Smoked apple cake with passionfruit curd

By Nikki & Jordan Shearer

Featured in Capital #50
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Any celebration, be it birthday, anniversary or graduation, is worth the time and effort to create a cake masterpiece.

Consider the fruits in season when selecting your cake type, and especially flavour combinations that work harmoniously together.

We wanted to celebrate the humble apple but give it a lift with the tangy tropical flavour of passionfruit and a little bit of smoke.

The smoking of the apple is easily done with a smoking gun; we use the Breville brand. Smoke the apple after it is cooked, liquor and all, using applewood wood chips or similar. The desired flavour is achieved after three minutes and, trust us, it takes this cake to a whole new level.

Maybe this is your new kitchen toy to play with over winter? Think smoked pork ribs, smoked bloody marys, smoked butter… Go get one!

Serves 8

Cake batter   

Ingredients:

Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 2cm chunks
juice of 1 lemon (stops the apples from browning)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp water
150g softened unsalted butter
1 ½ cups caster sugar
4 eggs separated
pinch salt
2 cups high grade flour, sifted
3 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 cup coconut
¼ cup liquor from the apples
3 Tbsp sour cream
¼ cup milk

Method:

Prepare a 23cm cake tin, lining the bottom with baking paper and greasing the sides of the tin with butter. A tin with a removable base is preferable.

Place apples, lemon juice, brown sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for three minutes until apples just start to soften. Remove from heat and strain, reserving liquid. Set both aside to cool. Smoke at this stage if you can.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time until well incorporated.

In a small bowl whisk the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.

In a large mixing bowl sift in the flour and baking powder. Fold in the butter/sugar mixture. Fold in the coconut, apple liquor, sour cream, milk, apple chunks and lastly the egg whites. Do not over-mix as this will take the air out of the batter and create a dense cake.

Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 160 degrees. Cool in the tin.

Passionfruit curd

Ingredients:

12 passionfruit, juice strained from the pulp/seeds (this takes time so be patient; use a teaspoon to encourage as much juice out as possible, scraping the bottom of the sieve); reserve 1 passionfruit for garnish
4 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter

Method:

Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar.

In a medium saucepan add the butter and heat until melted.

Reduce the heat to medium/low and add the egg/sugar mixture and the juice. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Do not overcook as this will scramble the eggs. It should be the consistency of a thick custard and will continue to thicken as the mixture cools. Remove from the heat and cool in the fridge, covering with plastic wrap right on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin forming.

Cream cheese frosting and cake assembly

Ingredients:

250g cream cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp softened butter
3 Tbsp passion fruit powder (we use ‘Fresh As’ brand)
Edible flowers for garnish (we used marigolds, pansies, purple salvias)

Method:

Whisk together all ingredients until creamy. Ensure that you have sifted the sugar to prevent lumps. Set aside.

When the cake is completely cold cut in half horizontally to achieve two even layers. Place bottom layer of cake onto your serving plate and spread half the cream cheese on the layer using a warm knife.

Layer enough passionfruit curd on top of the cream cheese to cover. It may run down the sides of the cake but this is ok!

Place the top layer of cake onto curd. Spread the remaining frosting on the top of the cake. Drizzle more curd on the top and then the passionfruit pulp, including seeds.

Garnish with flowers.

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