Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream


 
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake

It’s always around this time of year that it feels like winter is never, ever going to end. February really tends to drag it’s butt round here - today we had snow, then freezing rain (never seen that wee symbol on my weather app until I moved here, and it’s not a fun one), so it’s kind of hard to motivate myself to do anything other than stay inside with the cat and eat soup. Which is exactly what we have been doing. Whoopsies.

I’ve been meaning to make this cake for a while now. Passionfruit is my ultimate fave fruit of all time, but almost impossible to find in NYC. It grows like crazy in New Zealand, and so I guess I just assumed it would be easy to get here, but unfortunately this is not the case. However, my local supermarket has just started stocking it in pouches (most exciting day ever when I realised), so I’m super super excited to start sharing more passionfruit recipes! I am dying to add the curd as a ripple in an ice cream, or as the base for a passionfruit cream filling in a cream puff.

If you haven’t made passionfruit curd before, it’s almost exactly the same process as making lemon curd. I removed the seeds to make the curd, then added back in a few tablespoons of them, which is nice to give a little crunch without being too overwhelming. The thing I love about passionfruit curd is that the fruit is tart enough to stand up to the egg yolks, so you don’t run the risk of the eggy taste you can get with other fruit curds, but still get the delicious flavour and velvety texture from the yolks.

The rest of the decisions from there in terms of flavour pairing were super simple - I made a basic vanilla bean cake, and paired it with a silky vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream. Both of these serve as the perfect base to make the curd filling really shine.

I finished the cake with an ombre finish, which is one of my favourite ways to ice a cake. You essentially plop the buttercream on, creating a gradient, then smooth it all with a bench scraper to create a beautiful ombre effect. If you haven’t tried it before it’s definitely worth giving a go - it’s super easy, but really really effective.

This cake would make the most amazing birthday cake, or anytime cake! Happy February! I hope it’s less dreary than mine.

A few wee tips:

  • This cake was made with the reverse creaming method - instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, you slowly incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. This means that the flour particles get coated in the butter, inhibiting the formation of gluten, and giving you a tender crumb. With that being said, I did go for a slightly denser textured cake, in order to have something which stands up to the filling and buttercream.

  • For the passionfruit filling, I used pulp I found in a pouch at my local supermarket. The recipe for the curd does make quite a lot because I think it’s an amazing thing to have on hand. You can either use frozen passionfruit pulp for this recipe (don’t worry if it doesn’t have seeds in it), fresh, or packaged pulp. If you don’t like seeds in your curd, they can be left out.

  • I use Fat Daddio’s Cake pans - they aren’t too expensive, and give me a clean cake every time!

  • I like to divide the batter between the pans by weight. To do this, you zero the scales with one of the empty cake pans on it, then once you have eyeballed your dividing of the batter, you can weigh each pan to ensure that they have the same weight of batter in them. Note that this only works if your cake pans are identical.

  • If I can, I like to make the cake ahead of time, then wrap and store in the fridge until I am ready to assemble. Level it off just before you assemble.

  • I decorated this with an ombre style buttercream, then put the remainder of the buttercream (both the white and yellow) into a piping bag fitted with a wilton 1M tip, and piped on the little blobs at the top. Fill and crumb coat the cake, and then divide the rest of the buttercream 2/3 to 1/3 and colour the 1/3 portion yellow.

 

 

Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes One 8”, 3 layer cake -

Vanilla Cake
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
330g whole milk
120g full fat greek yoghurt
600g all-purpose flour
450g sugar
3 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
345g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Passionfruit Curd Filling
450g passionfruit pulp
275g sugar
250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes (can be straight from the fridge)
10 egg yolks (around 200g worth)
1/2 tsp salt

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
250g egg whites
400g sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
900g (8 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

 

- PROCESS -

CAKE LAYERS

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease three 8” cake pans, and line with parchment paper on the bottom.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, milk, and yoghurt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix briefly to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the butter a cube at a time, until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like sand.

Add half of the wet ingredients into the mixer. Mix until just combined, then add the second half of the wet ingredients. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give a few folds with a rubber spatula to ensure that no dry ingredients remain.

