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Apple Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting

This Sex and the City-inspired recipe, yields a hugely rich apple and walnut cake with caramel cream cheese frosting

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  • Serves 16

  • Prep time 30 mins

  • Cooking time 50 mins

  • Total time 1 hr 20 mins

  • Skill level Easy

  • Calories 700 per serving

  • Prepare ahead yes

Ingredients

For the cake
  • 280g (91/2oz) plain flour
  • 125g (41/2oz) wholemeal flour
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 350ml (12floz) sunflower oil
  • 400g (14oz) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g (4oz) walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 3tbsp brandy (Calvados if you have it)
For the caramel
  • 400g (14oz) caster sugar
  • 225ml (8fl oz) double cream
For the frosting
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) cream cheese
  • 225ml (8fl oz) of the caramel (above)
  • squeeze of lemon juice
For the caramel shards
  • handful of whole walnuts
  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
you will need
  • 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich cake tins

Tip

You can prepare the cake up to two days ahead. Wrap and place in an airtight container. The caramel and frosting can be made three days ahead and stored in the fridge. Once decorated, the cake will keep for four hours in the fridge, but drizzle over the caramel at the last minute. The cake won’t freeze well, though.

Preparation

This delicious cake recipe would make the perfect dinner party dessert if you're entertaining the girls this weekend. This fabulous recipe for apple walnut cake with caramel cream cheese frosting, was inspired by the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York, of Sex and the City fame.

HOW TO MAKE APPLE WALNUT CAKE WITH CARAMEL FROSTING

  1. Preheat oven to 170 C, 150 C fan oven, 325 F, gas 3. Grease and line the bases of the sandwich tins. Sift together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar together with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the dry ingredients until it forms a thick, smooth batter. Fold in the walnuts, apple and brandy.
  3. Divide mixture between tins and bake on the middle shelf for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake’s centre. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. While the cake is cooking, make the caramel. Dissolve the sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat. Once the caramel has gone deep amber, remove from heat and slowly add the cream. Stand back as you do it – it will bubble like mad. Return to heat and stir for a minute. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  5. For the frosting, blend the cheese with 225ml (8fl oz) cold caramel and the lemon juice using an electric hand whisk, reserving the rest of the caramel for decoration.
  6. To make the caramel shards, lightly oil a sheet of foil and dot over the walnuts, spaced a little apart. Melt the caster sugar in a pan. Once it has caramelized, pour over the walnuts and allow to set. To assemble the cake: once the cakes are cool, use 1/3 of the icing to sandwich the two layers together. Spread remaining icing over the top and around the sides, using a palette knife. Drizzle the leftover caramel over the iced cake. You can do this with a teaspoon, a piping bag or a clean plastic ketchup bottle. Break up the hard caramel into shards and arrange on top of cake.