A crumble is one of my favorite desserts, no matter what fruit you use, but this elevated apple crumble cake takes that classic and transforms it to a true showstopper and real centerpiece for special occasions.
For the cake:1.
Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease and line two 8-inch-deep pans with baking parchment.2.
Put the apple cubes into a pan with a splash of water and the 3 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes or so, until they have broken down. Add a little more water as they cook if they look a bit dry. Set aside to cool completely.3.
In a bowl, whisk the softened butter and remaining sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time until you have a rich, smooth mixture. Fold in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, then fold in the cooked apple. If the mixture is a little thick, you can add a splash of milk or a dollop of yogurt.4.
Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the crumble:1.
Increase the oven temperature to 350 F.2.
Rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips until it forms pea-sized lumps, then stir in the sugar and nuts.3.
Spread over a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool.
For the filling and icing:
Put the apples into a pan with the sugar and 1½ ounces of the butter. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the sugar has melted and the apples are glossy. Increase the heat and bubble for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are caramelized and sticky. Allow to cool.
Whisk the rest of the butter with the dulce de leche or caramel and the powdered sugar, until smooth and pillowy. If it seizes, add a splash of hot water and whisk until it comes back to a gorgeous, smooth consistency.
When you are ready to assemble, put one cake on a serving plate. Spread over half the icing and add a scattering of the caramelized apples and half the crumble, then top with the second cake.
Spread the other half of the icing over the top and scatter with the rest of the caramel apples and crumble.