It's been a while since I entered the We Should Cocoa monthly challenge, where bloggers make and share recipes that include chocolate and another ingredient suggested the challenge host for that month. I was determined to join in again this month but when I saw the theme I wasn't convinced I was going find a recipe to fit the bill.
This time the challenge is being hosted by Chele from the Chocolate Teapot blog and her chosen theme is apples, which is not something you automatically think to pair with chocolate. Pears, yes, but apples? After a bit of searching I found a few apple recipes you could add chocolate to but what I really wanted was the reverse - a chocolate recipe you could add apples to. In the end I settled on the idea for a really good chocolate apple cake and at about the same time it also occurred to me that I had the perfect cake tin for the job. Well, "tin" isn't quite the correct word as this is one of those flexible rubber cake moulds that I bought on a whim several years ago. I have used it a grand total of zero times since I decided I just had to have it and in the intervening years it's mostly been gathering dust in my cupboard and occasionally falling out on to my head.
As you can see, though, it's the perfect shape for this recipe and I loved the way the cake looked when it was turned out.
The cake recipe is more brownie-based than a standard sponge as it contains melted chocolate and cocoa powder which gives it a good chocolatey flavour and a wonderful, slightly gooey texture in the middle. The apple complemented the chocolate perfectly and all-in-all it was very well received by my most discerning critics (ie my family). I definitely be making this one again.
Chocolate & Caramelised Apple Cake
2 bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into approx 24 slices
For the cake
1 1/4 oz/40g dark chocolate, broken up
3/4 oz/20g cocoa powder
2 eggs, separated
4oz/115g caster sugar
3oz/75g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
1) Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
2) Melt the 1oz of butter in a frying pan over a medium to high heat until it starts to bubble then add the apple slices and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden. Increase the heat and sprinkle over the sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. When the sauce begins to turn golden, stir the apples in the pan until they are coated in the caramel.
3) Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, then add the cocoa and chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.
4) Whisk the egg yolks until they are foamy then beat in the sugar. Add the chocolate mixture, slowly at first, then sift in the flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the milk and mix until smooth.
5) Whisk the egg whites in a separate, clean, dry bowl until stiff then carefully fold into the cake mix, being careful not to knock the air out.
6) Line the bottom of the cake tin with the sliced apples (you may not need all the slices) and any remaining caramel, then carefully pour the cake mix over the top and smooth the surface. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. At the end of this time the middle of the cake will still be unnervingly undercooked but try not to worry, this will set into a gooey fudginess in due course. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before carefully turning out.
Cuts into 8-10 slices.