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Toffee Crumble Cake
July 2018
Reading time 9 minutes
This cake has four layers of light brown sugar sponges, apple compote filling, and squiggles of salted caramel. And a few clusters of crumble, you know, for texture, as they say.
  • Sponge:
  • 750g unsalted butter, softened
  • 600g golden caster sugar
  • 150g light muscovado sugar
  • 12 large eggs
  • 750g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 180ml whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Crumble:
  • 225g plain flour
  • 135g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 150g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • Cinnamon Buttercream
  • 900g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.95kg icing sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 180ml whole milk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Filling and Topping:
  • 1 quantity of Apple Compote (see page 117)
  • ½ quantity of The Salted Caramel or 350ml shop-bought salted caramel
  • apple crisps (optional)
  • You will need 4 × 25cm cake tins

Make those Cakes

  1. Cream your butter and both sugars together in a large bowl with a freestanding or hand-held mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Crack the eggs in one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  3. If the mixture begins to curdle, just pop in a couple of tablespoons of the flour to bring it back together.
  4. Turn the speed down very low and add your flour and baking powder.
  5. Finally, add the milk and vanilla and give it one more blast.
  6. Divide your mixture evenly between the cake tins and bake for 25–30 minutes, or
    until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10–15 minutes in the tins before turning out on to a wire rack.

Crumble time

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Tip your flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl and give it a good mix. Take the cubes of butter and begin to rub them into the flour. Deep rubbing – remember you want clustery crumble.
  3. Tip the crumble on to the baking tray and bake for 25–30 minutes, until deep golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  5. Now take this opportunity to relieve some stress – SMASH IT!
  6. Tip into an airtight container ready for later.


  1. Measure your butter into a large bowl and beat with your free-standing or hand-held mixer until light and pale.
  2. Sift your icing sugar and cinnamon into a separate bowl, then add it to the butter
    in three stages, beating after each addition.Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  3. Add your milk and vanilla to loosen the buttercream and give it one more mix.


  1. Use a cake leveller or sharp knife to trim the top off all the cakes so they are level.
  2. Spread a small amount of buttercream on a board that is slightly bigger than your sponges and place your first layer of sponge on top. Place that board on a turntable, if you have one.
  3. Place half the buttercream in a piping bag, snip the end and pipe a circle around the edge of the first layer of sponge, leaving a 10cm circle in the middle.
  4. Fill that circle with apple compote and sprinkle with crumble.
  5. Spoon the caramel into a piping bag and cut the tip off, then squiggle the salted caramel on top.
  6. Repeat until all the sponges are stacked. Your last sponge should be placed upside down on top.

Crumb Coat

  1. Using a palette knife, cake scraper and a turntable, coat the outside and top of the cake with a thin layer of the remaining buttercream.
  2. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to set.


  1. Remove the cake from the fridge and apply another layer of buttercream around the sides and top of the cake.
  2. Use any leftover buttercream to pipe around the top edges of your cake.
  3. Finally, place apple crisps on top with more crumble and – YES – MORE SALTED CARAMEL!

Cheeky Treats by Liam Charles, Hodder & Stoughton 2018. Photography: Haarala Hamilton

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