Divide the batter between your three cake tins (I prefer to do this by weight - see notes). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in their pans, then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

 

PASSIONFRUIT CURD FILLING

Place the Passionfruit pulp in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to separate the seeds from the pulp. Strain through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Reserve the seeds.

Add the remainder of the ingredients to the saucepan, and place over medium heat. Whisk well to combine. Place over medium low heat, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the curd has thickened significantly - enough that it coats the back of a spoon well, and when you run a finger through, it leaves a very clear track.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight container, and stir in 1-2 Tbsp of the reserved passionfruit seeds. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until completely cool, ideally overnight.

VANILLA BEAN SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air.

ASSEMBLY

Level off the cake layers. Transfer some of the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip - this will be used to make a buttercream dam to hold in the passionfruit filling between layers.

Secure one of the layers of cake to a cake turntable using a little buttercream. Add about a cup of buttercream onto the first layer of cake, and smooth using an offset spatula. Create a buttercream dam using the buttercream in the piping bag by piping a ring of frosting around the outside edge of the first layer. Fill in the ring with approximately 1/2 cup of the passionfruit filling. Place the second layer of cake onto the first, pressing very lightly to secure, and sealing the joins with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat the layering process - add a cup of buttercream, make a dam, fill with 1/2 cup hazelnut filling, then top with the third layer of cake - I like to put this one upside down to ensure that the top of the cake is flat. Return the rest of the buttercream in the piping bag to the bowl with the buttercream.

Crumb coat the cake - to do this, apply a thin layer of buttercream over the surface of the cake, and smooth with a bench scraper or icing smoother. Refrigerate the cake for 30-45 minutes, until the crumb coat has set.

Divide the Remaining buttercream 2/3 to 1/3. Colour the 1/3 portion with gel food colouring to your desired shade.

Create an ombre effect by spreading the bottom 1/3 of the cake with yellow buttercream using an offset spatula, and the top 2/3 with white. Blend the middle section by spreading blobs of white and yellow. Spread buttercream on the top of the cake using an offset spatula.

Smooth the buttercream on the outside of the cake using a bench scraper, scraping down between passes. Fill in any gaps, and add additional colour where needed to give you a nice transition of colour. Continue until you are happy with the finish.

Transfer the remainder of the buttercream (both yellow and white) into a piping bag fitted fitted with a Wilton 1M tip or similar. Pipe blobs onto the top of the cake - using the 1m tip you only need to pipe blobs rather than making a swirl - the tip makes the ruffles for you.

Chill the cake until ready to serve. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge

Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake

Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream


 
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake
Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake

Damn, it's been a week. We have been crazy busy working on some new things for the studio - this week we shot our new chair AND launched it all in the same week. Oye. The shoot on Tuesday was so, so much fun - we had a professional photographer in, but I decided it would be fun to see what I could shoot as well, and was surprisingly impressed with what I ended up with! I was super nervous going into it because it wasn't food and there was a model involved, but we made a super detailed mood board, and it was so nice to have something to go off - I think I need to do that more! You can see it all here - have a peep at the chair too. I'm obsessed with it, and can't wait to have a house where we can actually fit one! Lol. 

I made this a few weeks ago and haven't gotten around to sharing it - it is the chocolate cake from my friend Melissa's new Book, The Minimalist Kitchen. The book, like Melissa's blog, is amazingly beautiful, and between recipes, is also filled with tips on how to have a minimalist kitchen. There are all sorts of little tips and tricks in there - I need to take notes, because I am a chronic purchaser of one-use pans and weird sized packets of specialty ingredients, which do not mix well with small shoebox kitchens. 

This cake is super simple but also amazingly delicious - a single layer of cake, loaded up with a dreamy chocolate buttercream. As someone who over commits to making cakes on the regular, usually going with multi-layered, multi-component towers, making something which didn't involve stacking or crumb coating was super fun, and just as yum as a multi layer extravaganza! Melissa makes hers into a round cake, but I chose to make a square, because i've been cracking up over the name "snack cake" ever since I realised it was an actual thing and not a joke name Americans use, so I was desperate to make my own, just so I could call it a snack cake! 

