Halloween isn't really a big deal here in South Africa, I mean there are a few spooky decorations and the odd ghost-shaped sweet in the supermarkets but definitely not as big of a deal as it is in America. BUT let me just warn you, 'cos it seems to gradually becoming a thing. Last year? Kids came trick or treating at my door and I had NOTHING to give them! The horror! And before you go and say I was tricking them - how could THE biggest dessert-o-holic NOT have sweets in her house, let me just say that it's because I'm an all or nothing kind of gal. Meaning, I eat them all so there's nothing left.
But I digress. This year the lovely folks over at Food & Home Entertaining Magazine asked me and my ridiculously talented sister to do a little something for Halloween. Scary tales was the brief - the spooky side of fairy tales (which frankly are bloody terrifying). This cake is an evil (but delicious) spin on Snow White and the poison apple; layers of spiced apple cake, toffee buttercream, peanut brittle and some snow white apples on top. Sugar, sugar and more sugar - basically, if the poison apple hadn't done the job, this cake certainly would've!
Halloween Poison Toffee Apple Cake with Caramel Peanut Brittle Buttercream and Snow White Apples
210g salted butter, softened
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour, sifted
½ tsp (2.5ml) bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp (15ml) cinnamon
½ tsp (2.5ml) nutmeg
80ml (1/3 cup) milk
145g finely grated Golden Delicious apples, squeezed well
75g flaked almonds, toasted
240g Natura Light Demerara Sugar
250ml (1 cup) water
360ml (1 ½ cups) cream
250g salted butter, softened
SNOW WHITE APPLES
8 small lunchbox apples
8 wooden skewers or clean sticks
200g white chocolate, chopped
Peanut brittle, crushed, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180C (conventional) and grease and line 3 x 20cm sandwich cake tins.
Cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy (about 8-10 minutes).
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition.
Beat in the vanilla.
Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices and stir into the cake batter alternating with the milk.
Stir in the squeezed apple and flaked almonds then divide between the 3 tins and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes, comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool, upside down, completely then remove from the tin.
To make the buttercream, place the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer, without stirring, until the mixture begins caramelizing.
Once the syrup reaches a dark toffee-colour (137 degrees celcius on a sugar thermometer), pour in the cream and swirl to combine.
Allow to cool completely and divide the mixture in half.
Cream the butter until very white and fluffy (about 8-10 minutes) then add one half of the toffee sauce and whip to combine – the buttercream should be very light and fluffy.
To assemble, slice each cake in half to create 4 layers.
Sandwich the layers together with the buttercream, sprinkling a little of the peanut brittle in between each layer, then cover the top and sides with the remaining buttercream.
To make the snow white apples, insert the sticks into the apples then set aside.
Melt the white chocolate gently over a double boiler then dip each apple into the chocolate. Allow to drip thoroughly before placing on a lined baking sheet to set completely.
Place the apples on top of the cake then drizzle with the rest of the toffee sauce, to serve.
TIP: If the buttercream gets stiff while assembling the cake, simply whip again until fluffy.