Toffee Apple Cake Recipe

Updated on March 18, 2016
nifwlseirff profile image

Kymberly loves to cook, bake and preserve. She'd love more time to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious (healthy) recipes!

With a crisp dough base, halved apples and delicious walnuts, topped with a layer of delicious toffee, this cake is a hit with any who have a sweet tooth.

This super-sweet toffee apple cake is best eaten warm, within a couple of days of being made.

Sugar likes water, and will pull moisture into it, which makes the toffee soft and runny within a day or so.

It may not look so pretty, but the taste is incredible!

It's based on a traditional French style recipe, where caramel is made in a pan first, then fruit placed on top and covered with a dough.

Toffee apple cake - incredibly sweet!
Toffee apple cake - incredibly sweet! | Source

Did you know?

  • The word "toffee" first appears in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1825.
  • Toffee can be soft, or very hard and brittle.
  • Hard, brittle toffee is 99% sugar, but soft caramel candy is only 87% sugar.
  • Toffee is heated to the hard crack stage in candy making (about 150°C / 300°F).
  • Red toffee apples were first made in Newark (US) in 1908.

But I like a softer caramel!

If you prefer a softer and creamier caramel candy, rather than a hard toffee:

  • Melt white sugar in 4-5 tablespoons of butter.
  • Heat on a lower heat, for a shorter time, than for making the hard toffee.

If you want a pure caramel sauce, such as the type used in creme brulee

  • Don't use any butter.
  • Heat to a higher temperature (170°C / 335°F), stirring less often to avoid the sugar forming solid lumps.

Which sugar and how hot?

The type of sugar, and the amount of heat applied as it is melted, will change the flavor of the toffee / caramel.

  • white sugar - a clean caramel taste.
  • brown sugar - a dark treacle flavored toffee.
  • longer, higher heat - smokey and slightly bitter flavor.
  • shorter, lower heat - a lighter, softer caramel.

Recommended: For a less sweet apple cake, that looks stunning as a celebration cake, try my apple bundt cake that is smothered in a rich rum glaze. This has the overwhelming approval of the non-sweet-tooth members of my family!

5 stars from 1 rating of Toffee apple cake

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: Serves 12 people

Instructions summary

  1. Prepare the dough - blend dry ingredients, rub in cold butter, tip in a little cold water and vanilla essence.
  2. Prepare the filling - peel, halve and core apples, chop half of the walnuts.
  3. Prepare the tin - double line and butter cake tin.
  4. Make the toffee - melt sugar in a little butter, add a little vanilla essence. Stir continuously!
  5. Assemble the cake - tip toffee into tin, sprinkle chopped walnuts over the toffee, place apple halves, sultanas and whole walnuts to cover toffee, flatten pieces of dough to cover cake.
  6. Bake - at 180C (350F) for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Invert (carefully) while still hot onto a plate with a rim.
  8. Decorate and/or serve warm.

Ingredients

  • 340g / 2.6 cups plain flour
  • 120g / 0.6 cups icing sugar, (powder sugar)
  • 75g / 0.6 cups ground almonds
  • 270g / 1.1 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or essence
  • 3 teaspoon iced water
  • 6-7 medium apples, (fewer for a smaller tin)
  • 2 handfuls sultanas
  • 2 handfuls walnuts
  • 30g / 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 400g / 2 cups sugar, (raw or brown)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Detailed instructions

Making the toffee should be the last step before assembling the cake and baking.

The toffee needs constant attention and stirring as the sugar melts, and you want to be able to add the chopped nuts as soon as you've poured the toffee into the prepared tin.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dough ingredients - sugar, flour, ground almonds, butter, vanilla paste and iced water.Dry ingredients in the food processor.Adding chopped cold butter to the mixed dry ingredients.Crumbly mixture after processing - butter and dry ingredients.The dough after mixing in vanilla paste and iced water - form into a smooth ball, and set aside.
Dough ingredients - sugar, flour, ground almonds, butter, vanilla paste and iced water.
Dough ingredients - sugar, flour, ground almonds, butter, vanilla paste and iced water. | Source
Dry ingredients in the food processor.
Dry ingredients in the food processor. | Source
Adding chopped cold butter to the mixed dry ingredients.
Adding chopped cold butter to the mixed dry ingredients. | Source
Crumbly mixture after processing - butter and dry ingredients.
Crumbly mixture after processing - butter and dry ingredients. | Source
The dough after mixing in vanilla paste and iced water - form into a smooth ball, and set aside.
The dough after mixing in vanilla paste and iced water - form into a smooth ball, and set aside. | Source

Make the dough

  1. Whiz the flour, sugar and ground almonds together in a food processor, or mix with a balloon whisk.
  2. Add the cold butter chunks to the food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If working by hand, rub the butter into the flour mixture.

