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It's never too late to learn to bake with Mrs Simkins                                            October 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 bookTea with Mrs Simkins is also out.



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

Light Apple and Almond Cake

Light apple and almond cakeSun-shiny early autumn days are here again: already apples are appearing in boxes outside garden gates with friendly hand written notices inviting you to help yourself. Apparently, this summer’s weather conditions have contributed to bumper crops of apples although they may be slightly smaller than average.

Here is a beautifully moist and light apple cake to utilise some of them. It’s up to you whether you peel the apples for the topping or not, both ways look and taste delicious. Don’t forget the sprinkling of sugar: it gives the apple slices a nice toffee-apple flavour. A food processor makes everything quick and easy but you can make this by hand if you prefer.


110g (4oz) softened butter
110g (4oz) unrefined caster sugar
50g (2oz) ground almonds
175g (6oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 fresh eggs
175g (6oz) finely chopped and peeled eating apples (Cox’s are perfect)

Plus: 1-2 extra apples, peeled or unpeeled, and thinly sliced, and 1-2 teaspoons of unrefined caster sugar

You will need a greased 18cm (7 inch) loose bottomed cake tin

Preheat oven to 160C (fan ovens) or equivalent


Whiz the butter and sugar together thoroughly in the food processor until light and fluffy. Add the ground almonds and whiz to combine. Sieve half of the flour over the top and add the eggs. Sieve the rest of the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar over the top and whiz. Add the chopped apple and whiz until everything is fully mixed and smooth. Stop the processor a couple of times and scrape the mixture down from the sides with a flexible spatula.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and arrange the apple slices over the entire surface in an overlapping layer. Sprinkle the sugar lightly over the top.

Cover the tin loosely with greaseproof paper, tucking it underneath to secure. Bake for about 1¼ hours until the top is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean (you may like to remove the greaseproof paper for the last 15 minutes or so). Transfer to a wire rack and store in an airtight container when completely cold.

Mrs Simkins
© 2010


Tea with Mrs Simpkins

Look out for ' Tea with Mrs Simkins '

out this month!




You can email Mrs Simkins at


Mrs Simkins Suggests...


London Pottery Company Red and White Spotty Teapot


spotty teapot

I seem to have so many teapots that I really must not even think about giving a home to another! Even so, I couldn’t resist a peep at the teapot section of John Lewis online. They have a lovely selection (some of them at prices to make your eyes water, mind you) but this cheerful red and white spotty one immediately caught my eye. It’s just the sort of thing to lift the spirits now that the nights are drawing in and at £16 for a generous 6 cup size, it won’t break the bank either. If you are working up to some early (very early!) Christmas shopping, it might also make a good present for a tea-lover of your acquaintance.


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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