Serves 6 – 8
FOR THE APPLE COMPOTE:
1kg tart apples (Bramleys or Granny Smiths)
1 vanilla pod/bean, seeds scraped out, or vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of sugar
FOR THE CAKE LAYER:
125g of plain/all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
75g softened butter
100g caster/superfine sugar
FOR THE HAZELNUT-OAT CRUNCH:
40g golden caster/superfine sugar
25g rolled/old-fashioned oats
50g panko breadcrumbs
50g chopped hazelnuts
FOR THE TRIFLE:
150ml good-quality cold custard
200ml whipped cream (forming soft peaks)
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
To make the compote, peel, core and chop the apples. Place in a pan with the vanilla, sugar and 100 ml water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the apples are mushy, then leave to cool. Remove the vanilla pod/bean, if using. The compote needs to be quite tart to balance the cake and cream. This makes enough for the cake base and trifle.
To make the cake layer, you will need a 20 x 20cm cake tin, or the equivalent (it needs to be a relatively thin layer).
Combine the flour, bicarbonate baking soda, salt, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl, and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and keep beating until incorporated.
Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by 150g of the apple compote.
Once combined, pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes until just baked through. Insert a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, it’s done. This is a thin layer, so it won’t take long. Leave to cool.
To make the hazelnut-oat crunch, melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet, then add the sugar and stir until melted. Add the oats and breadcrumbs and fry for several minutes, allowing them to crisp up. Add the nuts and fry for a few more minutes – but be careful not to over-toast, as they can go bitter. Once everything is crispy, turn out into a bowl and leave to cool, stirring once in a while to break up any lumps.
To assemble the trifle, put a layer of the remaining apple compote in a glass trifle bowl as the base, then add a layer of the cake. Add more compote, followed by a good layer of the crunch, then apple again. Add a layer of custard, followed by crunch, then apple, then cake. Repeat again, reserving a bit of the crunch to decorate. Finally, spread the whipped cream on top.
Leave to set in the fridge for at least an hour. Just before serving, add the rest of the crunch on the top to decorate.