The cake comes together super quickly, and has a very tender crumb. It is then loaded up with a fluffy chocolate buttercream, which reminds me so much of the cakes we used to have for our birthdays as kids, and is one of Richard's fave things ever. The cake got destroyed in about 10 minutes flat when I took it to the studio, and has firmly cemented it's place in my list of back pocket recipes. It would be perfect to make for a bbq, or a small birthday - you can decorate it however you like, and it will always be a crowd pleaser. 

Congrats Melissa, the book is beautiful! 

A few wee tips:

  • Melissa recommends making this in an 8 inch round tin, but I only wanted to frost the top, so I popped it in an 8 inch square and added all the frosting on the top rather than smoothing it down.

  • This would make a perfect layer cake - just double the recipe and bake in two 8 inch tins

  • Melissa adds pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and shredded coconut on the edges, but I couldn't help but add sprinkles.

  • If you're used to making big cakes like I am this will seem like not very much mixture - at least it did to me. Don't worry - it makes the perfect amount!

  • A quick note: I have made this into a layer cake and it worked perfectly! I doubled the cake recipe, and baked it in 3 x 6" tins. You can either double or triple the buttercream recipe if you're making a layer cake.

 

 

Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream 

- Makes one 8 inch cake -

Cake Batter
Neutral Oil Cooking Spray
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (105g), plus more for the pan
1/4 cup (35g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp aluminium free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (60g) whole milk
1/4 cup (60g) heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp (90g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Chocolate Buttercream
6 Tbsp (90g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt

Garnishes to finish : Coconut, pumpkin seeds and cacao nibs, or sprinkles of your choice

 

- PROCESS -

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Lightly spray the interior sides of an 8 inch round or square pan with cooking spray. Use a paper towel to wipe smooth. Add a spoonful of flour and shake around the edges to lightly coat. Discard extra flour. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper cut to size. Set aside. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 

In a liquid measuring cup, measure the milk, cream, and vanilla. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 3-5 minutes. (This will feel odd.) When ready, the butter mixture will begin sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition; mix until completely combined. 

With the mixer speed still on low, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients in three additions each. This should take 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then beat again on medium-high for 5 seconds to develop the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a light finger poke to the top bounces back and a crumb of chocolate remains on a toothpick. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a thin knife around the edge. Transfer to a cooling rack.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add all of the buttercream ingredients. Beat on low to incorporate. Once combined, beat on high until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. The frosting will be pale in colour but will deepen as it rests. 

ASSEMBLY

If you are frosting a round cake: Add about two-thirds of the frosting to the top of the cake. Using a spatula, spread the remaining frosting snugly around the sides of the cake, letting the sides of the cake show. Spinning the cake in a circular motion with your spatula pressing down gently in the centre, pull the frosting flat, allowing it to pool at the edges. Pull the spatula around the outside edges once more to connect the sides and top. Lightly sprinkle with garnishes. 

Alternatively, add all the icing to the top of the cake. Spread out with an offset spatula, creating swoops. Add garnishes. 

This cake is best after a 2-hour rest. Store covered at room temp for up to 3 days. 

Chocolate Snack Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - the perfect cake recipe to have in your back pocket. Tender chocolate cake topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream #chocolatecake #snackcake

This recipe was reprinted with permission from The Minimalist Kitchen, ©2018 Melissa Coleman. The Minimalist Kitchen was published by Oxmoor House, 2018

Apple pie cake


 

My lovely friend Lisa was staying with me this week! I originally met her in a facebook group I was a part of, where we bonded over our love of all things sweet, and just food in general. We then somehow managed to become part of the best girlboss gang ever, the Sugar Hoes, comprised of both of us, and our friend Bets, who runs a badass cake shop and sweet cafe in Auckland! (They have some of our clouds there, making it the coolest cafe in NZ) Lisa is an incredible pastry chef, and it also happened to be her birthday while she was staying! So of course, cake was a must. I must admit that I secretly felt a huge amount of pressure making a pastry chef a birthday cake, but at the end of the day I ended up roping her into helping me so everyone won! 

I recently (I am aware that I am a good four years late to the party) got the Milk bar cook book, and after a failed attempt at getting peaches from the farmers market for a cake for Lisa, we ended up with a bag of apples, and this book open on the table. I had been wanting to try making something from the book for a while, but was low key intimidated by the aspect of acetate within the cake rings to help hold everything together, so figured there was no better time than when I had a trained eye helping me! 

