Custard Apple Cake

Friday, 7 November 2014

During my “pre-children” life I had a perfectly formed Idea of the kind of mum I was going to be, the kind of things I was going to do and it was crystal clear how confused and wrong the other parents were with their children. It seemed so easy to bring up the other people’s kids.

When my big son was born, I spent the first three months of his life debating whether or not I should put him in his crib. I had heard so many scary things about co-sleeping and I was so pushed not to do it by everyone that I felt I was doing something really horrible to my baby. And it was such a shock to realize that it was me who was confused and wrong.

“He is never going to be independent. Babies do need to cry. Aren’t you worried about rolling over him? He’ll be 16 and still will be sleeping in your bed. Do you want to traumatize him?.” Sigh. 

But then, everyone went back to their lives and there he was. My beloved baby, so vulnerable and small.

One day, I realised that neither me or my baby or my husband needed all that well-meaning advice, which rather than help, was making us feel more stressed and tired. Why were we fighting against our feelings? Why were we doing something that was distressing us so much? Who were we trying to please? And then, slowly but steady, I started believing in my own feelings, in my own instinct, and decided that the best thing to do was whatever contributed to make our lives easier, more pleasant and where our sleep time weren’t determined by anyone else’s thoughts. And do it according to our needs and to the needs of our brand new family.

A few years later, our second baby boy was born. And we were too many for our bed. So we bought a bigger one. Against all predictions, our big one decided that it was a good time to have his own bed. But he still come to ours at bed time. Because it is, without doubt, the best time of the day. Time for cuddles, for tickling, for reading stories, for sharing our feelings and our thoughts and our worries. Time for being together, cosy under the duvet, for saying I love you, for being a family.

Then, slowly, they both fell asleep. Their breathing turning deeper and louder. Their bodies getting heavier. And me wondering what they are dreaming with while I stroke their soft hair, their moist skin, their tiny hands. 

Sometimes, when the dream does not overcome me, I get up from bed and finish any outstanding chore. Most of the time, I let Morpheus take me in his arms and fall asleep in the placidity of the night, while the pace of my breathing matches theirs.

This morning, as every morning, I woke up and there they were. Theirs little rosy faces, smelling like warm apple cake, next to me, sleeping peacefully.


4 Apples
50gr Caster Sugar
1 Fresh Shortcrust Pastry Roll
500gr Fresh Custard
50gr Icing Sugar
2tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 cup Lemon Juice


Preheat the oven to 200C.

Roll out the shortcrust pastry and line a cake tin leaving a slight overhang. Now we are going to bake the pastry "blind". That is, we´ll pre-bake the pie crust without the filling as it has a shorter bake time than the crust. Tip: to baking blind you can use baking beads or, if like me, you don´t have any, just use some raw chickpeas or any other bean. This will ensure the crust retains its shape while baking. Bake for 10/15 minutes.

In the meantime, wash the apples and cut them in halves. With the help of a slicer or a peeler, cut slices as thin as you can. Put them in a bowl with the lemon juice, cinnamon and some caster sugar.

When the pastry is ready, remove the beans and sprinkle the remaining sugar. Then pour the custard and lay the apple slices carefully forming concentric circles until the whole cake is covered. To finish, you can make a flower by rolling up together some apple slices.

Sprinkle some icing sugar on top and bake for 15 extra minutes.

Eat warm.


  1. :) To grow as a family is the most marvellous time of the life. Xx

  2. Today post is absolutely beautiful. And follow your instincts is the best advice. The kids are growing fine and all the house smell delicious when you cook these amazing desserts...

  3. Thanks Encarna. It is indeed... and they grow sooooo quickly!!!!

    Thanks JR.... xxxxxx


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