It is extremely satisfying to put things together that yield deliciousness. Recently, we went on a bit, ok, OK, a lot of a ginger beer binge. What, you might ask, is so special about ginger beer that’s  precipitating a binge? Well it’s a home brew; glorious, gingery, spicy, refreshing goodness!

To be frank, I can’t even quite remember what inspired me to make my own brew…….more than likely, that memory is a cast away in a raging sea of ginger memories lost. It’s probably hoping that it gets rescued and brought back safely to my RAM (random access memory). Well I have bad news dear lost memory, No such luck mate!

The beauty of the brew is that it takes NO effort at all. Well, there are two versions, one is easy peasy lemony squeezy (literally you need to squeeze lemons) and the other one is a little more fiddly. They’re both still relatively easy and soooooooo worth it.

If you avoid consuming yeast then the easy peasy route may not be for you plus it is ever so slightly alcoholic. It wasn’t the intention to create an alcoholic beverage but try as I might, I could not completely inhibit the fermentation process even when I put the drink in the fridge! Talk about active yeast! It wasn’t alcoholic enough to intoxicate, I hasten to add, but if you let it ferment for longer than I recommend then all bets are off and you will be strictly on your own! MEA CULPA!!!

This drink was so delicious that it was paired with breakfast meals,  lunch, dinner and I am fairly confident that I caught Hubby trying to brush his teeth with it or gargle it or something!

  
   I then switched tack and pottered around with a not-so- organic non-alcoholic version. All you need is a homemade ginger syrup and some sparkling water or, in my case, club soda. I have to say that this version held it’s own. It didn’t pack the flavour heft and punch of it predecessor but it was bright, fizzy and refreshing. It made you want to go “Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh” with your eyes closed. Perfect for this blistering heat!

Either of these drinks will make for amazing bases for cocktails if you have the patience to mix up something to add to it. So without further ado, here are the recipes.

Ginger Beer 1 (fermented)

Ingredients

6 – 8 plump pieces of fresh ginger root (you could add a couple more if you prefer more intensity)

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (you could go up to 2 cups)

Juice from 2 medium sized lemons

1 teaspoon active dry yeast (or champagne yeast; if you have ANY idea where to get this in Lagos by all means go for it! )

2 liters of clean drinking water.
The “How To”

Finely chop or grate the ginger (I found that grating it really optimized the flavour intensity) and place in large bowl. Add in the sugar and the lemon juice. Then boil two liters of water and pour over the ginger. Stir to ensure the sugar dissolves and allow the mixture to sit out until it becomes tepid then add the yeast and stir. Pass the contents of the bowl  through a fine mesh sieve or sieve lined with a clean cheese cloth into another bowl then careful decant the liquid into PLASTIC bottles with screw on lids.

The emphasis on the use of plastic bottles is to minimise the risk of an accident. The fermentation process causes a gas build up and it could shatter a glass bottle. When you fill your bottles leave at least an inch of space from the top of the bottle so that the gas has some room in the bottle.

I fermented mine for just 2-3 hours in warm dark place. You will know that fermentation has taken place when the bottles feel very hard and unyielding to touch. This means there is gas trapped in the bottle; carefully uncork the bottle to release the gas and chill in the fridge. IDEALLY refrigerating the drink should stop the fermentation but it didn’t quite do to trick for me so we had to consume it fairly quickly.

Please ensure that the bottle caps are screwed on securely, I  cannot begin to tell you how many ginger beer geysers I had to deal with because of poorly closed bottles. It was such a messy waste too! Once the gas (Carbon-dioxide) forms in the bottle, it becomes highly pressurized.

Ginger Beer 2 (Virgin)

Ingredients for the ginger syrup

3 pieces ginger roots

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp whole peppercorns

1/2 tsp whole cloves

The “How  To”

Peel and slice the ginger and then add it and all the other ingredients in a pan and boil. On e the sugar is dissolved and you have a lovely homogenous golden syrup, allow it to cool and then refrigerate the syrup for at least. 24 hours to really allow the flavours come alive. On the next day, strain the syrup into a clean jar.

