Spiced Apple Crumble with a Clove and Cinnamon Buttercream
TIP 1: This works best in a food processor. If doing by hand, rub all the ingredients between your fingers (it’s best not to use a spoon), until they resemble breadcrumbs. As the butter is cold this if you use a cheese grater to "grate" the butter it'll be much easier to mix
TIP 2: Creaming can be done by hand: first churn the butter with a wooden spoon (you may want to grate first for ease) before slowly adding sugar and switching to a fork to mix. However it really is best to cream with a hand/electric mixer : on a low speed, churn the butter before slowly adding the sugar as you turn up the speed. It takes around 6-7 minutes for the mixture to be fully creamed and all the sugar grains dissolved.
TIP 3: For best results line the tin with grease-proof paper too and always keep an eye out on your oven temperature as they vary.
TIP 4: Make sure each egg is fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next or you risk separating the mixture. This happens because butter and eggs are often at different temperatures which makes it hard for the fat of the egg yolks and butter to properly blend with the water of the egg whites and butter (if this does happen - panic not. If this were a mayonnaise you'd have to start again - but luckily with cakes this problem tends to rectify itself once the mixture is being heated consistently in the oven).
TIP 5: Be careful not to bang the air out of the mixture. Treat it gently!
TIP 6: Resist the urge to open the oven door to check the cake throughout the bake, otherwise the oven temperature will drop and the cake may crack on top.
TIP 7: If you’re not confident with a sharp serrated knife and don’t have a cake leveller, this can be also be done with some toothpicks and dental floss (bear with us!): place a ruler vertically against cake and insert a toothpick half way down and half way in - repeat four or five times around the side of the cake. Take a large length of dental floss and holding it with one hand, take the other end and trace it around the cake horizontally so it follows an imaginary line around the cake and under the tooth picks. Place the ends of dental floss in opposite hands and pull hands outwards slowly until you’ve two component parts.