As you may have guessed from the content of the blog, I'm a bit of a sucker for the sweet things in life. I'm also completely unable to resist a novelty when it comes to sweet foods. A while ago I spotted Confiture de Caramel in one of the supermarkets - essentially dulche de leche, or the equivalent of Nestle's Carnation Caramel but in a smart Bonne Maman jar.
I think I have a particular soft spot for Bonne Maman conserves and confitures; they remind me of childhood holidays spent in France. We used to drive down through England and arrive at the south coast to catch an early ferry across the channel and then drive to our campsite. We went Eurocamping (that is to say in large, static tents that were already erected, complete with sleeping compartments containing bedstands and matresses, and a fridge, gas hob and various cutlery and crockery). We obviously needed to buy food and I used to love the trips to the supermarket to get in supplies. We enjoyed baguettes or croissants with butter and jam for breakfast, and Bonne Maman was always the jam we bought. My mum always had apricot, my dad invariably chose something dark red; Myrtilles Sauvages was a favourite and my brother and I either ate one of those or had strawberry. Happy, happy (sticky) memories.
The confiture de caramel comes in one of the lovely smart jars, but instead of having a red or blue gingham top it has a lovely caramelly coloured top! I'm so in love! Sweet and rich and sticky, I wanted to bake with it. On a recent trip to Lakeland I saw a new range of tins they had - PushPans. The idea is that they are loose bottomed but there is a silicon seal around the base to prevent any leakage out of the tin. Sceptical is not the word. I found myself leaving the shop clutching my new purchase and wondering how best to test their no-leak claim. And then it occured to me that sticky upside down cake was the perfect test. I have made a number of upside down cakes, only for most of the sticky topping to leak out into the oven, caught in foil if I were suspicious of my tin, or onto the bottom of the oven if I wasn't really paying attention.
I was brave (or stupid...) enough to trust Lakeland's claim about the leak resistance of these tins and just put it straight into the oven. And beheld that it did indeed live up to its claim of no leaking! Very happy! The downside to the lack of leaking (if there is one) is that the caramel from the bottom of the cake seems to have forced the apples upwards into the cake (the opposite of sinking fruit!) and the caramel itself bubbled up the sides of the tin, forming baked on sticky caramel. Well, the cook has to have some treats!
Sounding good? Want to make it now? Here's how...
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
1 jar Bonne Maman Confiture de Caramel (I used 120g)
2 apples (I used Coxes)
125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
120g self raising flour
milk - a splash (1-2tbsp)
- Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C. Grease a 7"/18cm tin with loose base. I lined the base with parchment paper too.
- Spread the caramel over the base of the tin. Peel, core and slice the apples - you may not need two whole ones, I used 1 1/2. Arrange them on the caramel.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour and eggs and beat to a smooth mixture. Add a little milk to slacken the mixture.
- Spoon carefully over the caramel apple mixture.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until the cake is well risen and golden brown. There will be caramel all around the sides of the tin - yum!
- Allow to cool a little then invert onto the plate you're going to serve on. This will avoid a messy transfer later.
Serve warm with icecream, cream or custard for dessert, or leave to cool completely as I did and serve as an afternoon cake. If you go for this option remember to tell your happy eaters that they are going to get very sticky.
Great cake - the stickiness of the caramel was lovely, really sweet and moreish and then the apple provided a little juice and a slight crunch to the combination of textures. Because I had cut the apple relatively thickly, it had retained a little bite during the cooking of the cake, and had not all fallen to mush. I thought it was better this way and would definitely do the same again.
So, two new things that I'm very pleased with - Bonne Maman Confiture de Caramel and Lakeland's new Pushpans. Hmm, still some of that caramel left. I think maybe a caramel and apple crumble might appear soon...
From the enthusiasm displayed here you may be tempted to assume that I have received some sort of bribe from one of these companies in order to push their products - this is not the case - I'm a sticky, sweet loving impulse buying sort of person!