    Note: the butter must be very cold, or the dough will not come together easily.
  3. Add the vanilla paste or essence, and the iced water a little at a time. Process until the dough forms a rough ball.

    If the butter was too warm, you will need to tip the dough out of the food processor and form the ball with your hands.
  4. Set the dough ball aside.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The filling ingredients - apples, walnuts, sultanas (plus the sugar for the toffee).Peeled apples.Halved and cored apple.Half of the walnuts - chopped.Prepared springform tin - the double lining of paper seals the bottom edge completely - this must be done to stop the toffee from running out.
The filling ingredients - apples, walnuts, sultanas (plus the sugar for the toffee).
The filling ingredients - apples, walnuts, sultanas (plus the sugar for the toffee). | Source
Peeled apples.
Peeled apples. | Source
Halved and cored apple.
Halved and cored apple. | Source
Half of the walnuts - chopped.
Half of the walnuts - chopped. | Source
Prepared springform tin - the double lining of paper seals the bottom edge completely - this must be done to stop the toffee from running out.
Prepared springform tin - the double lining of paper seals the bottom edge completely - this must be done to stop the toffee from running out. | Source

Prepare the filling and the tin

  1. Prepare the apples - peel them, cut them into halves, and dig the apple core out with a knife or the tip of the peeler.

    Tip: A smaller cake tin will need fewer apples. There should be anough apple halves to fill the cake tin in one layer.
  2. Sprinkle the apple halves with a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Then set the apples aside.
  3. Chop one handful of walnuts, then set these aside. Keep the other handful of walnuts whole.
  4. Prepare the cake tin - double line the tin with paper, buttering each layer.

Note: If using a spring-form or tart tin with a removable base, make sure the lining paper is 1cm above the gap in the bottom of the tin. If there is any gap, the toffee / caramel will leak!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Toffee ingredients - a little butter, raw/brown sugar and vanilla essence.Sugar tipped into hot pan with 2 TBsp butter. Stir continuously with a metal spoon.Sugar starts to melt. Add vanilla essence and keep stirring.Sugar nearly fully melted - stirring continuously. Don't let it burn!Toffee in pan, with walnuts sprinkled over it.
Toffee ingredients - a little butter, raw/brown sugar and vanilla essence.
Toffee ingredients - a little butter, raw/brown sugar and vanilla essence. | Source
Sugar tipped into hot pan with 2 TBsp butter. Stir continuously with a metal spoon.
Sugar tipped into hot pan with 2 TBsp butter. Stir continuously with a metal spoon. | Source
Sugar starts to melt. Add vanilla essence and keep stirring.
Sugar starts to melt. Add vanilla essence and keep stirring. | Source
Sugar nearly fully melted - stirring continuously. Don't let it burn!
Sugar nearly fully melted - stirring continuously. Don't let it burn! | Source
Toffee in pan, with walnuts sprinkled over it.
Toffee in pan, with walnuts sprinkled over it. | Source

Make the toffee

Be careful - hot, melted sugar can burn skin!

  • Wear long sleeves and an apron to prevent splattered hot sugar from touching skin.
  • Have cold water on standby in case a splatter does reach skin.
  • Use oven mitts when pouring the melted toffee and handing the tin.
  • Wear glasses, if you have them, to protect your eyes.
  • Use a strong, deep frying pan or saucepan.

Avoid using a candy thermometer - if it breaks, your pan, the thermometer and the toffee are all unusable. Better to use your eyes and nose.

Tip: Use a metal spoon - melting sugar will clump and stick to a wooden spoon, and can melt plastic, Teflon or silicon utensils.

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, solid frying pan, tip to evenly coat the entire pan.
  2. When the butter starts to bubble, pour in the sugar.
  3. Stir evenly, slowly and constantly. Watch carefully - the toffee can burn quickly.
  4. When the sugar starts to melt, tip the vanilla essence in carefully - it will hiss, splatter and cause lumps to form. Break these lumps apart, and keep stirring!
  5. When toffee has fully melted, and just as a little smoke appears, tip the toffee into the prepared cake tin - be careful, it is extremly hot!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Apples covering toffee, cut sides up, filled with sultanas and walnuts. Flattened pieces of dough covering apples.The dough covered cake before baking.Golden brown after baking.Cake inverted onto a plate with a rim, while still hot.Peeling away the cake tin lining, while still hot.
Apples covering toffee, cut sides up, filled with sultanas and walnuts. Flattened pieces of dough covering apples.
Apples covering toffee, cut sides up, filled with sultanas and walnuts. Flattened pieces of dough covering apples. | Source
The dough covered cake before baking.
The dough covered cake before baking. | Source
Golden brown after baking.
Golden brown after baking. | Source
Cake inverted onto a plate with a rim, while still hot.
Cake inverted onto a plate with a rim, while still hot. | Source
Peeling away the cake tin lining, while still hot.
Peeling away the cake tin lining, while still hot. | Source