To make a delish drink, add some soda water to a glass, then add some lemon juice and the desired amount of ginger syrup; stir and enjoy!

So, it looks like the FFF has a new division and it’s a Brewery! 😀

Trying adding fab flavour profiles to your brew by throwing in some cinnamon or even a bit of cayenne for an extra kick!

I adapted recipes from Saveur and Toriavey

FFF Tip of the Day

Avoid making spectacular sticky messes when opening your fermented ginger beer by opening the bottle over a clean bowl in a sink. Remember to periodically release the gasses from the bottle.

 

Update dated December 3, 2017

Check out the is link for an amazing ginger tea alternative from Health Ambition, in case ginger beer is not your thing 😉

 

 

 

 

Being pear shaped can be good or bad depending on your “situation”; if you had Oprah Winfrey’s pear shaped body and corresponding access to a super amazing wardrobe & a personal trained AND private chef then it is a wonderful thing to be pear shaped. If on the other hand you’re pear shaped, stand at 6 foot 9 inches and are permanently domiciled in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland then well, you’re not in such great shape (pun intended). 

I bid thee glad tidings as today’s post has nothing to do with the persistent, pesky body shape matter or remote towns with no retail therapy prospects. 

Let’s take a good look at the fruit; juicy, sometimes crunchy, some times mushy but always delicious – the pear. It is not a fruit that is indigenous to West Africa but it is widely available regardless, in most shops and even open markets. As a child I marveled at its mildly sweet grainy texture and wondered if the fruit was some sort of sibling to the apple which I equally loved (please don’t try to rationalize this 😀)

I have rarely incorporated pears in my meal preparations; seeing as I am usually too preoccupied with eating the, I am sure you appreciate why this is. But recently I have applied them to two dishes; a starter and a dessert and let me tell you! It’s a winner! A surprise winner at that!!

I present to you a vertical pear salad and pear tartlet; a perfect way to start and end a meal if you ask me.😀

I can not take the glory for the idea of this salad; I was inspired by a recipe on Pinterest from this blog  and essentially, this is my version.

Ingredients (To serve 4)

4 medium – large not-so-ripe pears ( I prefer my pears with a slight crunch to them)

200 g creme fraiche

4 tablespoons runny honey

1 pack of fresh rocket aka arugula (rinsed and patted dry)

1 teaspoon Olive oil

1/2 cup pecans

1 Lemon (juice)

I made this starter last December on Christmas Day and our friends were delighted by it. It’s a must try especially if you’re trying to impress 😉

The ‘How To’

Fear not! Be still and know that I will guide you through this. No, we are not building the tower of Pisa and yes, it is likey to topple over, as my first attempt did. Please study the picture below, it crashed shortly after the picture was taken. There are no words to express the frustartion I felt; I mean it was still delicious in a messy non-gourmet kinda way……….So basically, you want a squat, sturdy pear, not a long lean one. Also you don’t want too many sections in each pear. Ok, so moving swiftly along.

  

Obviously, you need to rinse and dry your fruits. Then carefully slice them horizontally; I would advocate for no more than 3 to 4 sections for each pear depending on the size and this includes the bottom and top bit. Ensure that your pear will stay balanced on a flat plate and if it seems slightly wobbly then carefully slice a thin sliver off the bottom to create a flat surface at the bottom (we don’t want a delicious messy non-gourmet starter, remember?).  Now brush some lemon juice on the cut surfaces to prevent browning. Next, core the pear slices so that you end up with doughnutty type slices ie pear slices with a hole in the middle. You can achieve this with a paring knife or if you are like Inspector a Gadget and I then you will have one of those apple coring devices that we never really use ; NOW is a fab time to whip it out.

It helps to keep each sliced and cored pear together so that when you assemble it it mainagunas it’s natural shape.

