Dad won’t mind donating a drop of his favourite whiskey when he gets to taste one (or two) of these scrumptious apple cakes, especially if they’re topped with crunchy hazelnut praline.
⅓ cup sultanas or raisins
3 tablespoons whiskey or rum
1½ cups sour cream ⅔ cup vegetable oil finely grated zest 1 large lemon 1 cup caster sugar 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract with star anise (I used Equagold) 3 apples, peeled and diced, I used Braeburn 2½ cups all-purpose flour 2½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
½ cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
½ cup plain flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
120 grams butter, diced
200 grams crème fraîche, optional
hazelnut praline, optional
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
50 grams roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
pinch sea salt
Lightly grease 16 holes of 2 x 12 hole standard muffin tins and line with baking paper, bringing the paper up above the sides of the tins
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Crumbs: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips to make coarse crumbs. Chill until ready to use.
Cakes: Put the sultanas and whiskey in a saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Cool.
Put the sour cream in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the oil, lemon zest, sugar, eggs and the vanilla. Add the cooled sultanas with any whiskey and the apples and stir to combine well.
Combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and the spices in a large bowl. Add the apple mixture and fold together with a large metal spoon, making sure there are no pockets of flour in the batter.
Divide between the cases, filling them right to the top of the muffin tin.
The paper will support them as they rise.
Spoon the crumbs generously over the top of each cake. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature dusted with icing sugar. To further decorate, top with a spoonful of crème fraîche and the following hazelnut praline. Makes 16
Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and cook for 5-7 minutes until a deep golden colour. Quickly stir in the hazelnuts and salt then tip onto a lightly greased baking tray and spread to an even layer. Cool completely then chop roughly. Store in an air-tight container.