Cakes & Bakes: Almond and blueberry sponge pudding

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard | H is for Home

I’ve had a slow-cooker for ages and, like most people, don’t make use of it nearly enough. It sits lonely in my kitchenette waiting patiently for its opportunity to shine. Last week, I saw a slow-cooker recipe for a cherry Bakewell pudding and decided to convert it into and almond and blueberry sponge pudding.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding components | H is for Home

It’s a real no fuss, straightforward recipe. I swapped cherries for blueberries; however raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants or blackcurrants would work just as well.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding ready to be steamed | H is for Home

I highly recommend these reusable silicone pot covers as a green alternative to cling film. They come in six graduated sizes from 3-8 inches so fit containers ranging from ramekins to medium-sized mixing bowls. I use them all the time for storing food in the fridge and heating things in the microwave. I’ve now discovered that they’re perfect as a slow-steaming pudding lid!

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding in a slow cooker | H is for Home

If like me you like a bit of a crispy texture, you can stick the pudding under the grill for a couple of minutes at the end of its cooking time.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding browned under a grill | H is for Home

We served our almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard. The flavour combination of almond sponge and vanilla custard with a touch of fruity sharpness from the blueberries is a real winner.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest!

Almond and blueberry sponge pudding
Serves 4
Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
  1. 150g/5¼oz blueberries, frozen and thawed
  2. 115g/4oz sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
  3. 110g/4oz butter, softened
  4. 2 eggs
  5. ½ tsp almond extract
  6. 75g/2⅔oz self-raising flour
  7. 75g/2⅔oz ground almonds
  8. 2 tbsp milkHome-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding ingredients
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  1. Grease a 1.2-litre pudding basin, including the lid if it has one In a small saucepan, heat the blueberrries and the 3 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar dissolves and the fruit begins to burst and the juice is released. Remove from the heat before the fruit collapses. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and the remaining sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is loose and airy
  4. Add the almond extract and combine
  5. Fold in the flour and ground almonds
  6. Add in the milk and combine gently. The batter should have a light texture
  7. Put 100g of the blueberries in the bottom of the basin and pour the batter over the top of them. It won't fill the basin, but don't worry as this will give it space to expand as it cooks. Reserve the remaining cherries until later
  8. Cover the basin securely with the lid and set it into the slow-cooker crock
  9. Pour boiling water into the crock to come halfway up the side of the basin
  10. Put the lid on the slow cooker and steam on high for about 4 hours. It will rise, becoming a light, fluffy sponge
  11. Turn the pudding out onto a plate, piling the reserved cherries on top, and allow the blueberry juice to drizzle down the sides of the pudding before spooning into servings
  1. Serve warm with hot custard
Adapted from Slow Cooked
Adapted from Slow Cooked
H is for Home Harbinger


Cakes & Bakes: Blueberry pie

Slice of home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

It’s been almost six months since I last posted a pie recipe on Cakes & Bakes. I’ve righted that wrong this week with a blueberry pie.

Blueberry pie pastry dough | H is for Home Uncooked blueberry pie pastry case | H is for Home

Blueberries, sugar & spice | H is for Home

My recipe is a hodgepodge of three others. The blueberry pie filling is from my vintage 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, Dinner for Two; the sweet pastry is from Dorie Granspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and the crème anglaise is from that catering college staple, Ceserani & Kinton’s Practical Cookery.

Blueberry pie pastry case and sugared blueberries | H is for Home

Much as I enjoyed this bake, if I were to make another blueberry pie, I’d do it a little differently.

Home-made blueberry pie and lid | H is for Home

Firstly, the blueberry pie filling was WAY too sweet for my taste. Perhaps it wouldn’t have tasted so sweet if the pastry I’d used had been just a plain shortcrust.

Uncooked home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Secondly, the filling recipe calls for ½ teaspoon of cinnamon; Justin liked it, but it just didn’t work for me.

Crème Anglaise ingredients | H is for Home

Thirdly (and lastly), I had my first slice with crème anglaise and my second (not straight after, obviously 🙂 ) with double cream. I much preferred the latter version.

