Sponge, apple pie and sticky date pudding: tried and tested dessert recipes from the CWA

Never fail sponge
(Pictured above)

Makes two 20cm cakes

4 eggs, separated
Small pinch of salt
¾ cup (165g) caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
¾ cup (90g) cornflour
1 large tbsp custard powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 175C.

Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in caster sugar. Beat well until very thick, stiff peaks form. Gently fold in egg yolks and vanilla.

Add twice-sifted dry ingredients, then gently fold them through the egg mixture until combined.

Turn evenly into two well-greased sandwich tins, 21cm x 6cm deep.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the sides of the cake have shrunk a little from the side of the tins.

Turn out to cool, then slice through and fill with cream and jam, to make two individual layered cakes, or one big cake with four layers.

Ice or decorate the top as required; in the photo the cake is topped with strawberry halves and dusted with icing sugar.


For a chocolate sponge, add two tablespoons of cocoa powder to dry ingredients.

Sticky date puddings

Serves 6

Butter, for greasing
180ml strained orange juice
Zest of 1 orange, finely chopped
180g pitted dates, chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
90g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
50g (¼ cup) brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
180g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the caramel sauce
150g (¾ cup) brown sugar
120ml regular pouring cream
140g butter
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease six one cup (250ml) metal moulds. Set aside.

Bring orange juice to the boil in small saucepan. Add zest and dates, turn off heat, and stir in vanilla and bicarbonate of soda. Cool.

Beat together butter and sugars using an electric mixer or hand-held electric beater until light and fluffy. With the mixer going, drizzle in eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition. The batter may look a little curdled at this time. Fold in flour and cinnamon, then the date mixture.

Place moulds on a baking tray and divide batter evenly between them. Bake about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.

To make the caramel sauce put all sauce ingredients in saucepan over medium heat, stir until smooth, then boil for three minutes. Keep warm.

Cool puddings for five minutes before turning out.

Pour caramel sauce over the top and serve with cream. Garnish with walnuts, pecans or strawberries.

Old-fashioned apple pie
Serves 6

4 large cooking apples, peeled and diced
⅓ cup (75 g) sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
115g butter
30g sugar, extra
1 egg
225g (1½ cups) self-raising flour
4 tbsp milk
Caster sugar, for sprinkling

Stew the apple in a pan with the sugar, lemon juice and very little water over a low heat until the apples are soft.

Cream butter and extra sugar, then beat in egg. Add sifted flour and milk alternately, and mix to a soft dough.

Divide dough in two. Roll out each half separately between two sheets of plastic wrap, as the dough is very soft.

Use half the dough to line a 25cm tart plate or pie dish. Fill with the warm stewed apple and cover with remainder of pastry. Trim edges and press together.

Decorate with leftover pastry scraps and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Bake in moderate oven (190C) for about 30–40 minutes, until pastry is cooked and golden.