Well, back to baking according to the whims of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood… that is to say, doing what the show did. I forgot to time myself, so I can’t really judge how I did here compared to the show’s competitors, but I feel pretty good about it.
This is the kickoff of “pudding week” and this is where it gets a little confusing. like biscuits, pudding means something slightly different in the UK – it’s a general term for “dessert”, but also specifically a type of dessert. So, here in this context I believe they’re using the more general meaning. But now you know!
The first type of pudding the bakers were required to make is a “self-saucing” pudding. We all know the type – lava cakes, or “magic” cakes where you pour liquid over the cake batter and it sinks through… that type of thing.
I knew at the outset what I wanted to make. I wanted to use some of the awesome apples that I had on hand, and I really wanted to make it an apple cinnamon cake with a bright red, hot cinnamon sauce. Think Red Hots.
The cake recipe itself I found fully formed – called “caramel apple self-saucing cake” – on a lovely little blog called Seasons and Suppers, and it was so exactly what I was going for that I didn’t have to do much to it.
It starts with a basic cake batter, very similar to a spice cake I’ve made. In the recipe, the apple comes solely from slices that are placed on top. So I had to pull out my old frenemy – the mandoline.
I find a mandoline slicer incredibly useful. Also incredibly dangerous. If you didn’t know, I have a… history with this object. I even have a permanent reminder of that history. Who needs tattoos when you have scars, eh?
But I knew it was the only way I would get the thin, tender slices I was aiming for.
I thought and thought about how to get the sauce red without turning the whole cake red. I thought I could just put some red hots at the bottom, but 1) I could not find them ANYWHERE, and 2) I didn’t want to risk having little hard candy surprises at the bottom of what I hoped would be an ooey gooey, melt-in-your-mouth experience.
I decided instead I would use cinnamon oil and some red food coloring. Mostly because they were easily available and cheap.
Though the recipe didn’t call for it, I decided to use some shredded apples as a vehicle for the flavor and the coloring – the more apple the better, right?
Isn’t that so pretty?
I was a little afraid of going overboard with the oil, but it turns out I could have probably used a heavier hand with both color and flavor. Next time I won’t be so shy.
So, cinnamon apples on bottom, then pour over some batter. A few artistically arranged slices on top.
Then, pour over the magic mixture – boiling water, brown sugar, a little flour, a little butter… It looks like it’s just sitting on top, but during baking the liquid will sink through the batter and thicken, making the sauce! And, hopefully, making a nice, red, cinnamon-y sauce…
Starch, fat, flavor… you know, this is the same recipe as a good gravy…. hm…
I baked them as directed, and they couldn’t have come out better, I think. Beautifully brown on top, fluffy cake, and a lovely red sauce.
Doesn’t that look amazing?
Tasted fantastic, too.
I took these to work and they all got eaten, so I assume my coworkers thought so, too. I’m going to work on perfecting my version of this recipe, perhaps adding even more cinnamon oil for a little bit of a “candy apple” taste. Once I have that, I will update and post it here!