Michelle Darmody: Toffee apples are great — branch out with more caramel recipes

Apple and Toffee Buns are delicious, or try apple cake with caramel sauce

Michelle Darmody: Toffee apples are great — branch out with more caramel recipes

Apples and toffee are a match made in heaven

Sun, 19 Sep, 2021 – 12: 55

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The sweetest of treats from our queen of cakes

Toffee and apples make a good pairing. The traditional toffee-dipped apple on a stick dates back to the 19th century. Even before this sticky treat was invented sweet coatings were used to preserve and embellish fruit. The toppings on the toffee apples vary as does the texture of the coating — in the US they tend to be red in colour. Today’s recipes do not call for red caramel but the sauces are all quite luscious and sweet. In fact, you can happily eat the buns or cake without the toffee sauce. There is no sugar in the bun recipe — just the sweetness of the apples.

When using apples in desserts such as these I tend to choose a firm crisp apple that is on the sour side. You can use cooking apples or Granny Smiths: there are also more exciting varieties available in some fruit and vegetable shops such as Gold Rush or York Imperial.

Chunky apple cake with caramel sauce

recipe by: Michelle Darmody

This cake will last a few days in an airtight container, but only add the sauce just before serving the cake

Chunky apple cake with caramel sauce


  • 113g butter

  • 120g golden caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 135g self-raising flour

  • 2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced into chunks for the sauce:

  • 85g butter

  • 100g light brown sugar

  • 60ml milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line an 8-inch round tin with parchment. A loose-base or springform tin works best.

  2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs and vanilla making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl every now and then.

  3. Add the flour until a smooth batter is formed. Stir in the chunks of apple and scoop the mixture into your prepared tin. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the cake batter.

  4. Once cool enough to handle place on a wire rack to cool completely.

  5. To make the sauce melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat.

  6. Once the butter has melted, stir in the sugar until dissolved. Stir it for about a minute then turn up the heat slightly allowing the mixture to bubble. Stir for another two minutes then stir in the milk and vanilla. Repeat the two minutes of stirring then set aside for about 10 minutes to cool slightly then pour the sauce over your apple cake.

Apple and toffee buns

recipe by: Michelle Darmody

These buns are easy and totally delicious

Apple and toffee buns


  • 125mls milk

  • 4 tbsp melted butter

  • 2 eggs

  • 50g wholemeal flour

  • 200g self-raising flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder, sieved

  • 1 tsp mixed cake spice

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 medium apples, grated

  • To make the sauce:

  • 150mls cream

  • 45g butter

  • 90g muscovado sugar

  • a pinch of sea salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and place 12 paper cases into a bun tin.

  2. Mix the milk, eggs, and melted butter together.

  3. In another bowl mix the two flours, the baking powder, and spices together.

  4. Stir the two mixtures together until combined. Stir in the apple until that too is combined. Scoop the mixture into the paper cases and bake for about 25 minutes and the buns are golden and risen. Once cool enough to handle, place on a wire rack to cool completely.

  5. To make the toffee icing, place the butter, cream, and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Once melted, allow to bubble gently until it has turned a rich caramel colour. Add the salt and pour this over the buns just before serving.

Michelle Darmody: Toffee apples are great — branch out with more caramel recipes

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