Apple & Cinnamon Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS:
For the crisps:

  • 65g caster sugar
  • 40ml water
  • 1 firm eating apple
  • a few pinches of ground cinnamon

For the cakes:

  • 4 eggs
  • 340g plain flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2-3 eating apples – you need 200g grated
  • 200g coconut oil, solid
  • 340g light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

For the icing:

  • 350g mascarpone
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 130C for the crisps. Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves and it starts bubbling. Pour into a bowl to cool.
  2. Cut the apple in half, top to bottom, and remove the stalk. Use a mandolin to cut thin slices of the apple – I used my thinnest setting. Set the slices onto a parchment lined baking tray. Use a pastry brush to thinly coat the slices with some of the syrup. Sprinkle over a little cinnamon. Put the tray into the oven and bake for 30 minutes then turn the oven off and leave to cool inside. Remove from the oven and place into a sealed tin or box.

  3. To start the cakes, preheat the oven to 180C. Grease two 6″ cake tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment. Wipe a clean mixing bowl down with a piece of lemon (to remove any little bits of grease). Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites into the lemony bowl (to be whipped later) and the yolks into a cup/bowl. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt onto a plate or bowl. Peel the apples then grate them – weigh and make you have 200g (don’t add extra, it’ll throw the liquid balance off
  4. Put the coconut oil and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until fluffy and paler than before – about 4 minutes. Add the yolks one by one, beating well and scraping down in between each addition. Take off the machine and tip in the 200g of grated apple and the lemon juice. Fold together. Get your egg whites and whip them (I do this by hand because I think it’s simpler, but you could transfer the apple mix to another bowl and very throughly clean the mixer bowl and use the machine, or use a hand beater) until they hold stiff peaks (be careful not to overdo it – a spike on the end of the beater should hold upright with a little waver – it won’t be as firm as meringue).
  5. Fold half of the sieved dry ingredients into the apple mix, carefully but throughly, scraping the sides and bottom. Add half of the whipped egg whites and fold them in, followed by the rest of the flour, then the rest of the egg whites. It takes a little bit of patience but you need to get it evenly combined (no lumps of flour or big streaks of egg white) without losing too much air. Divide the mixture between the two tins, level, then form a dip in the middle.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until domed, cracked, golden and a skewer comes out cleanly from the middle. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from the tin and leave to cool. When the oven has turned off and cooled down a little, I gave the crisps a crunch boost by leaving them in there for a few minutes.
  7. Make the icing as the cakes bake or cool. Place the mascarpone into a bowl and beat until smooth. Sieve over the icing sugar, pour in the lemon and beat again. Keep in the fridge until you need it.
  8. When the cakes are barely warm (or cold) you can start cutting – use a sharp serrated knife to cut the dome away from the top, trying to keep as flat as possible. Work out where the halfway line is on the remaining cake and carefully score all the way around with your knife, then go around cutting deeply to split the cake (this should help guide the knife so you get an even cut).
  9. Place one of the cakes onto a clean serving plate. Smooth over 1/4 of the icing, going right out and almost over the edge. Add the next layer and repeat until finished. Finally arrange the crisps on top. Best immediately, keeps assembled for a day in the fridge (will be quite different to fresh), plain cake for 3-4 days in a tin.

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