Toffee apple cake

Toffee apple cake

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(11 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 35 mins plus cooling

A challenge

Serves 16

This showstopping bake is a celebration of classic apple desserts with spiced sponge, vanilla icing and a sticky caramel apple filling

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving (with toffee apple decoration)

  • kcal465
  • fat27g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs48g
  • sugars38g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g dark brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 250g eating apples (prepared weight – about 3 apples), peeled, cored and coarsely grated



    Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 25g rolled oats
    Two piles of oats



    Oats are processed by rolling (steamed and pressed) or steel-cutting (cut into pieces). There is…

  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g sultanas
  • zest 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

For the filling and decoration

  • juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 4 eating apples (I used Pink Lady)



    Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 50g dark brown soft sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
    Golden syrup

    Golden syrup

    goal-dun sir-rup

    Golden syrup is a translucent, golden-amber coloured, sweet syrup, which can only be produced…

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 100g white caster sugar (optional, for the tiny toffee apples)

For the syrup

  • 75g dark brown soft sugar
  • juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 tbsp brandy, or water



    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

For the icing

  • 50g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 100g white chocolate
    White chocolate squares, stacked

    White chocolate

    why-t chok-lit

    To purists, this is not chocolate because it is made only from the fat or butter of the cacao…

  • 280g tub cream cheese
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 170g pot Greek yogurt

You will need

  • 8 long wooden skewers (optional, for the tiny toffee apples)


  1. Start by making the cakes. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line 2 x 18cm springform cake tins with baking parchment and brush with a little oil. Put the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk with electric beaters until glossy and pale. Keep the beaters running as you pour in the oil.

  2. Stir in the grated apple, then fold in all the other cake ingredients. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

  3. While the cakes cook, prepare the apple filling. Tip the lemon juice into a large bowl and fill halfway with cold water. Peel the apples, then cut into spheres using a melon baller – pop them in the bowl of lemon water as you go to stop them discolouring. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, dark brown sugar, golden syrup, cinnamon and 200ml water, and heat until boiling. Take the apple balls out of the water and put them in the pan –if you want to make the tiny toffee apples for the top, keep 8 apple balls in the water until needed. Bring the mixture in the pan back to the boil for 8 - 10 mins or until the apples are soft but not losing their shape, and a thick syrup starts to form. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then chill until needed.

  4. Stir all the syrup ingredients together in a bowl. When the cakes are cooked, keep them in the tin but prick holes all over the surface with a skewer and drizzle the syrup over. Leave the cakes to cool completely in the tin.

  5. While the cakes cool, make the icing. In a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the butter and white chocolate together. Once melted and glossy, pour into a large bowl. Add the cream cheese, whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla. Finally, fold in the yogurt. When the mixture is cool, chill until needed.

  6. To assemble the cake, take the cooled sponges out of their tins and put one of them on a cake stand. Top with half the white chocolate icing – use a spoon or pipe it using a very large round nozzle. Scatter the cooked apple pieces, along with a drizzle of the syrup, over the icing, then place in the fridge to firm up for 15 mins. Add the top layer of the cake, then decorate with the rest of the icing by piping it in lots of regular little mounds all over the top using a large round nozzle. Put the whole cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Will keep for 2 days in the fridge.

  7. For a showstopping, but optional, finish, make some beautiful miniature toffee apples. Their effect is stunning but fleeting, so make them just before serving your cake, as the caramel will dissolve quickly due to the moisture in the air. Brush a baking tray with a little vegetable oil and set aside. Very thoroughly dry the reserved apple balls from step 3 of the cake with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel and insert a long wooden skewer into each one.

  8. Put the caster sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar melts. Keep cooking until the sugar has become a liquid golden caramel, then remove from the heat. If it looks like it’s getting too hot, sit the base of the pan in a heatproof dish of cold water.

  9. Tilt the pan and, working quickly (as the sugar will continue to cook), hold the apple balls by the skewer and dip each one in turn into the caramel and twist it around to coat it. It’s really important that the apple balls are well dried and that you don’t turn them in the hot caramel more than twice, otherwise the apple will cook and release liquid, which will stop the caramel from sticking. As soon as they are coated, slowly lift them out vertically. Hold the apple up out of the pan and pause before transferring it to the oiled tray on its side. Holding it up like this will allow a long drip of caramel to set hard and create a beautiful long spike. Repeat the process with the rest of the apples, working quickly so that the caramel doesn’t harden completely before all the apples have been coated. However, don’t worry too much as you can always gently reheat it over a low heat before continuing – just be careful not to burn it, otherwise it will taste bitter.

  10. After a couple of minutes, the apples should have set. When they are cool enough to handle, pull out the skewers. Place the apples on top of the cake so that the spike is pointing upwards and the base of the apple (where the skewer was) is pressed into the icing. Serve immediately.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Emily Hitt's picture
Emily Hitt
25th Sep, 2019
Would you use red or green eating apples for the actual cake?
Carolyn Mclean's picture
Carolyn Mclean
11th Nov, 2018
Fabulous cake and the topping is delicous, I took shortcut and just cooked the apple in some caramel sauce I already had - will definitely use the topping on other cakes and will make again.
10th Mar, 2018
I did the cake in my food processor to save time. Added the raisins in at the end by hand. I used some coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar. Cakes came out perfectly. For the appley syrup, I didn't have golden syrup so used black treacle and xylitol as didn't have sugars. I think the apples fried with a touch of maple syrup would equate to the same outcome - will try that next time. I lacked ingredients for the icing so just did vanilla buttercream using Pure spread and icing sugar and vanilla essence plus a few squares of melted white chocolate, to hold it together. Worked really well and the end result was akin to a carrot cake but slightly more fragrant. Will go into my binder!
Tim eats everything
21st Nov, 2017
This won me second prize in a cake baking competition and it is so tasty.
Pie Crust
6th Nov, 2016
I have made this cake twice now, each time for a party. Guests still talk about it. The cake is totally delicious.
25th Apr, 2016
A real effort but totally delicious!
1st Mar, 2016
I skipped the caramel decorations and made this very tall cake for a friend's birthday (3 months ago) - they loved it, still talk about it. I didn't have brandy so I subbed for either amaretto, honey rum or whatever dregs I had lying around.
2nd Nov, 2015
Eating a slice of this right now and it's delicious. I actually made it on Friday and it still tastes great, three days later. The taste is extremely similar to carrot cake, but with the added addition of the really tasty apple mixture in the middle. I also love the frosting; I think this will now be my standard cream cheese topping. I put my frosting in the fridge for a couple of hours before piping and it worked fine. I didn't do the mini toffee apples, however; I just piped little flower shapes all over and then finished with grated white chocolate. I also used vanilla essence (1tsp) instead of a vanilla pod, and when I made the syrup for the sponges, I used water and amaretto rather than lemon juice and brandy (as that's all I had at the time).
2nd Nov, 2015
Great fun to make and trust that it will be sweet enough, if you are worried about the yogurt/cream cheese icing. I did add more cinnamon to the syrup but my only concern was that the icing really wasn't stiff enough to pipe, I certainly couldn't get the consistency in the picture. I had to make the toffee apples in advance, by a couple of hours, but didn't put them on the cake until the last minute. Well worth a try for taste and impact alone!
21st Nov, 2019
The icing is very floppy, could you use some icing sugar to make it more pipeable to achieve more definition in the piped decoration?
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