Thursday, 20 June 2013

Apple, Carrot and White Chocolate Cake

Traditional carrot cake is one of my favourites, but the classic, sweetly spiced version that we all know and love does not have to be the end of the story. Here I've replaced the spicing with the light fragrance of vanilla and lemon and infused the batter with rich white chocolate. I've then topped with thin slices of sugared apple, which caramelise beautifully in the oven. The result is a moreishly moist and fruity beast, with subtle contrasts in both flavour and texture. There are a fair few different processes involved in its creation, so more so than usual I recommend getting everything measured and prepared before you start. It is also admittedly a relatively long cake to bake, but we all know that the best things are worth waiting for.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 90 minutes
200g White Chocolate
200g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
200g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 Large Eggs
The zest of 1 Lemon
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Baking Powder
200g Plain Flour
300g Grated Carrot
2 Large Dessert Apples
1.5tbsp Demerara Sugar

The first task required is to melt 100g of the white chocolate. It's best to do this now so it has a bit of time to cool before needed. You can do this over a bain-marie, or in the microwave if you are confident with your timings. Whilst the chocolate is melting preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a deep 20cm loose bottomed tin and line the base with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time, along with the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Sift in the baking powder along with the flour, then pour in the 100g of melted white chocolate and mix to a smooth batter. Finely chop the remaining 100g of white chocolate, add to the mixture with the grated carrot and fold through until combined. Spoon into your prepared tin and even to the edges.

Peel and core the apples, then thinly slice. Arrange a half of the sliced apple on top of the batter, sprinkle over half of the sugar, then repeat for the other half. You don't want any gaps at all, even at the edges, but you can decide on how you arrange them. Place in the centre of the oven for 90 minutes, until the apples are golden and starting to caramelise and a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. It's worth checking the cake after about 75 minutes and if the apples are already nicely golden then it's fine to cover the top with a sheet of foil to prevent them burning. Once the cake is cool, leave in the tin for 20 minutes, then carefully turn out. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack, and the cake is ready to slice and serve. As I mentioned above this cake does involve a few different techniques but for that reason it is great fun, not to mention delicious!

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