Spiced apple cake with thick vanilla custard

Spiced apple cake with thick vanilla custard

Lamingtons & lemon tart
Patricia Niven

My wife, Cath, gave me this recipe, which I am grateful for. She comes from the Victorian country town of Bacchus Marsh. The town is renowned for its fertile soil that yields plenty of quality fruit and veggies – in particular, apples. Her mum, Trish, made this for Cath when she was growing up and it reminds me of the apple desserts that my mum made for me too. Certainly some of the best food stems from our childhood memories. Everybody who tries this cake loves it! Cath has reworked the recipe a little, so thanks to Trish and Cath for sharing this with me, and now you guys.


Quantity Ingredient

Spiced push-in pastry

Quantity Ingredient
120g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
pinch salt
1 egg
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon mixed allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Apple filling

Quantity Ingredient
12 pink lady apples
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 lemon, finely grated zest
1 lemon, juiced
150g caster sugar

Thick vanilla custard

Quantity Ingredient
275ml thickened cream
275ml full-cream milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
95g caster sugar
20g cornflour
3 egg yolks


Quantity Ingredient
1 egg yolk
splash full-cream milk
golden caster sugar, for sprinkling


  1. For the pastry, cream the butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed in a freestanding electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg and mix well before incorporating the sifted flour and spices.
  2. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and leave to rest for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator, or until required.
  3. To make the filling, peel the apples, cut them into quarters and remove the core. Cut each quarter into four pieces.
  4. Place the apples, vanilla seeds and pod, lemon zest and juice and sugar in a large microwave-safe dish with a lid that allows the steam to escape.
  5. Cook on High in the microwave for 20–25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  6. The apples are ready when they are soft but whole. Discard the vanilla pods. Leave the apples to cool completely before assembling the cake.
  7. For the custard, combine the cream, milk and vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the vanilla pod.
  8. Whisk the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks together well until the mixture is pale and thick.
  9. Pour one-third of the hot milk mixture into the egg and sugar mixture and whisk well to combine.
  10. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/ cream and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  11. Place the pan back over medium–low heat and whisk constantly while cooking the custard until it starts to boil and bubbles start to break the surface. Cook at this temperature for a further 20 seconds, stirring constantly.
  12. Serve immediately or transfer the custard to the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the custard on a low to medium speed until it cools to room temperature. Store the custard in the refrigerator until needed.
  13. To assemble, preheat the oven to 165°C. Lightly grease a 22.5 cm round and 5–6 cm deep non-stick springform cake tin.
  14. Take about two-thirds of the pastry and knead it on a lightly dusted work surface. Roll the pastry to 5 mm thick and line the tin. The pastry is very fragile but easy to fix. You can roll it onto baking paper and chill it before pressing it into the tin with your fingers. Don’t worry if there are holes or you think you are making a mess; just use your fingers to push in the pastry.
  15. Line the pastry up the side of the tin and then add the cooled apple filling. Pack the apple in nice and tight.
  16. Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness as the base and use it to create the pie lid. Press the edges together with your fingers to seal. Cut out apple shapes from any remaining pastry to decorate the top of the pie.
  17. Lightly beat the egg yolk and milk and lightly brush this mixture onto the surface of the cake. Sprinkle with some golden caster sugar. Bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
  18. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing. Serve immediately with the thick vanilla custard or some thickened cream.
darren purchese
burch and purchese
sweet studio
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