I recently spent the most wonderful day in the company of Pink Lady Apples and Top Fruit. We were invited to visit the packing facilities as well as one of the farms in Ceres where Pink Lady apples are grown. The day was a fascinating insight into the journey a Pink Lady Apple takes from the moment it is picked until you take it off the shelf at the grocer. A lot of special care is taken during the process and we were so well taken care of during a day filled with special touches everywhere. I arrived home with a bag groaning with the most beautiful pink blushed apples and knew that they had to feature in a special recipe and I think this Persian Love Cake with Caramel Brandy Poached Apples achieves that goal. The recipe is partly inspired by these amazing Clementines poached in Caramel and Brandy I made last year for winter and how could I resist trying out a recipe for a Persian Love Cake.

Persian Love Cake with Caramel Brandy Poached Apples

Persian Love Cake with Caramel Brandy Poached Apples

 

It is a recipe I saw on the blog of one of my favourite baking blogs – Butter Baking. Natasha posted a recipe for a chocolate version of a Persian Love Cake a while back and then followed it up with a more traditional version topped with mascarpone cream and fresh figs which was also gluten free.

Persian Love Cake with Caramel Brandy Poached Apples

 

It is an interesting recipe in that the almond mixture is divided in half. Half of it is baked as a biscuit crust and the other half is mixed with eggs and yoghurt to form a delicious moist topping for the chewy base. The cake is dense and delicious and screams for spices. I reduced the ground nutmeg in the original recipe and added some cinnamon and ground ginger to the mix as well as some lemon zest to lift the flavours. Orange zest will be just as good.

Persian Love Cake with Caramel Brandy Poached Apples

 

I replaced the mascarpone with creme fraiche but have to say I found the creme topping far too rich on top of the richness already coming from the almonds, butter and apples so suggest you rather top the cake with 250ml whipped fresh cream. I don’t think the cake needs more than that. The apples take on the caramel and brandy beautifully and becomes sticky, sweet and golden. I think it looks absolutely amazing! And the taste certainly matches. The cake is rich so you can easily serve 10 people with one cake. Indulge and enjoy!

Persian Love Cake with Caramel Brandy Poached Apples

 

Persian Love Cake with Caramel Brandy Poached Apples

Ingredients

  • 360g almond meal
  • 200g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 250g full fat plain yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • CARAMEL AND BRANDY POACHED APPLE TOPPING
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices each
  • 300g sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml brandy
  • additional 100ml water
  • a good pinch of salt
  • CREME TOPPING
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. CAKE
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line the base and sides of a 29cm springform tin with baking paper
  3. In a large bowl, crumble together the almond meal, sugars, butter, spices and salt until the mixture resembles wet sand
  4. Press half the crumble into the base of your tin
  5. Add the yoghurt, eggs, vanilla and zest to the remaining crumble and use a spatula to beat the mixture together until it's well combined
  6. Pour the batter into the cake tin
  7. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until lightly puffed and golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake
  8. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin
  9. APPLES
  10. While the cake baked start with the caramelised apples
  11. Place the apples in some cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice to avoid discolouring and set aside
  12. Pour some cold water in a bowl enough the fit a medium pan and set aside
  13. Place the sugar and 100ml water in a medium pan and heat over a medium heat while stirring until all the sugar has dissolved
  14. Bring it to the boil and without stirring boil for about 10 minutes until the syrup turns a golden colour
  15. Keep a close eye and as soon as the syrup turns an amber coloured caramel, remove immediately from the heat and place the pan in the bowl with the cold water to stop the caramel from cooking further
  16. Return to the heat and carefully add the brandy, 100ml water and salt
  17. Keep stirring until the caramel has melted and you have a smooth liquid
  18. Add the apples and simmer gently for 20 minutes, turning the apples in the liquid a few times
  19. Remove the apples, place in a dish and set aside
  20. Turn up the heat and boil the syrup for a few minutes
  21. Pour the hot syrup over the apples and let it stand until it has reached room temperature
  22. TOPPING
  23. Whisk the cream with the extract until firm peaks form and spread on top of the cooled cake
  24. Pile the apples in the centre of the cake and drizzle with some of the caramel syrup
  25. Serve the rest of the syrup on the side
  26. Serves 10 - 12
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