On Wednesday I woke up and once again, just knew it was going to be a bad day. This seems to be happening more and more frequently – at least I’ve got another review with the doc next Friday. Not quite sure what more can be done for me though – I’m just stuck in an insufferable cycle of sleeping, trying to study, and crying, and I can’t see any way out. Thankfully, baking always provides good respite, and feeling inspired by my precious baby Frances winning GBBO the night before (she was my favourite from the start, so I was more than a little ecstatic…), I set off on a quest to recreate autumn in baked form.
I used this cupcake recipe from Baked Perfection as a basic guide, but as always, I just couldn’t stick to it exactly – that’s boring! When I bake, I enjoy experimenting to really make something my own. Maybe it’s because I’m so compliant in every other aspect of my life so baking is my chance to go a bit wild. Vive la cake revolution, and all. Anyway, here’s my take on it:
380g plain flour, sieved
4 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
3 heaped teaspoons cinnamon
A generous pinch of salt
One chai tea bag (I used a vanilla chai tea bag by Pukka – ripped open, of course, as it’s the spices and tea leaves inside that you want)
200g golden caster sugar
200g unrefined demerara sugar
A generous splash of vanilla essence
250ml vegetable oil (I used scales though rather than a jug, so if you do that, it’s 200g)
3 apples, grated (I used quite bitter ones as the buttercream is so sweet)
A generous splash of milk (I didn’t actually measure it, oops. Just keep adding it until the batter is a smooth, dropping consistency!)
100g unrefined demerara sugar
A splash of vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple, grated
A pinch of salt
Milk (again, I didn’t measure it…what was that I was saying about using baking to rebel? Roughly 3 tablespoons, I think)
150g icing sugar, sifted
1. Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4, and line two sandwich tins with greaseproof paper.
2. Mix all the dried ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Make a well in the middle and break eggs into it. Beat into mixture one egg at a time.
4. Add vegetable oil and vanilla essence. Beat thoroughly (a good electric whisk comes in handy!).
5. Add in milk. Before adding the milk, it will be a thick-ish dough – whisking in the milk thoroughly makes it into the smooth batter that it need to be.
5. Mix in grated apples.
6. Distribute between the two tins and bake for about 25 minutes (you might need to cover them with tin foil to prevent the top burning while the inside is undercooked – or maybe that’s just my awful oven).
7. To make the buttercream, melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat.
8. Add cinnamon, salt, vanilla essence and grated apple and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
9. One boiling, remove from heat and add the milk.
10. Heat it again, until it has reached boiling point once more. Once it’s been boiling for about 2 minutes, take it off the heat. Leave it to cool for 20-25 minutes, until it’s lukewarm.
11. Sieve in the icing sugar and mix in. I found this didn’t really make a “buttercream”, as such, more a sticky, runny, toffee icing. But it works really well at that consistency, as the cake soaks up some of the moisture and makes the middle really gooey and yummy!
12. Once both the cake and the buttercream have cooled, spread the buttercream in the middle and sandwich the cakes together. Job done!
This cake tastes particularly good after a day or two – I had a slice as soon as it was done, and I thought it was a bit on the sweet side, but leaving it for a while so that the buttercream can absorb into the cake really makes it extra special. As proof, I took it into my project week class today to share in the break, and it went down a treat – I had comments from friends telling me that I should drop out of uni and open a bakery instead! It made perfect fuel for a gruelling three-hour fugue-writing session. 🙂
Let me know what you think!