If you’ve had a chance to read my other cake recipe blogs you’ll know me well enough by now to know that I really love using what’s in season wherever I can – so for this Spring I’ve opted for our fantastic Bramley apples, complemented by vibrant forced rhubarb. These two sharp flavours marry perfectly in this moist, sweet and dense sponge and the soft filling reminds me of rhubarb fool. If you like more sharpness you can always add more rhubarb but for me, (and I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth believe it or not!) this just about hits the spot – a tang of apple and rhubarb with the soft sweetness of the mascarpone and vanilla filling.
225gms soft salted butter (or margarine)
225gms light soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs
225gms SR flour
2 tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla essence
400gms peeled, cored and grated Bramley apples
White sugar nibs and diced apple to finish
100gms caster sugar
1 x 250gm tub of Mascarpone
1 good tsp vanilla bean paste
1tbsp caster sugar
Pre-heat your oven to 180ºc/350ºF/GasMark4.
Rinse the rhubarb then trim and cut into 1” chunks and place in a shallow glass or china oven proof dish. Sprinkle on the 100gms of caster sugar and cover with foil (do not let the foil touch the rhubarb, the two don’t get along too well!)
The secret to ensuring that your rhubarb remains that brilliant pink and does not turn in to a green stringy slush is to roast it in this way for 30 mins until it is just soft and only just has a hint of brown – then it’s done, it will be in a gorgeous pool of bright pink syrup where the sugar has dissolved in the juices – perfect for brushing on your sponges later. Leave to cool, then drain, reserving the cooking syrup.
Line two 8” sandwich tins with baking parchment and set to one side.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla essence together in your mixing bowl and beat until nicely creamed and blended, for a couple of minutes. Add the grated apple and mix well then divide between your two lined tins. Top one of the batter mixes in the tin with the small diced apple and sugar nibs (if you can’t get white sugar nibs, a sprinkling of Demerara sugar works just as well, to give it that crunchy top – this will be the top of your cake).
Bake both cakes in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes. They should be nice and golden brown when you remove them from the oven, with an inserted skewer coming out cleanly and the sides just shrinking away from the tin. Leave in their tins on a cooling rack until completely cool.
Whilst your sponges are cooling make your filling. Tip the mascarpone into a bowl and add the caster sugar, vanilla bean paste and 2/3rd of the roasted rhubarb. Mix well with a spoon until you have a lovely pink filling.
Place the bottom sponge on to your serving plate, brush lightly with a small amount of rhubarb syrup. Spread your mascarpone filling over the entire sponge then dot the remaining pieces of roasted rhubarb over the filling and push them in to the filling.
Place the cake top on to the filling so that the diced apple and sugar topping is on the top of the cake. Dust with icing sugar.
This is a deliciously moist and dense cake, that needs nothing else served with it apart from a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee. It also makes a great dessert with it’s puddingy and moist nature from the grated apple sponges. This cake will keep refrigerated for several days (if it’s not all eaten straight away that is). Liz x