When the winds pick up and the leaves start to turn colour, this beautiful Apple Cinnamon Custard Cake is a delicious way to celebrate autumn's bounty. Taking advantage of the prodigious offering of over 100 apples from our two espaliered apple trees growing on our terrace, making lots of our favourite recipes becomes one of the hallmarks of our fall apple season, from making quadruple batches of my Curried Apple Zucchini Soup, Savoury Tomato & Apple Chutney and six of my Mom's famous Apple Crisp. Looking for new inspiration, I found this great recipe for Apple Cinnamon Custard Cake that calls for the apples to be finely sliced then marinated in Grand Marnier before adding them to a sweet eggy batter. Moist, light and bursting with flavour, this heavenly dessert is now on my 'A-list' - also known as my apple list!
The bounty of apples grown on our terrace became the inspiration for this autumn dessert
Apple Cinnamon Custard Cake
2 tsp butter, at room temperature
3 green apples, peeled and cored, cut into 8 wedges, then cut into thin slices
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
1 1/4 cups all-purpose white flour, plus 2 tbsp extra
1 cup white sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp icing sugar, sifted
Grand Marnier Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a springform pan with the butter. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with Grand Marnier and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, milk, whole eggs, orange zest and vanilla to blend. Then whisk the dry ingredients into the wet to form a smooth batter.
Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a small bowl and mix in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour, and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks into remaining batter in the large bowl just to blend, then stir in the apples. Transfer the apple batter to the prepared pan and spread the batter into an even layer, pressing the apples in to submerge them. Pour the reserved batter evenly over the apple batter. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining caster sugar and cinnamon to blend, and then sprinkle it evenly over the batter.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it sit for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake, release the pan sides then allow the cake to cool for about 30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or at room temperature. To make the whipped cream, whisk the cream, Grand Marnier and icing sugar until thick. To serve, cut the cake into wedges and serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream.