Toffee Apple Squares

19 Sept 2017

Because I wasn't bombarded with 'IT'S NOT AUTUMN' messages after I published my spiced pear crumble recipe a couple of weeks back, I thought that it was pretty safe for me to do another autumn-inspired baking post. I don't know about you, but I really associate autumn and Halloween-time with toffee apples. I remember eating at least one during this time of the year as a kid and enjoying every bite, but as an adult, I kind of value my dental hygiene a bit more. But my love for them as a child has inspired this bake, and don't worry, you won't crack your teeth biting into these squares of yumminess!

If you've been reading The Northernist for a long time, you'll know that I make a lot of cupcakes, but for this bake, I wanted to do something different. I'll be honest, my initial thought was to make cupcakes, but I think that these guys look best as squares. All I did to each this was make the cake as a tray bake, then slice it up into even squares, and sandwich one square on top of the other. I think they're a bit more grown-up-looking than cupcakes and could be something that would be served up on an autumnal afternoon tea.
So what exactly makes this bake toffee apple themed? Well, the better question would be what doesn't make it toffee apple themed! In the cake batter, I used dark brown soft sugar to get that deeper colour and slightly toffee-like aftertaste that you don't get with white caster or granulated. I also packed the batter with chunks of chopped apple and fudge pieces, so you get a sticky, apple flavour in every bite. The buttercream I used was my favourite toffee buttercream that I've featured in my banoffee cupcakes post and my gingerbread cupcakes post. Seriously, if you're looking for a toffee buttercream recipe, you will absolutely love this one. Instead of making enough toffee to go into the buttercream though, I made a little bit extra to drizzle over, then topped each square off with some dried pieces of apple. The overall effect is brilliant and the flavours of the apple and the toffee come together so perfectly! They're an absolute must this season!

You will need:
230g self-raising flour
100g soft dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons sunflower oil
7 tablespoons milk
2 free range eggs
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
50g fudge pieces
250g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar
300-400g icing sugar
Dried apple pieces

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of a traybake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon together until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, beat together the oil, 5 tablespoons of milk and eggs. Pour this on to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in your apple cubes and fudge chunks until they are incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour your cake batter into your prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Whilst you cake is cooling, you can make the buttercream. In a pan, melt 100g of the butter with the remaining 100g of light brown sugar over a low heat. Stir constantly so that the sugar doesn't burn! Once the sugar has completely dissolved, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk and stir well to form a thick toffee sauce. Leave to one side to cool completely.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat the remaining 200g of butter until smooth, then start to sift in the icing sugar, beating regularly. The amount of icing sugar you use is completely up to you, but if you add in too much, you can always use a splash of milk to thin it out. Add in just over half of the cooled toffee sauce and beat thoroughly until it is fully incorporated.
  7. Once your cake has cooled, cut off the crusty edge (and save it for a snack), then cut the rest into even squares. I do this by cutting a 3-4cm thick strip along the short side, then stacking this strip on top of the cake, and cutting the next strip to fit. I then cut squares out of the strips while they're still stacked, that way I get even treats. I do this for however much cake is left!
  8. When you've got your squares, pipe or spread your buttercream on top of one, then sandwich another on top. Do this for all of your squares, then pipe or spread a bit more on top. Drizzle your remaining toffee sauce over the top. If you find that it's become a bit stiff to work with, set the pan over a very gentle heat to loosen it, then allow it cool slightly before drizzling. Top each of the squares off with some dried apple pieces or another decoration of your choice.

Mmmm.. even just typing this post out and looking at these photos has made me wish I had one of these in my hand. Granted, they aren't everyone's cup of tea because of how sweet they are, but you've also got the spice from the cinnamon and a slightly tart taste from the apples. They're simple to make, taste great and also look fab, so you should give these squares a go this autumn!

Whould you like to comment?

  1. I always look forward to your baking posts! You have done a beautiful job with this cake, it looks very sophisticated. I associate Halloween/autumn with toffee apples too, I loved them as a child, like you. I was thinking of making a toffee apple inspired dessert, with apples, toffee etc. Great minds think alike, great post! :-) Xx

    Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

    1. Oh gosh, Helen, that's so sweet of you! They're one of my favourite posts to write (partially because I get to eat some yummy food), so that really means a lot. Ooooh you should definitely make a toffee apple pud, that'd be scrumptious! Maybe even a crumble...

  2. Nom nom nom looks delicious perfect for autumn. What size tray did u use please? And how many does it make? X

    1. Hi Natalie! I only made 6 from this recipe as I cut them fairly big and trimmed off the crusty edges, but it can easily be doubled and made in two tins! I used a 32 x 23 x 2.5cm tin (here's a similar one: Hope that helps! x