Saturday, 10 November 2012

RECIPE: Apple and pear crumble cake

Apple and pear crumble cake
This evening I'm going to a dinner party with a group of my fellow German student girlfriends, and to make it a student-friendly affair, we're each bringing a dish. Obviously, I was charged with cake (before I could even volunteer myself!) For a wintery dinner party pudding, a crumble is a classic choice, so I decided to merge a crumble and a cake to make this lovely crumble cake with a streusel topping (appropriate for German students, don'tcha think?)

A rather sizeable slice
As I said in my recipe for apple, cinnamon, raisin and walnut cupcakes, I'm a huge fan of the apple/cinnamon combo, especially come autumn. Adding the pears works brilliantly too. And of course you don't have to stick to apples and pears - at this time of year blackberries and plums would be yummy too. I used tinned fruit to guarantee the moistness, as unripe fresh fruit wouldn't soften enough. I may also have used tinned because they're a lot cheaper and I'm a poor little student, but that's by the by. The beauty of this cake is that you can serve it up as it is for afternoon tea, but then warm it up (and add a cheeky bit of ice cream on the side) for an evening dessert.

My quantities made two cakes in 20cm sandwich tins, as they're quite shallow. My housemates are all very pleased about this as it means there's one cake for them (which is being devoured as I type) and one for the dinner party. However, if you had a deep springform tin you could use that and make one big cake, but do bear in mind that it would take a lot longer to bake. If you only want to make one sandwich tin's worth, just halve the quantities. As always, remember to take your eggs and 175g butter out of the fridge well in advance.


Crumble topping

85g plain flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
50g unsalted butter, chilled
50g caster sugar


175g unsalted butter, softened
175g light brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
550g tinned apples and pears
1 tbsp caster sugar

Wooo. All my ingredients and utensils out and ready to bake!


1. Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line two 20cm round sandwich cake tins.

2. Make the topping: Place the flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into little pieces and rub into the flour using the tips of your fingers until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and set aside.

3. Make the cake: Using a hand-held electric mixer, whisk the butter and sugar together until light, pale and creamy - this may take a while, but keep going and it will get smooth - then gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. The mix will be quite thick.

The crumble and fruit mixes set aside
4. Toss the fruit in a separate bowl with the caster sugar, then fold it into the cake mix. it will seem like there is a lot of fruit compared to cake, but the cake will rise up whilst baking. Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and smooth the tops.

Ready for baking!
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes (if the tops get too dark, cover loosely with foil), then sprinkle half the crumble topping on to each cake as quickly as possible and bake for a further 25 minutes or so. The cakes are done when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, although it will be slightly wet because of the fruit. The crumble topping should be golden and crisp, but don't worry if it still looks like crumbs.

Just out of the oven
6. Once out of the oven, go round the outside of each cake with a spatula knife to make sure they don't stick to the walls of the tin. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 45 minutes (they will be very fragile) before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Or, do what I did and dig in while still warm. If some of the loose crumbs fall off while you're manoeuvring and transferring the cakes, don't worry, just sprinkle them back on top afterwards. Yum! Here's hoping it goes down a treat at the dinner party tonight...

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