Mulled Apple and Honey Caramel Layer Cake
Christmas is just around the corner, it's definitely getting colder! So here is a warming layer cake for you to make! Mulled spiced sponge soaked with a honey syrup, filled with a spiced apple compote and honey caramel then coated with a mixed spice buttercream. A perfect wintery treat! I've used honey from the London Honey Company for this recipe, I recommend to check out their honey it is so divine! They have ranges of different honey with all different flavours which work great in so many desserts. I've used Salisbury honey for this recipe. It is lovely and floral and works really well with the apple and spices.
If you are like me and not a massive fan of the traditional Christmas desserts like Christmas pudding and mince pies. This is such a great alternative to make! Less heavy and dense but still packed full of spices and apples. The cake does take some time to make but you can do all the stages in advance which will save you lots of time!
Here are some tips to get the perfect cake:
Invest in a good cake scraper. This is for those cake makers among you! If you want a more professional look to your cake, use a metal scraper. It will change your life! (well not literally, but it's pretty great)
Use a turntable when masking your cake, it will make it a lot easier to mask! If you don't have a turntable, use a board that you can easily turn around so you can have smooth edges around the cake.
Be patient. If you are like me and get impatient when baking as you want to do everything as quick as possible. Don't! Making these types of cakes takes time. Letting the cake cool down, chilling in between masking and decorating. Trust me, it will make it so much easier and look so much better!
When making the buttercream and adding the butter, at one point, it will look split. But don't worry! Continue whisking and it will come together!
You will need 3 x 6 inch tins, cake turntable and palette knife
90g Unsalted Butter
200g Caster Sugar
120g Light Brown Sugar
3 Medium Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
240g Plain Flour
4g Bicarbonate of Soda
4g White wine vinegar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Mixed Spice
100g Salisbury Honey
3 Bramley Apples (roughly 400g)
2 tbsp. Salisbury Honey
1 tsp. Cinnamon
20g Light Brown Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
80g Double Cream
80g The London Honey Company Salisbury Honey
80g Light Brown Sugar
277g Caster Sugar
150g Egg White
330G Unsalted Butter, softened
2 tsp. Mixed Spice
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius (fan). Grease and line the tins with butter and baking paper.
In a freestanding mixer or using an electric whisk, cream the butter, both sugars, and vanilla together until pale and fluffy.
Gradually add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
Mix the flour and mixed spice together. Alternatively add the flour and buttermilk to the mixture. Continue mixing until all mixed together.
In a small bowl, combine the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar together, then add to the mixture and mix until well incorporated.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and when a knife comes out clean.
Whilst the cakes are in the oven, in a small pan heat up the water and honey together and bring to a boil. Then remove from the heat.
Brush the cakes with the honey syrup.
Now for the apple compote. Chop the apples into 2-3cm chunks. You want them not too small as you need a bit of texture. Add the apples and all the other ingredients into a medium pan and place on a medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the apples are starting to soften. You don’t want them mushy, it’s important for apples to still have a bite to them.
Pour into a bowl and leave to cool.
For the caramel, in a small pan, add the sugar, honey and cream and bring to a boil and mix until all incorporated. Leave to cool.
Now for the meringue buttercream, You will need a free standing mixer or electric whisk. Place the egg whites into the bowl of the free standing mixer with the whisk attachment.
In a small pan, add the caster sugar and water together and bring to the boil. Continue to cook to 117 degrees celsius. Then start to whisk the egg whites until stiff and foamy. Continue to cook the sugar to 121 degrees celsius and once the sugar has reached this temperature, slowly add the sugar to the egg whites continuing to mix the egg whites at a slow speed. Once the sugar has all been added, turn up the speed of the whisk to high and continue whisking the egg whites until it has cooled down and the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Once the egg mixture has cooled down until lukewarm (not cold). Slowly add the softened butter to the mix, making sure to continually whisk whilst adding the butter to make sure to emulsify the fat with the egg. Continue to whisk until it has come together and should look light and fluffy and glossy. Mix in the mixed spice.
Now for the assembly. Using a serrated knife, trim the tops off the sponge and discard. Place one of the sponges on top of a board. Using some of the remaining honey syrup, brush again the syrup over the sponges.
On top of the sponge on the board, add ½ of the apple compote and 1tbsp. Of the honey caramel.
Place the second sponge on top of this and repeat the step 16.
Bottom side up, place the final sponge on top and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up.
Make sure your buttercream is soft and spreadable, you can soften your buttercream by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time. Whisking between each time to achieve the required consistency.
Place the cake on top of your turntable and add two big spoonfuls of buttercream on top of the cake. Using your palette knife spread the buttercream around the cake making sure to cover the whole cake in buttercream. Using a scraper or palette knife, scrape any excess buttercream off the cake making the buttercream smooth around the cake.
Use the palette knife to scrape off any excess buttercream at the top spreading the cream to the middle of the cake. It’s ok if you can see bits of the cake as you want to have the ‘semi-naked’ effect.
Leave the cake in the fridge to chill slightly. Fill a piping bag with a small star nozzle, and the remaining buttercream. Pipe swirls around the top edge of the cake.
Fill the top of the cake with the honey caramel. Don’t worry if it runs over the edge, it makes it look more yummy!
Decorate with fresh apples and spices. Store in the fridge and it will last for about 5 days.