the oven. It sounded too mouthwatering for words.
First, I had to make the apple filling. This I tried to do on the Sunday morning when really I should have been finishing off my pile of ironing. The ironing basket was getting as tall as the Empire State Building but that didn’t stop me from baking! I used 3 apples as they were quite small and finely chopped them. Miranda had said to grate them but I find grating things hard work. So I peeled the apples, cored and sliced them into little cubes. They were then put into a pan to stew with some sugar. As my apples were eaters and quite sweet, I drastically reduced the sugar but added in lemon juice. Once the apples were pureed down a bit, I took them off the heat and stirred in two egg yolks.
Miranda suggests using a springform cake tin but I couldn’t find the right size one in my cupboard. I just used a normal circular tin but a deep one I use for Christmas cakes. This gave me enough depth for the lemon sponge cake base, the filling and the meringue part. As the filling was cooling, I started on the cake part. I whisked butter and sugar together in my KitchenAid, then added in some vanilla extract and two more egg yolks. While this was whisking away I weighed out the dry ingredients for the cake. I used self raising flour, baking powder and some lemon zest. Finally I added in some milk.
The cake baked very quickly in my fan oven and only took about 20 minutes. I felt the time passed by in a flash as I was doing the meringue part while the sponge was cooking. Apart from smashing an egg on the work top and then making a mess of separating another egg, I finally managed to make some meringue. I’m getting better at meringues but sometimes I worry about burning them.
At last it was time to assemble the whole cake together and finish it off in the oven. I spooned the apple mixture on top of the sponge still in its cake tin and then finally on went the meringue. I wanted it to look like a big snowy mountain but it just looked like a big mess. I just hoped it would taste nice. Back into the oven it went for 15 minutes.
When the cake was ready to come out it smelled wonderful in my kitchen. I gave it time to cool down before attempting to get the cake out of the tin. It slid out easily apart from one tiny bit of sponge which got stuck to the side of the tin. I had greased it, too.
Later on I served the Apple Amber Cake up for pudding. I had a tiny mouthful and found it quite sugary, even with my sweet tooth. Funnily enough Mr SmartCookieSam, who doesn’t have a sweet tooth liked it and over the next couple of days had more slices of it. My son ate the cake and meringue bit and left the fruit! I will definitely have a go at baking it again but was wondering if there was a way of reducing the sugar content in the meringue and the apple puree so that it didn’t taste so sweet.
Love Sam xx