Five-Hour Apple Cake with Orange Zest

posted: 06/30/10


  • 1 cup/200 g plus 10 teaspoons/40 g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup/55 ml water
  • 10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced on a mandoline into 1/8-inch-/3-mm-thick slices
  • 2 oranges (both zest and segments)
  • Whipped cream


To make the caramel sauce:

  1. Place a heavy based medium sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1 cup/200 g of sugar and 1/4 cup/55 ml of water. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer, then wipe down the sides of the pan with a moistened pastry brush to remove any sugar that clings to the sides of the pan.
  2. Cook the sugar syrup without stirring for about 8 minutes or until it is light brown, occasionally swirling the pan to ensure the sugar syrup browns evenly and wiping down the sides of the pan to remove any sugar crystals.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the caramel into a large ceramic ovenproof souffl?-style dish with a 2-quart/2-liter capacity. Using pot holders, pick up the ceramic dish and swirl the caramel around the sides of the dish to coat.
  4. Set the dish aside for about 10 minutes or until the caramel is cool. Place the dish in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until the caramel hardens.
  5. Preheat the oven to 250?F/120?C. Arrange a neat layer of apples over the caramel on the bottom of the dish, overlapping and forming concentric circles. Each layer will consist of the slices from 1 apple.
  6. Sprinkle the layer of apples with 1 teaspoon/4 g of sugar and grate a little orange zest over the apples. Repeat the layering process with the remaining apples, sugar and oranges until all the apples have been used, alternating the direction of the concentric circles to increase the stability of the cake. You should have about 10 layers of apples. The apples will extend slightly above the rim of the dish but they will sink back down into the dish as the cake bakes and the apples soften.
  7. Cover the apple cake with aluminum foil. Place the dish in a roasting pan. Add enough warm water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the dish.
  8. Bake the apple cake for about 5 hours or until a skewer can be inserted easily through the middle of the cake. Remove the apple cake from the oven and allow it to cool, then place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until the cake is cold.
  9. Using a sharp knife, remove the white pith from the reserved oranges. Cut the oranges between the membranes to release the orange segments. Set the orange segments aside.
  10. Place the dish of apple cake in a bowl of very hot water for about 5 minutes to loosen the caramel from the bottom of the dish. Place a platter atop the apple cake in the dish.
  11. Holding the dish with one hand and the platter with the other hand, invert the apple cake onto the platter. Remove the dish. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream and the reserved orange segments.
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