Saturday, 2 November 2013

Toffee Apple Bonfire Night Cake

bonfire night cake

Today I'm combining baking with a public service announcement - please check there are no hedgehogs in your bonfire before you set it alight!

Actually, the reason I made this is because a hedgehog is a lot easier to make than a figure of Guy Fawkes!

I decided to go to my second Clandestine Cake Club and was pleased to see that this time my local Sutton group had joined forces with nearby Epsom for a bonfire night extravaganza - the theme was "gunpowder, treason and plot". Last year I made these ginger bonfire cupcakes using Cadbury flakes which I topped with popping candy. I was really pleased with them but didn't want to make the same thing again. The food I associate mainly with bonfire night - other than sausages, which wouldn't really work in a cake (or would it....?!) - is toffee apple. Which is funny as I've never actually eaten a toffee apple! I also wanted to find a way to decorate the cake so it would stand out - with 25 people expected at the Cake Club I knew I needed a showstopper! (Competitive, moi?). I thought about making a figurine of Guy Fawkes sat on a bonfire made of Matchmakers chocolate sticks, but realised I probably didn't have the time to make a person and it would be a lot easier and quicker to make a hedgehog. I also have a leaf-shaped plunger cutter which I thought I could put to good use by making autumn leaves to cover the cake. What do you think?

I based the cake partly on this one from All Recipes but added my own spin.
You need:

3 eggs
200g caster sugar
200ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla flavouring
375g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarb of soda
500g apples, peeled and chopped
100g pecans, chopped

For the toffee buttercream:
110g butter
220g brown sugar
250g icing sugar
pinch of salt
dash of milk (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the eggs and sugar then mix in the vegetable oil and vanilla.

Fold in the flour, salt and bicarb of soda.

Chop the pecans and add to the cake mix.

Peel and chop about 500g or so of apples.

Fold in the mixture, which will be quite stiff by this point.

Grease a large round cake tin and spoon in the mixture. Bake for about an hour, keeping an eye on the cake so the top doesn't start to burn.

The cake rose a lot in the middle which was perfect for the bonfire effect I wanted. Turn out of the tin and leave to cool.

Cut the cake in half - you can see the apple and pecan pieces clearly.

I decided to make toffee buttercream to go with the apple flavour in the cake. I melted the butter in a small pan and added the brown sugar, stirring until I had a fudge-like consistency.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then mix in the icing sugar. If the mixture is too stiff add a splash of milk.

When cool, spread over the bottom half of the cake.

Sandwich the cake together. This is a pretty big cake!

I have a set of three  leaf-shape plunger cutters in varying sizes. I used the middle size to make a pile of leaves out of fondant, which I had coloured green, brown and orange with gel icing colours.

I also made a hedgehog from fondant which I had coloured with two shades of brown. It was very easy to make. Make a large ball for the body and a small ball for the head, and pinch the head slightly so it is pointed. Roll sausage shapes for the arms and feet. I also rolled a circle of the paler brown colour to stick on as the face and also the stomach, and used tiny amounts of black fondant for the nose and eyes. I made him an orange scarf as well, from a sausage shape which I rolled and then pressed flat. To make the spikes, simply take a pair of scissors and make very small v-shaped snips all over the hedgehog's head and body - it looks like spikes!

To decorate the cake, I covered the top with plain buttercream as the toffee buttercream would have been too stiff. I then placed the leaves haphazardly all over the cake so it would look as if they had fallen from trees.

I sat Mr. Hedgehod in the middle of the cake, and took a box of orange Matchmakers and propped the sticks up around him to look like a bonfire. I placed some broken Matchmakers in front of him to look like logs.

Here you can see the hedgehog sitting in the bonfire, surrounded by leaves.

And here's the whole cake!

toffee apple hedgehog bonfire night cake

I am sharing this with Elizabeth of Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for her Shop Local challenge as the apples I used in the cake came from my boyfriend's mum's garden - which means the food miles of that particular ingredient were less than three!

This might be slightly tenuous but as the Matchmakers are chocolate orange flavour, I am entering this into Alphabakes, the blog challenge that I co-host with Ros of the More Than Occasional Baker, as the letter we have chosen this month is O.

I took this cake to my local Clandestine Cake Club as the theme was "gunpowder, treason and plot". I had a lovely time chatting to new faces and people I had met before and tasting all the cakes. I took a few photos which I wanted to share with you; this is Maureen's cake with 'flames' on top that are hard caramel shards she says were very easy to make:

The organiser Hayley decorated the tables with Halloween and bonfire night themed decorations. I can't remember the names of all the cakes here but there is a bonfire at the back, and a very neat fondant-covered cake with flames on the right.

This spiced toffee apple cake was made by my almost-sister-in-law Ellie and was delicious

This creation was from Gemma, organiser of the Croydon CCC, who made a toffee apple complete with giant lolly stick and wrapped it in cellophane. It was very original!


  1. That cake looks delicious!
    When you say you used gel colouring, which do you mean?
    I've always used liquid, and was disappointed to find Tesco seem to have stopped doing it. They're now only doing Dr Oetker tubes of colour which I find don't really do the job. Which do you use?

    1. I use gel colours either from Wilton or Sugarflair, that you can buy on Amazon or cake decorating websites. It's very hard to get a really dark colour if you are doing it yourself so I would always buy ready made black fondant and probably red too, but it's very handy to be able to get other colours - there are so many shades of green you can buy for instance, and I think it does work out cheaper in the long run than buying ready made fondant.

  2. I love your cake - thought it was a toy hedgehog til I read how to put it together - brilliant idea for the flavours as well as the bonfire. And I am excited that I have something to send through for alphabakes this month!

  3. I like the hedgehog,hope he tastes nice.!

  4. Wow your cake is amazing. You are one talented cake decorator, seriously. I hope the hedgehog is safe!

  5. That is a seriously awesome cake!! I love the hedgehog and the bonfire and the flavours of the cake. I'm going to try and make this next year.


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