Assemble, bake and serve

  1. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the hot toffee in the cake tin.
  2. Place the apple halves with their cut sides facing up.
  3. Put a few sultanas and a whole walnut or two into the middle of each apple half.
  4. Break off pieces of the dough. Flatten each piece and lay over the apples. Cover the apples completely with flattened pieces of dough.
  5. Fill any gaps or valleys with left over bits of dough.
  6. Use oven mitts and put the cake tin in an oven, preheated to 180°C / 350°F.
  7. Cook for about 40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
  8. Take the cake out of the oven. Let the cake cool in the tin for about 5 minutes.
  9. While it is still hot, turn the cake onto a large plate that has a raised lip, being very careful not to burn yourself. The toffee / caramel will run and make a mess!

Serve the toffee apple cake warm with ice cream or cream.

Eat within 1-2 days of baking, before the toffee and the dough becomes soft and moist.

Finished toffee apple cake, ready for decorating and serving.
Finished toffee apple cake, ready for decorating and serving. | Source

What is your favorite type of coated apple?

See results

Variations

  • Add cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough, or sprinkle over the apples.
  • Apples, cranberry and hazelnuts, with hazelnut meal in the dough.
  • Apples, dried apricots and macadamias, with macadamia liqueur instead of vanilla essence in the dough.
  • Pears and pistachios, with a touch of ground cardamon in the dough, or sprinkled over the pears.
  • Nashi pears and almonds, with a little almond essence in the dough.
  • A double layer of baking plums as the fruit filling, and rum instead of vanilla in the dough, with or without nuts and dried fruits.
  • Use flavored sugars for the toffee / caramel such as lavender or rose sugar.
  • Shortcrust pastry or puff pastry can be used to replace the base.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • nifwlseirff profile imageAUTHOR

        Kymberly Fergusson 

        6 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

        algarveview - It's surprisingly easy, but just a little scary and slow when melting the sugar for the toffee! I hope you love it when you try it!

      • algarveview profile image

        Joana e Bruno 

        6 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

        Great hub and amazing recipe... The toffee seems delicious (I love toffee)... I do have to try it, though it doesn't seem easy, but it looks so good.... Hmmm... Voted up and sharing!

      • nifwlseirff profile imageAUTHOR

        Kymberly Fergusson 

        6 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

        Claudia - I love the rustic look too (but also because I am too much of a klutz to decorate cakes professionally!)

      • Claudia Tello profile image

        Claudia Tello 

        6 years ago from Mexico

        No no! I love the rustic look!!! I wouldn´t change that at all. It looks perfect just the way it is.

      • GoodLady profile image

        Penelope Hart 

        6 years ago from Rome, Italy

        It's an amazing cake and an amazing hub! Wow, just great. like the music too.

      • vespawoolf profile image

        vespawoolf 

        6 years ago from Peru, South America

        What a fascinating recipe and video! I love the way you've put it together. Congrats on placing in the contest!

      • Claudia Tello profile image

        Claudia Tello 

        6 years ago from Mexico

        I totally agree with Simone, you´ve done a fantastic piece of work: congratulations. I love the rustic appearance of your toffee apple cake, it looks like an artisan´s master craft; I am dying for a piece of it!!

      • Simone Smith profile image

        Simone Haruko Smith 

        6 years ago from San Francisco

        This cake looks dangerously delicious, and your Video is so gorgeous! I love the fun facts you've included. Jeez, this recipe brings the concept of recipe articles to a whole new level!

      • cardelean profile image

        cardelean 

        6 years ago from Michigan

        This looks amazing! I am definitely going to be giving this recipe a try. Wonderful step by step directions.

      • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

        Sarah Johnson 

        6 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

        That is some serious love going into that cake! Great video and details. Your recipe sounds delicious!

      • profile image

        medcaribbeanskul 

        6 years ago

        Sinfully Yummy! I am amazed at how you painstaking prepared this hub. It is well thought of and very good presentation. Thank you very much for sharing. Will dust off my old oven now and probably get back to you with pictures. :)It is worth voting all the way up.

      • Pamela-anne profile image

        Pamela-anne 

        6 years ago from Miller Lake

        Thanks for sharing this mouth-watering recipe it looks so yummy! take care pam.

      • alissaroberts profile image

        Alissa Roberts 

        6 years ago from Normandy, TN

        My sweet tooth is definitely aching for this cake! Your pictures look absolutely delicious and the detailed instructions are great. Thanks for sharing your yummy recipe with us!

      • coolenconnections profile image

        Suzanne Sankey 

        6 years ago from Toronto

        That looks so good!!! I loved the way you did the video. It really make the recipe come to life. I am a visual learner and I wish all recipes were done like this. I'm going to try this recipe soon. Thanks!!!

      • Shaddie profile image

        Shaddie 

        6 years ago from Washington state

        Woah... Sign me up!!

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