The Apple pie cake has what feels like a zillion components to it - A brown butter cake which is cooked in a sheet pan, a cider soak to help keep the cake moist, liquid cheesecake (barely cooked cheesecake mixture), pie crumbs, then an apple pie filling. You then rinse and repeat this three times until you have a super complex looking wee stack, then top it off with some buttercream which has blitzed pie crumbs in it! What a mouthful (quite literally). 

The resulting cake however, is nothing short of amazing. Everything ties together perfectly, and we ended up making six miniature 3 inch cakes rather than one six inch like the recipe, and OH MY they are too cute!! I used six three inch cake rings which we lined with strips of acetate. You layer all of the things in the lined rings, then pop them in the freezer for about 12 hours, peel off the acetate, and you have the prettiest layer cake ever! I love that you can see all of the individual components up the side! 

I pretty much followed the recipe from the book, except I skipped the apple cider soak, and in it's place used reduced cooking liquid from the apple pie filling component, thinned out with a little apple cider. I would also highly recommend making the pie crumb with brown butter - it gives it an amazing nutty taste which ties in well with the cake flavour. 

Because this recipe is very component heavy, and there is also a freezing time in there (which helps to make the acetate removal nice and tidy), this is definitely something you are going to want to make the day before, and assemble the evening before you need it, so that it has time to freeze. I ended up doubling the recipe in the book to give me six teeny baby cakes, so this recipe will make two six inch cakes, or six three inch cakes. I would definitely halve it (the original recipe) if you are making just the one six inch cake - these are super sweet, and I still have three in my freezer I am slowly giving to people!

With that being said, it doesn't actually take much longer to make double the recipe, and this keeps well in the freezer, so you can definitely have some now and save some for another time! I had a fair bit of cake scraps leftover, but they are sitting in my fridge next to the leftover buttercream, ready to be made into cake pops! 

One more thing - this is the sort of recipe where if you don't use a kitchen scale, now is the time to start. I am a huge fan of working in grams (Partially/extremely biased as I grew up using them and my brain is having a hard time changing over), because they give you a level of accuracy that you can't get with cups - everyone scoops a different sized cup of flour so grams help keep it all consistent.

Happy happy birthday week Lisa! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me in NYC! xx

 

 

Apple pie layer cake
- Makes six 3 inch cakes, or two 6 inch cakes - 

Adapted from Milk Bar

Brown butter cake
110g (1 stick) butter
80g (4 tablespoons) brown butter
500g (2 1/2 cups) sugar
120g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
6 eggs
220g (1 cup) buttermilk
130g (2/3 cup) neutral oil
4g (1 tsp) vanilla extract
370g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
8g (2 tsp) baking powder
8g (2 tsp) salt

Cheesecake filling
550g (8oz) cream cheese
300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
12g (2 Tbsp) corn starch
4g (1 tsp) salt
50g (2 Tbsp) milk
2 eggs

Pie crumb
440g (3 cups) flour
36g (4 Tbsp) sugar
6g (1 1/2 tsp) salt
230g (2 sticks) butter, browned
40g (3 Tbsp) water

Apple Pie filling
1 lemon
800g (about 7 medium) apples
28g (2 tbsp) butter
300g (1 1/3 cup) brown sugar
2g (1 tsp) cinnamon
2g (1/2 tsp) salt

Cake soak
Cooking liquid from apple pie filling
60g (1/4 cup) apple cider, or apple juice (optional) 

Pie crumb buttercream
175g (1 1/3 cup) Pie crumb
110g (1/2 cup) milk
2g (1/2 tsp) salt
40g (3 Tbsp) butter, at room temperature
40-80g (1/4 to 1/2 cup) icing sugar
 

 

- PROCESS -


I highly recommend preparing the components the day before, and assembling them the night before you need them to allow the cake to freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer three hours before you serve to allow time to defrost

 

BROWN BUTTER CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Spray a half sheet baking tray (18 x 13 inches) with baking spray.

Brown the butter by melting over medium heat, then continuing to cook until light brown and nutty smelling. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, brown butter and sugars. Beat on high for approximately 5 minutes, until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and scraping the bowl down as needed. Mix for 2-3 minutes until homogenous. 