Ok, now place your creme fraiche and olive oil in a bowl and with a fork or hand whisk, whisk it vigorously until well combined. The creme fraiche should still be a bit thick but lose enough to coat the pecans easily. You may opt to toast your pecans before tossing them into your creme fraiche; I couldn’t be bothered because I sweaty anxious mess with 4 hungry people at the table quickly losing their Festive cheer! 

Place aragula (you won’t need the entire pack so measure out maybe two handfuls) in a bowl and empty the creme fraiche mixture on it. Now with your hands carefully toss the salad.

Now comes the fun part, assuming you’re still keen to proceed.😁 Basically place the bottom part of the pear on your serving platter, take some of the arugula mixture and carefully mount it on the middle of the slice. Place the next slice on it, pressing down slightly, top with more salad and repeat till you get to the top. Then drizzle each stacked pear with honey. This will not only and an amazing glazy finish to your salad bit will also counter the tartness of the creme fraiche.

Say a prayer or two as you walk gingerly to the table with your awesome creation. When I appeared at the table, all Christmas grinchiness lifted as everyone whipped out their camera phones to take documentary evidence of what they were about to inhale! 

  

All hubby had to do was step away from the table for a second and our youngest swooped right in to help himself! Lol! 😄 As you can see, he’s a demolition expert and wasted no time in knocking it over! This time though it was ok😀

  

You will recall my recent infatuation with apple rose tarts. If you don’t, please get acquainted here.

Well, I have since scaled down these yummy tarts and now make them as tartlets! Evidence below.

   

   

It is the exact same recipe as the one here but this time  they are made in muffin pans so that you end up with the most adorable delectable treat.

Essentially when you follow the recipe, at the point where you roll out the dough, using a circlular cutter that is at least 1/2 wider than the muffin bowl, cut out circles of the dough, place in the muffin tin and follow through as you would if you where making a whole tart. 

This recipe is so easy, I even have my dear friend, Maria, all the way in Denmark making it! She sent this delightful picture to me! It is officially a global movement!!

  

Anyway, getting back on track, it didn’t take long before I wondered if I could sub the apples for pears and there was only one way to find out! Thankfully, I had just made some apple tartlets and had left over dough and lemon curd in the fridge so making these took no time at all.

All I did was bake the crust, filled with lemon curd and made the pear roses or should we call them proses? 😀I am witty aren’t I?😀 and guess what? This time, I kept the pears fresh! Yep! Didn’t cook them or bake them! Just spritz with lemon juice to keep the colour nice and fresh looking.

The down side, is that they will not be sitting around forever (as if something this beautiful and delish should sit around forever!!! Perish the thought!!) but the upside is that it gives you a legitimate reason to polish it off promto!! Which is exactly what the boys and I did! They were back from school, and they were hungry…..can you see where this is going? Needless to say that was their dinner! They loved it! Washed down with some juice and they were happy little campers! 

Please don’t judge me😀 I mean who says that dessert cannot be a main course? 

     

And thus ends my tale of two pear recipes. I hope you enjoyed it 😀

PS: Ittoqqortoormiit is an actual place. But please don’t ask me to pronounce it! 😅 Emmmmm, Maria, some help please! Educate us!

FFF Tip of the Day

If you decide to try the pear tartlets, it would be ideal to use pears that are just ripe enough to have lost their crunch but not so ripe that they are mushy. It’s a fine line I know 😀 but so worth it if you get it right!

Pancakes are one those meals that don’t require you to have a reason or special occasion to make them. They are so easy to throw together and more likey than not you probably have all the ingredients you need languishing in different parts of your kitchen 😀.

We love pancakes and hubby loves it especially decadent so I am always mucking about with various toppings and syrups to keep things interesting. But regardless it’s still easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Ingredients (yields about 12 medium sized pancakes)

1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter

The “How To”

 In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, ie, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients; milk, melted butter (or oil), and egg.  Then add the dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened. Be careful not to overmix; here a few lumps are good. 

