Friday, 7 February 2014

Apple and Pear Upside Down Custard Crumble Cake

Recently I was contacted by Sainsbury's to participate in their 'apple and pear challenge'. I was sent an Orchard Assortment box which contains 4 English apples and 2 English pears.  I brainstormed some ideas and as I couldn't decide what to make, I decided to combine a few favourite desserts - fruit crumble, upside down cake and custard! I made some caramel then layered the apples and pears on top. This was followed by a layer of custard, a layer of sponge mixed with chopped apples and pears and finally a crumble layer. At the last minute, I also decided to add some flaked almonds just to give it extra crunch and texture. The cake is served upside down and it tasted absolutely divine! The sponge was really light and the caramelised fruit and custard really complemented the cake well. The crumble and toasted flaked almonds made a really good crunchy base.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the cake and there wasn't a crumb left at the end of the day! 

The varieties included in the Sainsbury's Orchard Assortment Box are
Rubens - red in colour, this apple has a crisp, refreshing and sparkling flavour coupled with a sweet hint of melon
Jazz - A colourful apple with flashes of red, green and yellow, its flavour is characterised as sweet and aromatic with undertones of pear
Kanzi - Scarlet red in colour with a pale green background, this crunchy and juicy apple has a deliciously complex sweet taste
Cameo - This new variety is dark red in colour offset with orange flushes. Sweet, juicy and crunchy, topped off with a blend of honey and citrus flavours.
Sweet sensation - Vibrant red blush over a green-yellow background, this pear variety is deliciously sweet to taste and melts in the mouth when ripe
Concorde - A cross between Conference and Cornice pears, the Concorde is a green, slightly russetted pear with a rich, sweet flavour.

For this recipe, I decided to use the Jazz and Cameo apples and the Sweet Sensation pear as I felt the flavours would complement each other. 

 making the caramel for the apples and pears 

 cooking the custard 

 lovely caramel 

 adding chopped fruit to the batter 

 layer fruit on top of the caramel layer 

 add custard 

 add sponge 

 add crumble and flaked almonds (see instructions - I'd recommend adding the almonds at a later stage) 

 fresh from the oven 

  I love how you can still see the pears 

 You can clearly see the caramel fruit later, custard layer and sponge. The crumble layer is definitely there but you can't see it very well here. 

An original recipe by bakingaddict

For the caramel
200g caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 apples and 1 pear - peeled and sliced

For the cake
220g butter
220g caster sugar
220g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
chopped apples and pears (I chopped up the fruit leftover after layering the cake base as shown)

For the custard
570ml/1 pint milk
60ml single cream
1 vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
35g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour

For the crumble
100g plain flour
50g ground almonds
125g butter
35g demerara sugar
35g caster sugar
60g rolled oats

100g flaked almonds (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Make the caramel by placing 200g caster sugar and 3 tablespoons of water into a pan over medium-high heat. 
  • Watch carefully until it is amber in colour - do not stir the mixture at any point. Take it off the heat and carefully pour it into a lined baking tin. 
  • Arrange the apple and pear slices as shown. 
  • Make the custard by heating the milk, cream and vanilla pod on a low heat to simmering point. 
  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a separate bowl. 
  • Pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture and continue whisking constantly. 
  • Rinse out the pan.
  • Return the mixture to the pan and heat gently until the custard thickens. You will need to stir frequently. 
  • Make the cake mixture by creaming butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at at a time and mix well.
  • Fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract.
  • Finally add in the chopped fruit.
  • To make the crumble, place all ingredients except for the oats in a food processor and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the oats and pulse gently. 
  • To assemble the cake, add a layer of custard to the caramel fruit and smooth with a palette knife.
  • Add in the sponge mixture and level with a palette knife.
  • Place the crumble on top.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Take the cake out of the oven and sprinkle flaked almonds all over the top and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until the almonds are toasted and brown. [I added the almonds before baking but it browned quickly so I had to cover the cake with foil after about 20 minutes - I would definitely recommend adding the almonds at the end] 
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before turning it upside down on a serving tray to serve. 
Disclaimer: I was sent an Orchard Assortment Box from Sainsbury's for review purposes and a Sainsbury's gift card to cover the cost of the ingredients. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 


  1. now that looks like a very delicious cake... I love all that glorious caramel turned upside down, very pretty... and a great way to use those scrummy apples and pears

  2. This looks fantastic pudding cake! Love the all the texture and flavour combinations.

  3. Wow, that looks delicious, apples, pears and caramel, not to mention the custard and crumble.....what's not to love?!

  4. Your cake looks and sounds amazing. It contains everything I love!

  5. This is such a great idea, really creative and I love the idea of custard in a cake!

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