Remember that apple inspiration post? This recipe is the apple blackout cake from the blog Desserts for Breakfast that I wanted to try. I have made some substitutions (the original recipe is vegan and calls for whole wheat flour) based on what I usually have in my pantry.
The end result is very moist cake topped with a beautiful array of apples cut through with a pinch of salt. If you are not a big fan of salted carmel, I would forego the sea salt or use a smaller amount of table salt for better distribution. With the sea salt, you get the odd bite that, mixed with the chocolate, reminds me of olives. Not cocktail olives, think instead of a black olive chocolate cake like this. If that flavour profile isn’t for you, just skip on the salt and you will have a lovely chocolate cake topped with carmel apples.
On a more personal note, this is the first time I have successfully made carmel! Adding a touch of water to the sugar before heating it helps to evenly distribute the heat and give you a bit more leeway before the sugar burns. So if this recipe scares you because of the addition of carmel, don’t worry about it. Just keep an eye on the sugar while it cooks to avoid ending up with a black, burnt mess that is almost impossible to clean up.
For the carmel:
- 2 large tart apples
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp butter
- sea salt
For the cake:
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup coco powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
NOTE: I halved the recipe and baked it in a loaf tin.
- Grease the cake (or loaf tin) generously with butter and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper too. This may seam unnecessary, but you don’t want the carmel sticking.
- Preheat your over to 350F (180C).
- Peel and cut the apples into 1/4″ slices.
- In a light coloured saucepan, measure out the sugar and water for the carmel.
- Heat over high without stirring until the carmel is a light brown colour. If you stir it, the sugar will come out of solution and you will have grainy carmel.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the butter. Be careful, the mixture will sputter.
- Swirl the pan around until the butter is fully melted.
- Pour the carmel into your greased tin.
- Sprinkle the carmel with a good pinch of course sea salt.
- Arrange the apples in the carmel pushing them firmly into place.
- In a mixing bowl, pour in the milk and vinegar. You want the milk to curdle slightly so give it a quick stir.
- As the milk curdles, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and coco powder.
- Once the milk has curdled, add the remaining sugar, vanilla and oil.
- Whisk until the liquid froths.
- Add the dry ingredients and whisk together until the mixture is just smooth. Try not to over mix because the batter will split.
- Pour the batter over the apples.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake bounces back when gently touched. If you use a toothpick, at this stage it will come out slightly wet. NOTE: If you are making a half batch in a loaf tin, bake for around 25 minutes until the cake springs back when you touch it.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
- Turn out upside down onto a plate with a lip and leave to cool completely. This stage allows the carmel to be absorbed by the cake and exposes your pretty apple pattern.
- Serve after the cake has been left to sit for at least 2 hours. If you would prefer it to be a warm dessert, serve it will some hot custard or cream.