The reason being that if you overmix it you will agitate the gluten in the flour and whereas this is not a cataclysmic problem, it means you may not have light fluffy pancakes but dense not so fluffy ones. There! Chemistry lesson over!

Heat a large skillet (I used non-stick) on medium heat. Using a folded sheet of paper towel, dip it oil and carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.

Allow 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake in the skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you ought to be able to make two pancakes at a time if you’re using a large skillet)

Once the surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, flip them carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside for about a minute more. Once done, transfer to a pale and continue until you have exhausted your batter, you may cover the plate with foil loosely to keep them warm. 

As far as toppings go, there is no limit really, from maple syrup, honey, chocolate sauce, fresh fruits, strawberry coulis, raspberry coulis,  blueberry coulis, lemon curd, caramel sauce and even butter and these are just for the sweet pancakes. If you wanted to go the Savoury route, well……just go for it!

   

     

  

For great easy to follow recipes for pancake toppings check this post for how to make caramel sauce, this one for how to make lemon curd, here for coulis.

If you noticed the frothy, refreshing looking drink in the last picture; congrats! You have spotted one of FFF’s home made brews and I will tell you ALL about it soon!😉

FFF Tip of the Day

It’s a lot easier to stack pancakes that are just slightly warm especially if you are going to layer sauces and and jams between each piece. If the pancakes are really warm they will slide off. Alternatively you can stack warm pancakes without anything in between and pour your preferred topping over the stack. Your call!😀

Pancakes are one those meals that don’t require you to have a reason or special occasion to make them. They are so easy to throw together and more likey than not you probably have all the ingredients you need languishing in different parts of your kitchen 😀.

We love pancakes and hubby loves it especially decadent so I am always mucking about with various toppings and syrups to keep things interesting. But regardless it’s still easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Ingredients (yields about 12 medium sized pancakes)

1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter

The “How To”

 In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, ie, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients; milk, melted butter (or oil), and egg.  Then add the dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened. Be careful not to overmix; here a few lumps are good. 

The reason being that if you overmix it you will agitate the gluten in the flour and whereas this is not a cataclysmic problem, it means you may not have light fluffy pancakes but dense not so fluffy ones. There! Chemistry lesson over!

Heat a large skillet (I used non-stick) on medium heat. Using a folded sheet of paper towel, dip it oil and carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.

Allow 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake in the skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you ought to be able to make two pancakes at a time if you’re using a large skillet)

Once the surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, flip them carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside for about a minute more. Once done, transfer to a pale and continue until you have exhausted your batter, you may cover the plate with foil loosely to keep them warm. 

As far as toppings go, there is no limit really, from maple syrup, honey, chocolate sauce, fresh fruits, strawberry coulis, raspberry coulis,  blueberry coulis, lemon curd, caramel sauce and even butter and these are just for the sweet pancakes. If you wanted to go the Savoury route, well……just go for it!

   

     

  

For great easy to follow recipes for pancake toppings check this post for how to make caramel sauce, this one for how to make lemon curd, here for coulis.

If you noticed the frothy, refreshing looking drink in the last picture; congrats! You have spotted one of FFF’s home made brews and I will tell you ALL about it soon!😉

FFF Tip of the Day

It’s a lot easier to stack pancakes that are just slightly warm especially if you are going to layer sauces and and jams between each piece. If the pancakes are really warm they will slide off. Alternatively you can stack warm pancakes without anything in between and pour your preferred topping over the stack. Your call!😀

Yes, it is I;  the one with the blog post titles that never really make much sense. But let me assure you then when you are done reading this post that you will come to full comprehension as to why I have opted for this heading.

As I do, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Caramel Apple cake and the writer waxed lyrical about the amazing flavours in the cake and how it was the best thing since this, that and the other......I just rolled my eyes and said to myself "yeah right". Then I did some more research and found other blogs where this recipe had been made in one form or shape or the other. Yet again more lyrics, more swooning and more attestations as to the wonder of this cake. 

