Caramel Apples

Celebrate the autumn season with home made caramel apples


The perfect autumnal treat for Halloween, Bonfire night, or just because it’s autumn!  These can be dipped in sprinkles or chopped pecans, hazelnuts or salted peanuts.  Best served outside as darkness falls, preferably by a bonfire.

7 or 8 small dessert apples, or 4 large ones
1 cup of sugar
1 cup double/heavy cream
2 tbs butter
¼ cup golden syrup or dark corn syrup
½ tsp salt – optional
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkles or chopped nuts – optional

You will also need twigs or lolly sticks, a candy thermometer, a non stick mat, or oiled foil and some iced water on hand

De-stem and wash the apples, then carefully skewer with the twigs or lolly sticks.  I used sticks snipped from my apple tree and then washed and dried them.

Put all the ingredients into a heavy based pan and boil until the caramel reaches 245 degrees F.  When the caramel is ready, very briefly plunge the bottom of the pan in the water to stop the caramel getting any hotter.

Working quickly, swirl the apples in the molten caramel, turning to coat, dip in the sprinkles if using and place upside down on your waiting mat or foil.


Hot Mulled Cider

Autumn is here!  Hot and spicy mulled cider will warm the soul on the chilliest Fall day.


Mulled cider is perfect for chilly autumn evenings, bonfire night, Halloween, romantic autumn picnics with leaves falling all around and, well just because it’s Autumn!

This is full of Fall flavours – apples, cinnamon and spices. If you want to give it a real kick, add a dash of rum at the end.

2 litres of hard dry cider – use medium cider if you prefer a sweeter taste.
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 orange, stuck with 10 cloves
A few grates of fresh nutmeg
1 apple, cored and cut into segments
1 tablespoon of maple syrup, honey or 1 tablespoon of brown sugar – adjust to preferred level of sweetness.
Rum – optional

Gently mix everything in a pan over a medium heat and allow all the flavours to mingle. Leave on a low heat for around 20 minutes. Don’t let it boil and serve hot in heatproof glasses, mason jars or mugs, spiked with a shot of rum if desired and decorated with a cinnamon stick.

This recipe can easily be made family friendly by using cloudy apple juice, either from the supermarket or by juicing your apples straight from the tree (after washing and inspecting for insects!)

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with a Maple Glaze

The Perfect cake for the Autumnal season – a cinnamon spiced sour cream pumpkin coffee cake, topped with a maple glaze.

pumpkin cake

Ever since I was a child, I have always loved pumpkins.  Photos of endless fields of the orange beauties, the way people decorate their porches with them, the scary carved ones that grin on Halloween.  I even had a story about an evil one!  There is something about them that is deliciously Autumnal, which is, of course, the best season of all – I think so anyway.

In the story about the evil pumpkin, the people who owned the pumpkin farm also sold lots of pumpkin products – cakes, breads, cookies etc.  I wanted to find out about how to make pumpkin treats like this and as I grew older, I discovered the huge array of recipes that you can add pumpkin to.  Growing up in England, there wasn’t much pumpkin around really and the first time I ever made a batch of pumpkin pancakes that I had seen online, I had to make my own puree the long way round.  Canned pumpkin is still not readily available everywhere and I buy my cans online, but once I had tried my first taste of pumpkin pancake, I was hooked!

I wanted to make a pumpkin coffee cake, so experimented with various coffee cake recipes, until I settled on this version.  It’s a moist and tender sponge with that unmistakable pumpkin flavour and the spices make the house smell wonderfully autumnal while it bakes.  The maple syrup glaze really makes it a showstopper.

pumpkin cake close up

½ cup of packed brown sugar
¾ cup of plain/all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ stick of cold butter, cut into cubes

3 cups of plain/all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 ½ stick of butter
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

½ cup icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
½ tsp maple extract (optional)

Butter and flour a tube pan and pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F

Place the streusel ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix until the butter has been worked into the flour and sugar and is in crumbles.  You can also do this with your hands.  Set aside.

For the cake, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  I do this in the stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment and leave it going for around 4-5 minutes.

Then add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next one.  Add the vanilla, sour cream and pumpkin and mix well.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and soda into another bowl, along with the pumpkin pie spice and with the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Finish by hand rather than risk over-mixing.

Spoon half the batter into the tube pan, and smooth out the top.  Sprinkle over half the streusel mixture and then top with the remaining batter.  Finish by sprinkling the rest of the streusel mixture over the top of the cake batter and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out onto your cake plate and allow completely.  If you try to glaze when the cake is still warm, it will just melt and run off.

Mix the glaze ingredients until it is a thick consistency that will drizzle.  Add more syrup if too thick or more sugar if it’s too runny.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake, back and forth until you have the desired coverage.

pumpkin cake plate