Irish Apple Cake with Salted Caramel

Serves: 4 Prep Time: 45 Minutes, Cooking Time: 35-40MINS


  • 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 Cox or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into smallish cubes
  • 225g caster sugar, plus 3 tbsp
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • For the crumble top:
  • 35g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 heaped tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 30g chopped hazelnuts
  • For the filling/icing:
  • 2 Cox apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g dulce de leche/caramel
  • 150g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 3 and grease and line two 20cm deep sandwich tins with baking parchment.
Put the apple cubes into a pan with a splash of water and the 3 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes or so until they have broken down. Add a little more water as they cook if they look a bit dry. Set aside to cool completely.
In a bowl, whisk the softened butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time until you have a rich, smooth mixture. Fold in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, then fold in the cooked apple. If the mixture is a little thick you can add a splash of milk or a dollop of yoghurt.
Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
Make the crumble. Rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips until it forms pea-sized lumps, then stir in the sugar and nuts. Spread over a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool.
Make the filling/icing. Put the apples into a pan with the caster sugar and 40g of the butter. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the sugar has melted and the apples are glossy. Increase the heat and bubble for 3-4 minutes until they are caramelised and sticky. Allow to cool.
Whisk the rest of the butter with the duke de leche/caramel and the icing sugar until smooth and pillowy. If it seizes, add a splash of hot water and whisk until it comes back to a gorgeous, smooth consistency.
When you are ready to assemble, put one cake on a serving plate. Spread over half the icing and add a scattering of the caramelised apples and half the crumble, then top with the second cake. Spread the other half of the icing over the top and scatter with the rest of the caramel apples and crumble.