C asked me to identify my favorite item at last week’s thanksgiving fest, and after not too much thought, i decided that it had to be the apple compote cake. it was really just my apple compote cake, dressed up with an italian meringue rum icing and decorated with some acorn shaped caramels. but somehow, all the components combined together made sense.
plus, the cake slices very well. it keeps its shape and doesn’t fall flat apart like some other cakes i’ve cut.
Apple Compote Layer Cake with Italian Meringue Rum Icing
(makes a two-tier nine inch round layer cake)
|For the Cake|
|Apple Compote Cake||Two recipes, baked separately in two nine-inch round pans|
|(Note: You may want to make 1-2 cups extra apple compote to use as the middle layer of the cake)|
|For the Icing|
|Egg Whites||5 egg whites|
|Sugar||1/3 cup + 1 cup, measured separately|
|Butter||4 sticks (1 lb), cubed|
|For the Acorn Caramels|
|Sugar||½ cup sugar|
A. Bake cake, set aside and let cool.
B. Make the icing as follows:
- Pour egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You can sprinkle in a bit of cream of tarter for stability.
- Start whisking until bubble just start to form. Pour in 1/3 cup sugar. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form.
- While egg whites are whisking, pour 1 cup sugar into a sauce pan along with the water. Do not stir the pan. Dissolve the sugar into the water and let it bubble away until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (which is at 235° F–240° F).
- Watch the egg whites while you’re preparing the sugar. You want soft peaks rather than stiff ones. You may need to turn the mixer down to its lowest setting if you’ve reached soft peaks before the sugar is ready.
- When the egg whites and sugar have reached their desired states, slowly pour the sugar into the egg whites. Do this by first turning the whisk down to its lowest setting, and carefully pouring the sugar along the sides of the bowl. Do not pour onto the whisk or you may end up with minor burns.
- Turn the speed back up to high and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches room temperature. Might take about 10 minutes. Don’t worry if your mixture deflates.
- When at room temperature, change the whisk to the paddle attachment. Drop in butter bits at a time, until all is added.
- Continue to whip on high until the consistency resembles icing. Again, this could take up to 10 minutes.
- Finally, pour rum into the bowl and stir a few times to make sure it is evenly distributed.
- Let the icing chill in the refrigerator for 30-1 hour to let it harden a bit.
C. Caramel Acorns:
- Set acorn molds (i used acorn shaped cookie cutters) on a parchment sheet lined tray.
- Pour all ingredients into a small saucepan.
- Allow the sugar to dissolve and caramelize (turns a deep golden brown). Do not stir the pan or the sugar will crystallize into a sticky mess.
- Pour the caramel into the molds.
- Allow it to cool and harden.
- When ready, carefully push the acorns out of the mold. You may want to make a few extras because some might break in the un-molding process.
- Set one layer of the cake on top of a cake pan.
- Brush it with a bit of simple sugar.
- Spread one thin layer of icing on top of the first layer. Optional: I had some extra apple compote left over and decided to add it as the middle layer. To do so, pipe one strip of icing around the outer edge of the cake with a piping bag. Spread the apple compote (about 1 to 1.5 cups) in an even layer.
- Brush the second layer of cake with simple sugar and place the simple sugar brushed side on top of the iced layer.
- Spread icing on the rest of the cake.
- Decorate with a few caramel acorns and enjoy!