At this point I had had enough! It's just cake! A really tall cake for goodness sake!!! Or is it?......hmmmmm let's just say that I can feel a sonnet coming on!!! 

This cake is ethereal! Yes I said it! Every single human being who put this cake in their mouth was astounded by the delicate texture and amazing flavour profile. Mind you, the recipe I adapted calls for a dense heavier cake but I switched things up a bit. 

  

This cake started it's journey into existences a day before Good Friday and has since sojourned from my home in Nigeria to homes in the United Kingdom!

If you ever plan to make this cake, you can't decide to do so on a whim. It must be a conscious, deliberate decision. It took the better part of two days to put it all together and it was ready just in time for the beginning of the Easter festivities and on  Good Friday we cut it.

The star elements of the cake are the apple sauce and the caramel butter cream. If you are making these from scratch, like I did, then you need some time to prep them individually before using them in the cake. So without further ado; here goes!

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE  

For The Applesauce

Ingredients

8 medium Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices

1 cup Apple cider vinegar ( you could use apple juice or apple cider and cut down the brown sugar to 1/2 cup)

 Juice Of 1 Lemon

3/4 cup Brown Sugar, Packed

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

The "How To"

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender and broken up. This could take anywhere from 20 - 25 minutes depending on the type of apples you use.

Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree to consistency of your choice. I made mine to be quite smooth. Remember that it is still hot some be careful at this stage.

Let it come to room temperature before storing in closed container the fridge.

For The Apple Cake

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

340 grams unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature 

2 1/2 cups sugar 

3 medium eggs 

3 cups homemade applesauce (see recipe above) (if you can't be bothered with the hassle then by all means use a store-bought unsweetened applesauce)

3/4 cup milk (skip this if you would prefer a denser cake)

The "How To"

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, and the. butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour: set the pans aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl and set aside.

Place the butter in a bowl and beat until creamy using an electric whisk or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer for about about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy for another 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Then add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely. 

Phew! We're almost there. This labour is worth it I promise!

For The Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar 

1/4 cup corn syrup 

110 grams of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1 ½ cups heavy cream

Method

In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t splash any of it up the sides of the pan (this will cause sugar crystals to form and you do to want that trust me). Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined. Please be careful, because when you add the cream and butter it will bubble up and it is extremely HOT!!

For the Caramel Butter Cream

Ingredients

1½ cups sugar 

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cups whole milk 

1⁄3 cup heavy cream

340 grams unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature 

The "How To"

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using and electric whisk beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. 

Then add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Surprisingly, the entire process wasn't as messy as I had anticipated! Yay! For butter cream...........errrrrrrrrr emmmmmmm in moderation of course........ahem!😀

  

Now to make the magic happen! Putting the cake all together!

Place one of the cake layers on the cake base and level off the top; mine bake relatively flat so I didn't bother to level. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on the layers and then spread caramel buttercream on top. Next, add another layer of cake and level and frost as you did with the first layer. Trim the top of the last layer and then place it on top of the cake bottom side up. 

  

Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb coat) and place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

  

 

Remove the cake from the fridge and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides.  

   

Add toasted flaked almonds or chopped peanuts. 

  

Peanuts are traditionally used when making caramel apples but I preferred the mild nuttiness of the toasted almonds on this occassion. Carefully drizzle the caramel over the cake, slice and enjoy. It might be easier to slice the cake when it's been chilled for a few minute in the fridge.

  

I have tried to add as a any photos I can that will allow you experience this baked awesomeness electronically 😀. You can thank me later😉

   

   

I was inspired by a combo of the following blogs

Brown eyed baker

The great cake company

The pioneer woman

Snixy Kitchen

Yes, it is I;  the one with the blog post titles that never really make much sense. But let me assure you then when you are done reading this post that you will come to full comprehension as to why I have opted for this heading.

