Apple Pie Recipe to Ring in the Fall

When childhood friends Tom Oxford and Oliver Koisch opened the Exploding Bakery in Exeter, UK over a decade ago, their goal was to create incredible cakes and pastries on plates or a British dessert that resembles biscuits. However, their vision and audience expanded as treats such as carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and cherry brownies caught on with the locals. Exploding Bakery’s offerings are now sold in shops and eateries around the country, as well as their traditional Exploding Cafe in Exeter.

In my first cookbook Bake, cut, eat, Oxford and Koisch hope to win the hearts and taste buds of home bakers around the world. The duo didn’t plan on writing a cookbook, but when the opportunity presented itself after their pastries became famous, they couldn’t resist.

“At first we were hesitant because we didn’t have much time and it takes a lot of effort,” Koisch says. “So we had to sort of go out of business as managing directors and hand over responsibility for day-to-day operations to give us time to do that.” After a year of writing and tweaking recipes, they are looking forward to the book’s release.

The premise is simple: you only need one 13-by-9 baking dish to make any of nearly 100 recipes, from a moist, garden-party-ready cake with lemon frosting to a stunning raspberry croissant cake made with yesterday’s bread.

While the desserts in the cookbook are beautiful and combine ingredients in interesting ways, the overall idea was simplicity, the authors say. “We wanted to go against the trendy candy store. We are not pastry chefs,” says Koisch. “There are some quirky techniques in the book, but they are towards the end of the book if people want to use them. But we wanted it to be reassuring.”

However, there are some tricky recipes that they hope enterprising bakers will try. For example, a “fancy trifle” consists of several layers – biscuit, jelly, custard and cream – each of which is quite simple to prepare, but requires careful timing. “The dessert it’s made from is very simple, it’s actually pretty hard to make, but once you make it, it’s a lot of fun,” says Oxford.

One recipe with complex flavors and designs that is well worth the effort is Beetroot, Rose and Apple Cake. The inspiration began with the classic apple biscuit. The duo then turned to Thesaurus of Taste by Niki Segnit to see which fruit pairs have landed on the rose.

“Rose and apple are a very good combination, but you have to be very careful with the rose. Otherwise, it has a rather soapy taste,” Koisch says. They suggest using organic rose water to ensure a balanced taste. However, if you don’t like the taste of roses, use orange blossom water.

Nut flour and beetroot juice complete the floral notes and give the cake an earthy feel. The beets also provide color and texture.

“Beets, like any root vegetable, are really good at retaining moisture inside the sponge,” Koisch says. “It’s a strange angle, but as a cake maker we need a good shelf life for our cakes. We don’t want them to dry out because people are selling our cakes, so we need that shelf life.”

The finished cake has a complex flavor profile. “It’s like perfume. Not in the sense that it is like a perfume cake, but it has base notes and earthiness,” says Koisch. “In addition, there are midtones and highlights.”

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