Apple & Walnut Cake with Caramel Sauce

If there's one thing I look forward to eating when the weather cools off it's a lovely warm pudding straight out of the oven with lashings of caramel or butterscotch sauce - swoon!!  I could eat one morning, noon and night!  Sticky date is one of my favourites; however, since both of my children aren't partial to dates, I've had to be creative and try to come up with an alternative that satisfies my love for all things drenched in buttery-saucy goodness, whilst replacing the offending fruit with something my kids would find more palatable.  So in the spirit of Autumn, I've decided to go with apples.  And in my opinion, nothing beats the combination of apples, cinnamon, caramel and brandy, so why not enjoy them altogether in one delicious cake!

This cake is the perfect antidote to a brisk autumn night, and I recommend it served warm, straight out of the oven, with a pot of strongly brewed tea.

3 medium apples
1 cup raw walnuts
250g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Caramel Sauce
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
300ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon brandy

Pre-heat the oven to 180C (or 160C fan-force).

Grease a 24cm spring-form cake tin, and line the base with baking paper.

Peel and core the apples, chop finely and set aside.  Finely chop the walnuts and set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat them until just combined.

Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and gently stir with a spoon to combine them.  Add the chopped apples and walnuts and stir again using a spoon until ingredients are just combined.

Spoon mixture into the prepared baking tin, spread it out and smooth over.

Place tin into the oven and bake for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, check if the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle.  If it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.

While the cake is cooling down, prepare your caramel sauce.  In a small saucepan, combine the cream and sugar and stir together over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved, careful not to allow the mixture to boil.  Allow the sauce to simmer while continually stirring it for approximately 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.  Once ready, stir in the brandy. 

Pour hot caramel sauce over the warm cake and serve straight away.   


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