Apple-vanilla teacake with thick vanilla custard

There’s a hidden layer of thick vanilla custard in the centre of this cake that takes it from good to great. Serve it warm, but not too hot. Photography and recipe by Gourmet Traveller.

  • 30 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs cooking
  • 30 mins marinating
  • Serves 12
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Thick vanilla custard
  • 300 millilitre milk
  • 60 millilitre dessert wine
  • 1 vanilla bean split, seeds scraped or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 20 gram each plain flour and cornflour
Apple-vanilla compote
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 180 millilitre water
  • 75 millilitre dessert wine or brandy
  • 5 small granny smith apples, cored and each cut into 8 thin wedges
  • finely grated zest and juice ½ lemon
Tea cake
  • 280 gram caster sugar
  • scraped seeds 2 vanilla beans
  • 200 gram softened butter, plus 10g extra, melted, for brushing
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 375 gram self-raising flour
  • 200 millilitre buttermilk
  • 2 granny smith apples, thinly sliced into rounds


Apple-vanilla teacake with thick vanilla custard
  • 1
    For thick vanilla custard, bring milk, wine and vanilla bean and seeds to the simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar and yolks to combine, then add flours and whisk until smooth.
  • 2
    Slowly add hot milk mixture to yolks, whisking to combine, then return mixture to pan and bring to the boil, whisking continuously until thick (2-3 minutes). Discard vanilla bean and pour custard into a buttered 20cm-diameter round cake tin. Smooth top and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
  • 3
    For apple-vanilla compote, stir ingredients in a Tefal Reserve Collection Sauté Pan 24cm over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until apples are tender and a syrup forms (10-15 minutes). Strain, reserving apples and syrup separately, and refrigerate apples until cool (30 minutes).
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Rub 20g sugar and half the vanilla seeds in a bowl with your fingertips to combine, then set aside.
  • 5
    Beat butter, remaining sugar, cinnamon and remaining vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (4-5 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl, then add eggs and yolk one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • 6
    Add half the flour, then buttermilk, then remaining flour, stirring between each addition. Spread half the cake mixture in a buttered 23cm diameter round cake tin lined with baking paper. Smooth the top.
  • 7
    Unmould vanilla custard, place in the centre of the cake batter and scatter with apple compote. Spoon remaining cake batter over, smooth the top, then arrange thinly sliced apple in a circle, overlapping the edges.
  • 8
    Drizzle cake with melted butter, scatter with vanilla sugar, then bake until golden and cooked though (1½-1¾ hours). Cover cake with foil part way through if cake starts to brown too quickly and remove foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • 9
    Stand cake for 15 minutes in tin, run a knife around the side and turn out onto a rack to cool slightly (30 minutes). Serve warm, drizzled with reserved syrup.


  • With the high walls and non-stick coating, making the compotes and jams so easy, washing up is just a breeze too.