Would you agree that most cooks have a collection of baking recipes stored in a haphazard array of torn out articles and handwritten notes?  Possibly a few online printed versions will be included in the assortment, but definitely everything will be splattered from measuring ingredients and causing some to be precariously stuck together.  When the need arises they are eased carefully apart to check quantities of a favourite cake or pudding.  The fragile paper, discoloured from time, is then folded gently back along their familiar creases reminiscent of laughter lines on a kind face. Like the recipe below, the ‘tried and tested’ methods have been been shared between neighbours (thank you Kate!) or from mother to daughter.


However they may be stored, hidden invisibly within the pages there is the most wonderful love. As a nation we seem to have become devoted to baking but beyond that, and more importantly, is the love for the friends and family that we want to bake for.


Kate’s Dorset Apple Cake


You need:

175 g (6oz )     Butter – softened

250g (9oz)       Self Raising Flour

175g (6oz)       Caster Sugar

700g (24oz)     Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced

3                      Free range eggs – lightly whisked together


20cm or 8″ round greased tin and lined with baking parchment




Make sure that your cold shelf is ready for use in a 2-oven AGA with the grid shelf on the floor.  If baking in a 4-oven AGA we recommend that you set the shelf on the first setting from the floor of the oven.  If baking in a conventional oven set the temperature to 160 C or Gas Mark 3

Prepare your baking tin.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Add the whisked eggs and half of the flour, mix carefully together.  Add the remaining flour and mix to combine.

Add the apples to the mixture and mix together.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until a golden colour and firm to the touch.  Remember to insert the cold shelf into a 2-oven AGA before you slide your tin onto the grid shelf.


Test the cake with a skewer to make sure it is fully cooked and then leave in the tin to cool, then transfer to a cooling rack to get completely cold.


If the cake is not eaten on the same day, cover and store in the fridge and allow to reach room temperature before serving.