Sunday, August 28, 2011

Aptly-named sponge

Since I'm yet again falling behind with the cake mix-based recipes, I decided tonight might be a good time to make easy fruit sponge (p216). Since a full recipe would be far too much to eat by myself, I decided to split the contents of my Edmonds butter cake mix in half, using the first half to make the sponge, and setting aside the rest of the packet to use in another recipe later on.

Since I needed some stewed fruit for the sponge, I started by chopping up a couple of apples and putting them on to cook. When they had started to soften, I made a start on the sponge.

The recipe begins with putting the cake mix, eggs, water and butter in a mixer. I couldn't be bothered dragging out my big mixer, so I used my electric beater instead, which worked just as well. You have to use the lowest speed for a start - so you don't get the dry ingredients spraying all over the room - then, once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, you turn it up to a medium speed and beat for a couple of minutes.

After two minutes' beating, the mixture was pale and fluffy. I spooned my apples into an oven dish and spread the sponge mixture on top. The recipe indicates a cooking time of 35-40 minutes, but since mine was a half-recipe, and particularly because I'd decided to use my benchtop oven, I expected it would take considerably less than that.

My benchtop oven is a useful little device, and I manage to bake in it quite successfully - I just have to keep an eye on what I'm cooking, as the food's a lot closer to the element than in a standard oven, and can burn quite quickly. For instance, my sponge went very brown on top before it was cooked in the middle. I had to (very carefully) place a piece of baking paper on top of the sponge to prevent it browning further as it cooked.

After about 25 minutes, my sponge was ready. Apart from that slight over-browning on the top,  it was perfect: lovely and light, with a slight gooeyness where it had sucked up the apple juices. There didn't seem to be much apple in proportion to the sponge, but that was almost certainly my error, as I didn't actually measure the apple to make sure I had enough.

So yes, easy fruit sponge makes a pretty good pudding. And, as the name would indicate, it's very easy to make. On the other hand, I have non-cake mix recipe somewhere that has a very similar result, so I don't see myself buying a cake mix specially to make a fruit sponge. But if you prefer the reliability of cake mixes, this might be one for you to try.

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