I have named this a Garden harvest cake, as it is full of seasonal ingredients that are available to forage for in the hedgerows or your gardens right now!.
Apple, blackberries and elderberries with a toasted fig leaf caramel flavoured mascarpone frosting. Adorned with caramelised apple slices, elderberries, and of course a bit or dried foliage for extra wow factor.
Fig leaf caramel is my new favourite thing as it has a beautifully nutty flavour that reminds me of toasted coconut, the smell it lets off as you gently toast the leaves fills the air with the most beautiful scent.
I picked the fig leaves from my mums garden, they are a wonderful thing to cook with as they have so much flavour to infuse.
The small leaves on a plant that is full of fruit will give the most flavour, so they are perfect at this time of year.
The caramelised apple slices are a quick and easy decoration to make and taste like candies. The sugar hardens so each slice goes crisp making them a delicious snack on their own too.
Garden harvest cake
I am not lucky enough to have an apple tree in my garden, but i went to an orchard close by to pick these beauties. I used a large sweet eating apple for this cake. My brother has an apple tree so i aim to pick loads more before the end of the season.
Apple blackberry and elderberry cake with toasted fig leaf caramel
The combination of all these seasonal flavours work together beautifully and really captures the flavours i associate with the transition from summer into autumn.
I have made this cake twice this month. The first time i used two smaller tins and only added frosting in between the two layers.
If you can not find any elderberries then use more blackberries or even some finely chopped fresh fig.
I used smoked salt in the cake and caramel to add a autumnal camp fire flavour.
Garden harvest cake
- stand mixer
- 3 cake tins
- pallet knife
- large sided non stick sauce pan
For the cake
- 220 grams softened unsalted butter
- 120 grams caster sugar
- 100 grams soft brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 220 grams self raising flour
- 1 large apple, peeled and cored and chopped into small chunks
- 200 grams blackberries
- 3 heads elderberries (berries from 3 large elderberry bunches) approx half a cup
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt ( i used smoked salt)
- 3 tbsp milk or yogurt to loosen cake mixture
fig leaf caramel
- 1 litre milk separated into 2 500 ml portions
- 7 small fig leaves
- 380 grams caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp smoked salt
- 600 grams mascarpone cream cheese
- fig leaf caramel (above)
caramelised apple slices
- 1 apple
- caster sugar
To make cake
- preheat the oven to 160c, grease and line three shallow cake tins, or use 2 smaller ones
- Fit a stand mixer with a balloon whisk or use a hand held electric whisk and beat the butter for a minute so it is soft then add the sugar and cream until it is pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 2 minutes and scraping the bowl with a spatula before adding the next egg. Once all eggs are added turn up speed and mix for a few seconds.
- Turn off mixer, mix the flour, salt and cinnamon together and sift in and gently fold in using the spatula, then add a tbsp of flour to the chopped apples, blackberries and elderberries to coat and fold in to the cake batter.
- Add milk, or yogurt to loosen the mixture and fold in, then divide evenly between the prepared tins and place in the oven and bake for 25, 30 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
- let the cakes cool in the tins for 20 mins, then peel off baking paper and leave to cool fully on a cooling rack.
For caramel (make the day before)
- Cut stems off the fig leaves.Turn on the grill and position the oven shelf under it, place the fig leaves on a tray and gently toast for a minute, then turn and toast for another minute, until the edges curl up and they start to get a little colour.
- Pour, 500 ml of milk in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer and add the leaves and turn off the heat, stir the milk and bash the leaves, then pour into a bowl with the leaves and place plastic wrap onto the surface of the milk so a skin doesn't form and leave to cool.Once cool place in the fridge over night to infuse
- The next day strain the milk into a large high sided pan and squeeze the leaves and discard.
- Add the sugar and turn on heat and whisk to combine over the heat, stir continuously until the milk turns a golden brown caramel colour and thickens approx 25 minutes. Being careful that the milk doesn't burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
- In another pan heat the other 500ml of milk and vanilla and heat until it just reaches the boil, carefully (it will bubble up) pour into the large pan and whisk to combine it then continue stirring over the heat until you get a nice thick golden caramel.
- Add salt and pour into jars or a bowl to cool
- preheat oven to 180c 350f
- Thinly slice and apple with a mandolin slicer and press the slices into some sugar both sides and place on a lined baking tray
- Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip the apples and bake for another 10/15 minutes, gently peel off the paper (try not to burn your fingers) and let cool on a cooling rack. (they should be hard and caramelised)
- Whisk the mascarpone until soft and add enough caramel to sweeten it to your taste, i used about a half a cup. Place one of the cake layers on cake board and add some of the frosting and spread to cover then add the next layer, then continue with the next layer. I have made this with two layers and kept the edges unfrosted and made it with three layers and smoothed frosting around edges, what ever you want to do.For the frosted version I added more caramel and smoothed it around with a pallet knife to finish.