Gluten free apple and coconut cake with easy salted caramel sauce

I'm currently sitting in a cute lil air bnb in Byron Bay, a sunny, beachy, backpacker haven of a coastal town in Northern NSW. I had every intention of crafting a series of eloquent and witty blog posts before my departure, but life intervened, as it always does. And when I say life intervened, I mean that I ended up going to sleep at 9pm every night, binge watching Law and Order, and attending an indoor plant care workshop. Standard life interventions, yes? 

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Anyway, I've made this apple and coconut cake a bunch of times now, and I'm continually impressed by it. It's gluten free, refined sugar free, grain free, FODMAP friendlier, and super easy to make. It also lends itself super well to other fruit varieties: I've tried plum and feijoa, and next on my list is rhubarb or maybe even caramelised banana. The possibilities are endlessssss. 

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The cake is gluten free, grain free, FODMAP friendlier, and refined sugar free. The salted caramel is probably the easiest salted carmel you'll ever encounter, and although it does form little globs, it tastes exactly the same, minus 10kg of sugar, a sugar thermometer, and burnt hands. Bonus.

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
4 tablespoons maple syrup
100g butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 apples - 1 1/2 sliced (for the top or bottom) and 1/2 chopped, to mix through the cake

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, tapioca flour and coconut. These instructions are together because I forgot to mention the oven so I'm adding it in now. 
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, and then add the maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla bean paste. 
3. Back to yo large bowl: Add the almond milk and eggs to the flours, and mix until all combined. Add the chopped apple (In case you're tired and making this, ONLY the chopped apple, not the apple for the top!) Mix the buttery mixture into the flour. 
4. Add the baking powder and apple cider vinegar, and stir ze bubbles in. 
5. You can place your apple slices on the top or bottom of this cake, but whatever you decide, make sure the pan is greased and lined. Arrange your apples and pour over the cake batter (or vice versa, upside down is fun but slightly harder to remove) and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Timing heavily depends on whether you're making a loaf or a cake, so check it intermittently, and spray the fruit on top (if it is on top) if necessary. 

SALTED CARAMEL

50g butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Generous pinch of salt

1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and maple syrup. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat right up. AS SOON AS the mixture foams up, stir it a few times and turn the heat off. If you continue to cook it, it will turn into a giant glob. A delicious one, but one that is impractical in a pouring scenario. Add the salt, and pour over the cake with reckless abandon. 

NOTE: this recipe works splendidly with plums. And Feijoas. And probably most other juicy but not too juicy fruits. 

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