With the mixer on low, slowly add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix on medium for approximately 10 minutes, until the mixture has come together uniformly. This step may take up to 15 minutes. Scrape the bowl down well. 

Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix until just combined, scraping the bowl down well and mixing for another 20 seconds to ensure even distribution of the dry ingredients. 

Spread the mixture into the sheet pan, and smooth with a spoon or spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, checking for doneness after 30 minutes. The cake will be golden brown and the edges will spring back when lightly touched. Ensure that the middle is not jiggly. 

Remove from the oven and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. 

 

CHEESECAKE FILLING

Preheat the oven to 300f/150c

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese on medium speed for 3 minutes, until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until well combined, scraping down the bowl well. 

In a small bowl, measure out the corn starch and salt. Slowly whisk the milk into the corn starch, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add the eggs and mix well. With the mixer running, slowly add the milk and egg mixture to the cream cheese. Mix for 5 minutes until smooth. 

Spread into a glass oven dish or loaf pan, and bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside edges of the cheesecake are just firm, and the centre is still jiggly. Continue to cook in 5 minute increments if it is not yet at that stage. Remove from the oven and cool, then use an immersion blender or blender to blend the mix until homogenous and uniform in texture. Store in the fridge until ready to use. 

 

PIE CRUMB

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Line a baking tray with silpat or parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt until well mixed. Add the butter and water and mix on low until clustered. 

Spread the mixture on the tray, and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Break up into smaller clumps during the baking process. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will firm up a lot during cooling). Store in an airtight container until ready to use

 

APPLE PIE FILLING

Fill a bowl with water, and juice the lemon into it. 

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Dice each quarter into small pieces (cut into quarters lengthways, then each quarter into quarters, leaving you with 16 pieces per quarter). Transfer apple to the bowl of lemon water as you go. 

Drain the apples, and add to a medium pan. Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt, and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes. The apples will release liquid and begin to cook down. When the apples are fork tender, remove from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Make the cake soak with the remaining cooking liquid.

 

CAKE SOAK

Using the liquid left from the apple, heat over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, swirling the pan often, until the mixture has reduced and thickened slightly. Add apple cider and mix until incorporated. Alternatively you can skip the reducing step and use the liquid as is, omitting the apple cider. 

 

PIE CRUMB BUTTERCREAM

Add milk and pie crumb to a blender. Mix on high for 2-3 minutes, until a smooth paste consistency is reached. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and icing sugar on high until smooth and pale. Scrape down the sides, and add the pie crumb paste. mix well on high for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the frosting is pale and uniform. If the consistency is too runny, add more icing sugar as needed, and mix well. 

Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use. 

 

ASSEMBLY

Using the cake ring or a three inch cookie cutter, cut circles from the sheet pan. You need 18 in total (six cakes at three layers each). You may not get 18 full circles cut out, but you can use scraps pushed together to form the bottom layers of some of the cakes to make up the total cake layers to 18.

On a lined sheet pan, line six 3 inch cake rings with acetate, so the acetate forms cylinders that extend out of the cake rings. It needs to be about five inches high if you are using sheets, otherwise you will need two strips of acetate (you put the second sheet on when you are about halfway through stacking)

LAYER ONE

Place a circle of cake in the bottom of each cake ring, pushing down to make sure it is sitting flat. If you need to make up cake circle numbers now is the time - push scraps into the bottom of the rings to form the bottom layer. 

Using a pastry brush or spoon, gently brush or spoon over some of the cake soak, until the top of the cake layer is moist. 

Divide half of the liquid cheesecake between the rings. Use the back of a spoon to smooth it down. 

Sprinkle a layer of pie crumb over the cheesecake filling, pressing down well with your hands to ensure that they are in place. 

Divide half of the pie filling between the cakes. 

LAYER TWO

Repeat the same process as layer one. 

LAYER THREE

Finish off each cake with the final cake circle. Spread the top of each cake with the pie crumb frosting, and decorate with extra pie crumbs. 

Freeze the cakes for at least 12 hours, to allow all of the filling layers to set. Three hours before you are ready to serve, remove them from the freezer, pop them out of the cake rings, and carefully peel away the acetate layers to reveal the cake inside. Transfer to a serving platter, and allow to defrost before serving. 

Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic, and frozen or kept in the fridge.