As I do, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Caramel Apple cake and the writer waxed lyrical about the amazing flavours in the cake and how it was the best thing since this, that and the other......I just rolled my eyes and said to myself "yeah right". Then I did some more research and found other blogs where this recipe had been made in one form or shape or the other. Yet again more lyrics, more swooning and more attestations as to the wonder of this cake. 

At this point I had had enough! It's just cake! A really tall cake for goodness sake!!! Or is it?......hmmmmm let's just say that I can feel a sonnet coming on!!! 

This cake is ethereal! Yes I said it! Every single human being who put this cake in their mouth was astounded by the delicate texture and amazing flavour profile. Mind you, the recipe I adapted calls for a dense heavier cake but I switched things up a bit. 

  

This cake started it's journey into existences a day before Good Friday and has since sojourned from my home in Nigeria to homes in the United Kingdom!

If you ever plan to make this cake, you can't decide to do so on a whim. It must be a conscious, deliberate decision. It took the better part of two days to put it all together and it was ready just in time for the beginning of the Easter festivities and on  Good Friday we cut it.

The star elements of the cake are the apple sauce and the caramel butter cream. If you are making these from scratch, like I did, then you need some time to prep them individually before using them in the cake. So without further ado; here goes!

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE  

For The Applesauce

Ingredients

8 medium Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices

1 cup Apple cider vinegar ( you could use apple juice or apple cider and cut down the brown sugar to 1/2 cup)

 Juice Of 1 Lemon

3/4 cup Brown Sugar, Packed

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

The "How To"

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender and broken up. This could take anywhere from 20 - 25 minutes depending on the type of apples you use.

Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree to consistency of your choice. I made mine to be quite smooth. Remember that it is still hot some be careful at this stage.

Let it come to room temperature before storing in closed container the fridge.

For The Apple Cake

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

340 grams unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature 

2 1/2 cups sugar 

3 medium eggs 

3 cups homemade applesauce (see recipe above) (if you can't be bothered with the hassle then by all means use a store-bought unsweetened applesauce)

3/4 cup milk (skip this if you would prefer a denser cake)

The "How To"

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, and the. butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour: set the pans aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl and set aside.

Place the butter in a bowl and beat until creamy using an electric whisk or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer for about about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy for another 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Then add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely. 

Phew! We're almost there. This labour is worth it I promise!

For The Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar 

1/4 cup corn syrup 

110 grams of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1 ½ cups heavy cream

Method

In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t splash any of it up the sides of the pan (this will cause sugar crystals to form and you do to want that trust me). Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined. Please be careful, because when you add the cream and butter it will bubble up and it is extremely HOT!!

For the Caramel Butter Cream

Ingredients

1½ cups sugar 

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cups whole milk 

1⁄3 cup heavy cream

340 grams unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature 

The "How To"

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using and electric whisk beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. 

Then add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Surprisingly, the entire process wasn't as messy as I had anticipated! Yay! For butter cream...........errrrrrrrrr emmmmmmm in moderation of course........ahem!😀

  

Now to make the magic happen! Putting the cake all together!

Place one of the cake layers on the cake base and level off the top; mine bake relatively flat so I didn't bother to level. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on the layers and then spread caramel buttercream on top. Next, add another layer of cake and level and frost as you did with the first layer. Trim the top of the last layer and then place it on top of the cake bottom side up. 

  

Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb coat) and place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

  

 

Remove the cake from the fridge and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides.  

   

Add toasted flaked almonds or chopped peanuts. 

  

Peanuts are traditionally used when making caramel apples but I preferred the mild nuttiness of the toasted almonds on this occassion. Carefully drizzle the caramel over the cake, slice and enjoy. It might be easier to slice the cake when it's been chilled for a few minute in the fridge.

  

I have tried to add as a any photos I can that will allow you experience this baked awesomeness electronically 😀. You can thank me later😉

   

   

I was inspired by a combo of the following blogs

Brown eyed baker

The great cake company

The pioneer woman

Snixy Kitchen