Photo credit: Nadine Saacks

 Photo credit: Nadine Saacks

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups (200g) flour

2 tsp baking powder

Caramel popcorn and dried apple slices, to decorate

Apple topping

4 green apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced (about 5mm thick)

80g unsalted butter

1/2 cup (125g) brown sugar

1/4 cup (60ml) pure cream

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Salted caramel slice

165g caster sugar

1/2 cup (125ml) cream

50g unsalted butter, melted

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line a 22cm springform cake pan.

For the apple topping, lay the sliced apple in the base of the pan in a circular patter. Melt butter in a small pan over low heat with remaining ingredients and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to dissolve sugar, then bring to the boil and simmer, watching carefully, for about 5 minutes or until the sauce turns a caramel colour. Pour over the apples in the pan and set aside.

For the cake, place the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat using electric beaters until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla, then sift the flour and baking powder over the top. Fold in to combine, then spoon the batter over the caramel apples (pushing in any apple pieces remaining after lining the base).

Bake the cake for about 50 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

Meanwhile, for the salted caramel sauce, place the sugar and 1/4 cup (60ml) water in a small pan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. 

Bring to the boil, then return heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, without stirring, until colour is a dark brown caramel. Quickly remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and butter. Add 1/2 tsp salt, return pan to the stove and simmer gently, whisking, for 2 minutes or until the sauce is a rich caramel colour and pouring consistency. Cool.

When ready to serve, carefully turn out the cake onto a serving platter. Pour over the caramel sauce, then decorate the cake with caramel popcorn and slices of dried apple. 

Serves 12. 

The story behind the recipe

This recipe is from Saranne Chait, Catering Manager from Sydney's Montefiore Home (www.montefiorehome.com.au).  A well-known cookbook writer and caterer who was a household name in South Africa's Cape Town, she says her major inspiration is her mother "an incredible cook". This recipe offers an indulgent twist on classic Rosh Hashanah ingredients. On Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, sweet foods are eaten to symbolise sweet and good things to aspire to. Saranne says that she remembers her family Rosh Hashanah celebrations as being special and dignified and the symbolic apples and honey were eaten with family and close friends gathered around the table.

 Photo credit: Nadine Saacks