Saturday 3 March 2012

Caramel apple upside down cake

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
2 eggs
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!


Unknown said...

Good lord this looks good! I love anything that includes apples and caramel, it's that dark toffee buttery taste that works so well. Great pics. Very tempting. X

Choclette said...

C, this will do me very well for tonight's supper = pleeaase? Looks totally scrumptious and am now going to have to scour the shelves for Bonne Maman caramel sauce. Am quit envious of your wonderful camping trips in France - we had a very soggy one down on the West coast of Cornwall and tried not to repeat the experience!

Joanna @ Zeb Bakes said...

I have been eyeing those tins up too sovery excited to hear they work so well! and as for Bonne Maman we love their abricot, it's one of the very few jams we buy sometimes, not as sweet as English. Does their caramel taste better than the Nestle one? you might have to do another taste test for us

I want your cake now.... Ooh and I got some choc soya milk to make your brownies.... Tomorrow might be cake day xx

MissCakeBaker said...

This cake looks fab. I love bonne jams to but haven't seen this one yet - am going to hunt this down and make this cake. I spent a lot of childhood hols in France and those supermarket trips were great!

Janice said...

I know what you mean about Bonne Maman the jars are great and the jam is pretty nice too. Lovely idea for a cake, yum :-)

Suelle said...

I looked at those tins, and thought that the seal felt so tight that it would be difficult to push the cake out when baked. I'm glad to hear they worked so well.

Now you'll have to look back over your old posts to see which cakes were spoiled by leaking tins, and try them again! LOL!

I almost forgot to comment on the cake - it looks excellent!

Alicia Foodycat said...

That cake looks brilliant! I made an upside-down caramel apple cake last week too, a Rowley Leigh recipe, which was very good but didn't look as luscious as this!

Celia said...

Wicked looking cake, C! And a loose bottomed pan that doesn't leak? Now that is a find! :)

Caroline said...

Dom - thanks! Caramel and apple is a great combo isn't it!

Choclette - if only I had some left to share! I'm very lucky to have been to France so often!

Joanna - my tin definitely didn't leak. I'm not sure how loose the base is, as my cake turned out without needing to push it up. I haven't done a side by side taste test of the caramels - that's just too tempting!!!

MissCakeBaker - I love French supermarkets! And bonne maman jams too :-)

Janice - thanks! And the jars are useful for storing all sorts of bits once empty too!

Suelle - yes, the base is very tight, but I didn't actually need to push it up to get this cake out, so can't really comment on how good it was at that. I do know it didn't leak though!

Foodycat - thank you!! I recall you mentioning that Rowley Leigh recipe, I'll have to look it up.

Celia - a find indeed! I just hope it keeps being as successful :-)

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Heavenly, absolutely heavenly C! And your post has just bought some wonderful memories back of our family Eurocamp/Keycamp holidays as children. I too loved exploring the supermarkets (so different! so exotic!) and infact, still do! Plus of course there was the kids club- the Tiger Club I think it was called. Brilliant fun.

Nics Notebook said...

Oh wow, anything caramely and appley sounds good to me!!

Chele said...

This post needs to come with a food porn alert!!


Dipika said...

Hello, I'm a newcomer to this blog and have to say I love the look of this cake! I was wondering - is the Confiture de Caramel pretty much the same thing as Carnation Caramel, then? I suspect I won't be able to find the former in the shops near me, sadly! Would love to try this recipe at some point soon.

Also, I've found Kaiser spring form tins to be excellent for not leaking, even when making upside down cake. So there's another brand worth considering for such things :o)

The Caked Crusader said...

Yum! This has a similar looked to a steamed golden syrup sponge i.e. mega delish!

Johanna GGG said...

sounds so good and looks so pretty - I love hearing about your french holidays - they wound exactly what I would have wished in a french country holiday but I never got there when I was in the UK (only to paris) - but I do enjoy some bonne maman jam from time to time

Caroline said...

Kate - Eurocamping was fun! I liked supermarket trips abroad even as a child! They usually meant icecream...

Nic - caramel and apples are always good!

Chele - thanks!

Dipika - I'm sure you could use Carnation Caramel, it'll be very similar. Thank you for the heads up on the Kaiser brand springform tins too.

CC - yes, I guess it's similar to a steamed sponge. Yum!

Johanna - I was definitely lucky to have foreign holidays as a child. I don't think I thought that then though!


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