Pure apple cake with golden syrup custard

The ultimate apple cake.

  • 6 hrs cooking
  • Serves 8
  • Print
An apple cake with a difference. Sliced apples are coated in a sweet syrup then baked until soft then drowned in a gorgeous golden syrup custard.
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  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ²∕³ cup (150g) caster sugar
  • ½ cup (125ml) apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 80 grams unsalted butter, chopped
  • 10 large green apples (2kg)
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup, warmed
Golden syrup custard
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk
  • 1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
  • ¼ cup (90g) golden syrup
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ½ cup (120g) mascarpone


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 20cm (8in) springform pan; line base with baking paper. Place pan on a baking-paper-lined shallow oven tray.
  • 2
    Split vanilla bean in half; remove seeds. Place seeds and bean in a medium saucepan with cinnamon, sugar, juices and butter; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil; simmer for 5 minutes until reduced slightly. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • 3
    Working with two apples at a time, peel and core eight of the apples; using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut apples into 3mm (⅛in) slices. Add sliced apple to syrup in bowl; toss to coat in syrup (this prevents the apple from discolouring). Remove apple slices from syrup with a slotted spoon. Arrange slices in springform pan, overlapping each slice by half. Cover the centre with smaller slices to create a tight fit. Press firmly on apples twice during layering, pouring any excess liquid back into the bowl.
  • 4
    Peel remaining apples leaving stems intact. Using a mandoline, cut apples lengthways, including through core; remove seeds. Coat slices lightly in remaining syrup. Arrange overlapping slices in pan. Cover pan with baking paper, then with foil.
  • 5
    Bake apple cake for 1 hour; remove foil and baking paper. Reduce oven to 140°C/280°F; bake a further 1 hour or until apple is soft and a knife can easily be inserted into the layers, brushing occasionally with some of the remaining cooking liquid. Cool to room temperature.
  • 6
    Cover surface of apple cake with baking paper; cover pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or until cold and firm.
  • 7
    Meanwhile, make golden syrup custard. Split vanilla bean in half; remove seeds. Add seeds and bean to a medium saucepan with milk and cream; stir over medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat; stir in golden syrup. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl; gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return to pan; stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain custard into a bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool. Whisk mascarpone in a medium bowl until smooth; gradually whisk in custard.
  • 8
    To serve, run a knife around the apple cake and a hot cloth around the outside of the pan. Remove ring. Slide the base of a round tart pan under the cake; transfer it carefully onto a serving plate, removing the tart pan base as you place it on the plate. Stand cake at room temperature for 1 hour. Brush top with golden syrup; serve with golden syrup custard.


It is best to use a serrated knife to cut this cake. Made from little more than apples and a touch of spice, the long slow-cooking concentrates the apple taste. Serve as a dessert cake, perfect for guests with intolerances to wheat or gluten.The cake and custard can be made a day ahead; keep covered, in the fridge.

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