Sunday, 30 October 2011

Maple Toffee Apple and Chocolate Marshmallow Picnic Cakes

Two for the price of one in this blog! I love toffee apple cake and I love chocolate cake but which is best? There's only one way to find out....with apologies to one of my family's favourite UK comedians,  Harry Hill* ; that's to eat them. This weekend everyone in this house has successfully shared a cold with each other and we are eating these as 'comfort' cakes and watching Harry on TV. The cakes were designed as picnic cakes and are very easy to transport and keep well (I think) but taste just as nice at home, even with colds.

There are lots of caramel apple cake recipes available but what I really wanted was to taste a toffee topping more like a toffee apple than a caramel sauce. However, the toffee on a toffee apple can be very hard and brittle so I've settled for something chewier. I also like the extra depth that maple syrup gives to the toffee with the lovely apple and cinnamon aroma coming from the cake.

The toffee is a little more work but so worth it and is my favourite picnic cake; sweet , moist and still some sharpness from the apples.  Also makes a brilliant pudding cake, heat through to soften the toffee, serve with cream.

The Chocolate Fan Club will insist that the second cake; a rich chocolate chip cake with a sticky marshmallow filling is the best. It's such a cheat and it's so easy you can cook this up in half the time of the apple cake or at the same time and keep everyone happy. Rich organic cocoa powder and 70 % dark chocolate chips in the cake batter for a very chocolatey cake but milk chocolate works just as well. Sweetened with the melted marshmallow filling in the centre make it an 'easy to carry' picnic cake without anyone getting sticky fingers. 


 Shiny Maple Toffee Apple Cake!
Ingredients for :


4oz (110g) Butter
4oz (110g) Demerara (Raw) sugar
1 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
1 Large egg
4oz (110g) Self raising flour
1 tbsp yogurt
2oz (55g) Apples ( 1 large Bramley cut into small chunks)


2 tbsp Maple syrup
3 oz (85g) Demerara (Raw) sugar
1 oz (25g) Butter
2oz (55g) Apples ( 1 large Bramley cut into small chunks)


Preheat oven 160c/140c Fan/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Grease and line cake tin. This recipe was made in a 8 inch/ 20 cm square tin.
Cream the sugar, fat and maple syrup together. Whisk in the eggs and cinnamon powder. Fold in the flour and add the yogurt and then the apple chunks. Put into tin and place in centre of oven.

Check after 20 minutes. Cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out.
To make toffee and apple topping first weigh out ingredients and then cut apple into chunks and put to one side. Place sugar, maple syrup and butter in a wok or heavy based pan and put on a low heat until butter is melted. Increase heat until toffee mixture is boiling. For this small amount it will not take a long time for the mixture to caramelise, after a couple of minutes it will turn a darker toffee colour and take off heat. You can test the toffee by putting a little on a cold plate to test it's hardness. If you are happy with the result return the pan to the heat and add the apples for another minute stirring well. Pour over top of cake, spread apple pieces evenly with the toffee. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and ease any grease proof paper away from toffee on the sides of the cake. Mark into squares, cool in fridge completely before cutting.

Text Only Printable Recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Picnic Cake

Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Picnic Cake - Milk Chocolate Version

Cake :

6oz (170g)  Butter
6oz (170g) Golden caster sugar
1 tbsp Caramel or golden syrup
3 Large eggs
4oz (110g) Self raising flour
2oz (60g) of Dark cocoa powder
3 tbsp milk
3oz (85g)  Dark chocolate cut into small chunks, choc drop size ( Most of a Green and Blacks
 100g bar of 70% Dark chocolate minus one tasting segment :-D)

Marshmallow Filling:

Bag of Marshmallows- about 12 marshmallows for this amount


Preheat oven to a moderate temperature 160c/140c Fan/325F/Gas Mark 2.

Grease and line cake tin. This recipe was made in a 12 x 9 inch ( 30cm x 23cm ) oblong pan.

Cream the sugar and butter together, add the syrup and whisk in. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Mix  in half the flour and cocoa with the milk. Fold the rest of the flour with the chocolate chips.

Put into tin and place in centre of oven. Check after 20 minutes. Cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out.

While the cake is still warm turn cake out onto fresh piece of greased baking parchment and remove original parchment from cake. Cut in half and place marshmallows over one half leaving a gap around marshmallow because they will spread. Fold other half of cake on top of marshmallows using parchment to help you.

The marshmallows will begin to spread with the heat of the cake, don't put too close together as you will get marshmallow run out!

If  there isn't enough warmth left in the cake to melt the marshmallows return to the oven for 5 minutes. Cool cake and place in fridge. When cold and marshmallow has reset, cut into squares. You didn't even have to make icing for this.

This cake also works well with a lighter cocoa powder and milk  chocolate chips. A pound cake is used as a denser cake holds together better, especially when rearranging the warm pieces and then finally cutting into squares. Easy to make for any occasion.

Finally, Harry Hill is also fond of TV Cooks as well as food fights and Nigella is no exception. I'm not sure if the US view her in quite the same way as the UK but here is one of Harry's takes on her show to finish this month's blog. I think she's great too.


  1. Pauline, I couldn't think of anything better than a couple of delicious looking cakes to bring a bit of comfort and cheer to a cold. The shiny maple toffee looks divine and I love the simplicity of the marshmallow filling with the chocolate. These would surely coax me back to restored health in a jiff...may they do the same for you and yours. Brava!

  2. Thank you Brooks for your kind words. We look pretty ghastly at the moment so at least we won't have to dress up for Halloween >< ...Hope you enjoy your celebrations too !

  3. Both look lovely but anything with apple is always going to be the winner for me.
    Love Harry Hill - he's been particularly funny/cruel(?) about Home Cooking Made Easy and the 'anecdotes'!

  4. Wow, Pauline. Sure is a double whammy. These both look absolutely scrumptious! Great picnic cakes: my girls will adore the chocolate-marshmallow while I am going for the sticky apple maple cake. Incredible! Can't think of a better way to fight off the cold with these and TV - oh I do miss UK telly!

  5. Thanks peops, not too much to shout about on UK telly which is why we probably stick to blogging. Thanks for the positive comments :- D

  6. These both look like something our family would really enjoy! I, however, am partial to the maple one. I hope you are feeling better. Thanks for sharing.

  7. These recipes are a must!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. this looks wonderful lovely flavour on the cakes

  9. Both desserts look delicious! I liked the caramel apple cake though more because I trully like apples and caramel...