Home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Perhaps I’ll test my 3rd portion with vanilla ice cream – all in the name of research on behalf of our readers, of course!

Blueberry pie
For the pastry
  1. 400g/14oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 250g/9oz very cold butter
  5. 2 egg yolks
For the filling
  1. 125g/4½oz caster sugar
  2. 30g/1oz plain flour
  3. ½tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 375g/13oz blueberries
  5. 2 tbs butter
For the crème anglaise
  1. 300ml/½pt milk
  2. 25g/1oz caster sugar
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 2-3 drops vanilla extract (I used ¼tsp vanilla bean paste)Home-made blueberry pie ingredients
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For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
For the filling
  1. Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon
  2. Stir in the blueberries
  3. Turn into pastry-lined pie dish and dot with butter
  4. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
  5. Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little milk
  6. Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through slits in the crust
For the crème anglaise
  1. Boil the milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Allow to cool a little
  2. Mix yolks, sugar and vanilla in a basin before adding to the milk
  3. Put the saucepan back on a low heat and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the desired thickness. Do NOT boil
  4. Pass through a fine sieve into a serving jug
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Banana blueberry cranberry buttermilk cake

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slice of banana blueberry cranberry buttermilk cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

We always have a stash of berries in the freezer. It’s usually a lot cheaper than fresh – and often more nutritious, not deteriorating on the supermarket shelves over time. And it means you can get hold of them all year round. It’s usually blueberries from Morrisons, only £2 for a 350 gram container. Sometimes it’s strawberries from Lidl.

I bought a container of fresh cranberries at Christmas when they were on offer, and put them straight into the freezer with the intention of doing something with them at a later date. The first thing I did was to use some of them in a smoothie. I thought the smoothie was quite tasty but after the first sip, Justin pulled a face like he’d just sucked on a lemon!

My second cranberry endeavour has been much more successful. I made a banana blueberry cranberry buttermilk cake. ‘Tasty. More an afternoon cake with a cup of tea, than a dessert cake.’, was the verdict. I think that meant he approved!

Banana, blueberry & cranberry buttermilk cake

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: makes 8-10 slices

Banana, blueberry & cranberry buttermilk cake


  • 115g butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 60ml buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ¼tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch tsp salt
  • 3 bananas
  • 100g blueberries
  • 50g cranberries (I used frozen blueberries & cranberries, but you can use fresh if it's in season)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. In a food processor, using the K-beater attachment, cream the butter & caster sugar until fluffy
  3. In a small measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs, before adding them to the butter & sugar, a little at a time, mixing after each addition
  4. Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla extract
  5. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together - flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
  6. Add the dry to the wet mixture in 3 stages, mixing after each addition
  7. Roughly slice the bananas and mix into the batter
  8. With a spatula, fold in the blueberries and cranberries
  9. Pour the batter into a greased 23cm/9inch loose-based deep sandwich cake tin and make level with the spatula
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
  11. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before running a sharp knife around the inside circumference of the tin and easing it away
  12. Allow to cool on a wire rack

Wednesday Wish: Fruit trees

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Blueberries, quince and damsons
Image credits: blueberries, quince, damsons

Spring is coming, spring is coming!

That means that we’ll be able to get back to using our garden again. It’s looking really sorry for itself at the moment – neglected, frost-shattered terracotta pots

Much as I love pretty, jaunty annuals, I never feel like they’re value for money. I prefer having bulbs – they bring pleasure year after year and once they’ve been planted, the majority of them just get on with it.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about investing a bit more and getting a few fruit trees. Top of my list are damsons, quinces and blueberries. I make jams & jellies so fruit from my own garden will make it all that more “home-made”.

Bluberries really suit where we live – they love acid soil and you can grow them in pots (the majority of our garden is cobbled stone setts). Damsons are famous for growing well “up north” – apparently they like a bit of damp – they’ll feel right at home with us then! I’ve wanted my own quince tree ever since I made a batch of jelly from a big bag of quinces given to me by a friend of Granny Glittens. They’re not the kind of fruit you tend to find to readily in shops or markets and the jelly is fragrant, delicious and a beautiful amber colour.

I think I’d like to turn our little plot into a micro orchard!