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It's never too late to learn to bake with Mrs Simkins                                            September 2010  

It’s Never Too Late to Learn to Bake with Mrs Simkins

Cooking with Mrs Simkins: How to Cook Simple, Wholesome, Home-made Meals Popular cookery author Mrs Simkins is recognised for her straightforward writing and easy-to-follow recipes.

Her work, which includes a weekly column in the popular Blackmore Vale Magazine in the West Country, is based on a lifelong interest in food and developing new recipes plus over thirty years cooking for family and friends.

See Mrs Simkins Suggests... for kitchen equipment suggestions

Her first book ‘Cooking with Mrs Simkins’ is out now and available from Amazon. Her second book ‘Tea with Mrs Simkins’ will be published in September.



Baking may be one of those things you have always meant to do but have never quite got around to. Maybe you do bake but feel you could improve a bit more. Maybe you are an accomplished baker already but just love trying out new recipes or new ways of doing things. Whichever applies to you, I hope you will find something in this monthly column that will appeal!


This month

Dorset apple cake

Dorset Apple Cake

This is a lovely cake for any time of year but especially in the autumn when there are so many apples around. This is a really easy cake to make and it is delicious warm or cold. It goes very well indeed with a dollop of clotted cream.



225g (8oz) plain flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
110g (4oz) butter
110g (4oz) unrefined granulated sugar
225g (8oz) of peeled, cored, apples, finely chopped (cooking, eating or a mixture of both)
75g (3oz) currants or raisins
2 eggs, beaten

You will need a greased loose bottomed 20cm (8 inch cake tin)

Preheat oven to 160C (fan ovens) or equivalent



Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar, dried fruit and apple. Mix in the eggs. Turn into the prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of a metal spoon: a wet spoon makes it easier. Sprinkle some more sugar over the top. Cover loosely with greaseproof paper, tucking it underneath the tin to secure and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 1¼ hours, until golden on top.

Leave in the tin for a few moments, then remove and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight tin.

You can email Mrs Simkins at


Mrs Simkins Suggests...


John Lewis Value Swing Peeler £1.75

Swing peelerI know not everyone will agree, but I find this type of peeler much the easiest to use for peeling anything at all, including: potatoes, carrots, cucumber (essential for dainty tea-time sandwiches) and apples. I also use one to peel thin ribbons of raw courgette for a salad or very thin slivers of cheese.

Swing peelers, the kind you hold like a normal peeler, rather than the swivel peelers with the blade across the top, like some kind of dental hygiene aid, are sometimes difficult to find.

This one by John Lewis is good value with a plastic handle and rotating stainless steel swing blade. It’s also dishwasher safe: I’ve noticed a dishwasher keeps this kind of implement in much better condition than hand washing.


Tea with Mrs Simpkins


Tea with Mrs Simkins
Published by Spring Hill, an Imprint of How to Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-905862-43-6
Available in October 2010 and available to pre-order now from Amazon, £12.99



Previous articles in the series:

Cookery column 1 - Baking scones
Cookery column 2 - Easter biscuits
Cookery column 3 - Lemon Drizzle cake
Cookery column 4 - Ginger batter buns
Cookery column 5 - Coconut tarts
Cookery column 6 - Cosy cake
Cookery column 7 - Dorset Apple Cake



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