Cider Sponge

Makes a 7-8" (18-20cm) square sponge
From Marsh Mash Spring 2018

03 Shirleys Cider Sponge slice web


4oz (112g) dried mixed fruit (use anything you wish, so long as it is chopped into small pieces)
4oz (112g) softened butter or spread (must be suitable for baking)
4oz (112g) caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
2 large eggs beaten
8oz (225g) self raising flour
2 x teaspoons mixed spice
Scant ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Bottle of sweet or medium cider (I used a litre of Biddenden medium) - you will need 5fl oz (140ml for this recipe)


  • Soak the dried fruit in 2fl oz (56ml) of the cider overnight
  • Reserve a further 3fl oz (85ml) of cider for the recipe before pouring yourself a glass to drink02 Shirleys Cider Sponge web
  • Set oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C / gas mark 5
  • Grease and line a 7-8" (18-20cm) square cake tin (or silicone pan)
  • In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence together until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition
  • Whisk 3fl oz (85ml) cider to make it slightly frothy, then fold gently into the egg mix, then add the cider-soaked fruit mixture and combine gently together
  • Sift the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda together, then gently fold in to the mix
  • Turn mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top and make a slight well in the centre (allows for rising more in the centre than at the edges). Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and beginning to crack on top
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the cake tin before turning out and cutting into pieces. Serve with custard, cream, ice cream (or anything you wish) plus any remaining cider from the bottle.

Note: this can be eaten as a cake if stored in an air tight container once cold.

Try this bonus recipe:

Slow cooked smoked ham in spiced cider

Soak a 750g (1lb 10oz) joint of smoked ham over night in cold water to remove the saltiness. The next day, drain the ham and rinse under cold running water before placing it in the slow cooker with 2 chopped carrots, 1 large chunkily chopped onion, some small waxy potatoes (Charlotte are very good for this), 8 cloves and 3 bay leaves (if you have it, add a sachet of Mulled Wine Spices). Pour 1.25 litre (just over 2 pints) cider into a large saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of mixed spice (or use a mix of cinnamon, coriander, ginger and nutmeg) and gently bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Pour boiling cider over the ham and vegetables, put the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on auto. Serve however you wish - hot with the cider infused vegetables and a sauce of your choice, cold with salad or chips, in sandwiches, it's up to you! You can even use some of the cooking liquid to create a sauce or use the vegetables and cooking liquid to make a cidery soup (mash everything together and season to taste).

For details of Kent Ciders go to: