“This all-in-one sponge method is perfect for beginner bakers and proves that baking can be super-easy, so get stuck in – the results are mega. Beautiful fluffy sponge topped with caramelised apple slices. Also, I’ve used oil instead of butter here because it creates a really light texture and best of all, it contains less saturated fat.”
Serves 10 to 12
Total time 45 to 50 minutes
300g self-raising flour
175g golden caster sugar
200ml semi-skimmed milk
175ml grapeseed or sunfower oil
1 large free-range egg 1 lemon
1⁄2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tablespoon ground ginger
2 eating apples
4 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line a loaf tin (roughly 12cm x 22cm x 7cm deep) with greaseproof paper.
2 Mix the flour, caster sugar, milk, oil and egg together in a bowl until lovely and smooth.
3 Finely grate in the lemon zest, add the cinnamon and ginger, then stir through the mixture.
4 Core and finely slice the apples, place them in a separate bowl and squeeze over half the lemon juice. Add 3 tablespoons of the soft brown sugar and mix well with your hands, making sure all of the slices are coated.
5 Transfer the cake mixture to the lined tin, then pile the apple slices on top, gently pushing them down into the sponge mixture.
6 Scatter over the remaining tablespoon of soft brown sugar, then bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden and risen. To check it’s cooked through, poke a cocktail stick or skewer into the centre of the cake; if it comes out clean, it’s ready.
7 Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then lift out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Jamie Oliver’s tip
This basic sponge recipe is super-versatile and works for muffins too – swap the apples, spices and brown sugar for drained tinned cherries, a squeeze of fresh orange juice and a dash of almond extract, then divide between muffin cases and bake. Top with icing and toasted almonds, if you like.