We probably all have at least one recipe that we can make blindfolded. A recipe that we grew up with, or fell in love with, or one we have done time and time again. We don’t need a recipe book, we know the ingredients off by heart and enjoy creating the dish. Often these are the best things we make in the kitchen.
For me, my ‘blindfold’ recipe would probably be some sort of quiche, flan or tart. The first thing I was taught to make was shortcrust pastry, or rather jam tarts. As I grew up Mum and I made batch after batch of these sweet little treats. Some would been filled with damson jam, some raspberry jam, and some even marmalade. Later the jam tart making turned into quiche making. Perhaps a simple quiche Lorraine, an olive and spinach flan or maybe a leek and mushroom tart all using that same shortcrust pastry.
Recently we holidayed with friends in Wales. Each night we took turns to cook. One friend made a delicious apple cake. I think she could have made this cake blindfolded. There wasn’t a recipe book in sight, and she reeled the recipe off to me as I took notes. This cake had started life in a handwritten cookbook that her mother had given her as she went to university. Unsurprisingly it was delicious, with lots of fruit and a hint of caramel.
For me, pastry is easy and familiar, but a sponge cake is more unknown. I decided I needed to rectify this. I took my friend’s recipe as a starting point and then read Delia Smith, Leiths and Good Housekeeping’s thoughts on sponge cakes. This recipe is the result. A simple, straightforward cake that I hope will become one of those ‘blindfold’ dishes.
85 g / 3 oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
110 g / 4 oz soft margarine
110 g / 4 oz caster sugar
25 g / 1 oz ground almonds
2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 large eggs
2 eating apples – weighing around 220g / 8 oz
110 g / 4 oz prunes
12 g / 1/2 oz flaked almonds (optional)
icing sugar to dust (optional)
2 lb loaf tin / 23 x 13 x 7 cm / 9 x 5 x 3”
Total carbohydrate per portion – 30g
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 375 F / Gas mark 4.
2. Grease and line the cake tin.
3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the margarine, sugar, ground almonds, mixed spice and eggs and beat for two minutes using an electric whisk.
5. Peel and core the apples. Chop them up into small pieces. Roughly chop the prunes.
6. Mix the fruit into the cake mixture and pour into the greased tin. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
8. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes or until lightly brown on the top and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
9. Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before allowing to cool on a wire rack.
10. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
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