Ditch the detox and get baking…apple, walnut & custard cake…

One of my favourite Christmas presents was my ‘Short & Sweet’ recipe book by Dan Lepard (or Def Leppard as my Mum has coined him)…

His recipes in the Guardian magazine have had my mouth watering on many occasions and I’ve already attempted his clementine and oat muffins

his herb roti, which I served up with a curry made from Christmas leftovers…

and his sticky lemon and poppy seed cake

However, my first choice from the many ‘must bake’ items, which I’ve earmarked, was this amazing apple, walnut and custard cake…

There are three main stages to this cake, so not the quickest of bakes but well worth the effort!

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

First up you need to make the custard. You’ll need…

175ml milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

50g light soft brown sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

1 medium egg

Whisk all of the ingredients above, together in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to the boil, whisking continously until it’s thick. I found that the turning point came about very suddenly so don’t get complacent, just keep whisking! Once it’s reached a very thick consistency, spoon it into a lightly buttered bowl and chill until firm. 

Next up you need to prepare your apple and walnut filling. You need…

50g light soft brown sugar

3-4 dessert apples, peeled, cored and quartered

75ml brandy

75ml water

75g walnuts, chopped

Place all of the ingredients above in a frying pan and cook over a high heat until the liquid has evaporated. Then leave to cool whilst you make the cake batter. For that you’ll need…

100g light soft brown sugar

75g unsalted butter, softened 

2 eggs

50g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Beat the sugar and butter together with an electric or handheld mixer (or a lot of elbow grease) until light and smooth. Beat the eggs in one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Finally stir in the flour and baking powder with a spoon. Chop the set custard into chunks and fold into the cake batter being careful not to break it up. Now, tip it into the prepared cake tin… 

and finally, place spoonfuls of the apple and walnut mixture on top. Swirl it slightly with a teaspoon to make sure it’s bedded in well. Then pop it into the oven for about 50 minutes…

At which point it will look like this…

Serve it warm, drizzled with maple syrup and a good dollop of creme fraiche…

The apples retain a slight crunch, the walnuts are beautifully caramelised and brandyfied and if that weren’t enough, you’re rewarded with fantastic pockets of vanilla laden custard…sheer heaven on a plate! ditch the detox and get baking!

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