Never judge a (cook) book by its cover

I know that one should never judge a book by its cover, but I often find myself doing just that, particularly when it comes to recipes. I always seem to opt for the recipes that entice me in with their accompanying perfectly-styled picture. The recipes that are just text alone are often untouched and ignored. Well, I can speak for experience that it pays to give these recipes a try. It's actually quite exciting, not quite knowing what the end outcome will look like. You could find yourself with a triumphant result on plate if you're lucky.

apple cake

This Apple Cake was such a recipe. It came from a tatty old cookery magazine pull-out. I found myself with an abundance of apples on an occasion and decided to take a blindfolded leap into this recipe and see what turned out. What did turn out was a rather delicious cake; it's a recipe that I have since return to on several occasions. So the moral of this story, is try those recipes that don't have the alluring images. You really don't have much to loose.

Here is that apple cake  recipe. But I must say it does seem to miss-the-point as I have shown you a picture of the results.

But hey, this is a design blog, where my text alone just wouldn't do, hence the image. Hopefully it will fill you with confidence to tackle that recipe that is, at this moment, just black and white print.

Apple Cake

175g / 6oz butter, plus extra for greasing

3 eggs

350g / 12oz self-rasing flour

2 tsp cinnamon

175g / 6oz light muscovado sugar

3 medium eating apples

100g / 4oz dates, halved, stoned and finely chopped

100g / 4oz hazelnuts, roughly chopped

3 tbsp apricot jam

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Lightly butter a deep 20cm loose-based or springform round cake tin, then line the base with baking parchment. Melt the butter and allow it to cool for 5 mins. Crack the eggs into the butter and beat well. Mix the flour with the cinnamon and the sugar. Core and cut two apples (unpeeled) into bite-size chunks. Mix the apples into the flour along with the dates and half the shopped hazelnuts. Pour the egg and butter mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir together. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top.

Thinly slice the remaining apple, (unpeeled) into circles, discard the pips, then arrange over the top of the cake. Sprinkle over the remaining hazelnuts. Bake for 50 mins - 1 hour until the cake is cooked and risen. Check it is done by pushing a skewer into the centre -  it should come out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 mins.

Remove the cake from the tin, peel off the paper and transfer the cake to a wire rack. While the cake is still warm, gently heat the apricot jam in a small pan. Brush it over the top of the cake and cool completely. Keeps for up to 3 days.