we were given a large bag of apples recently and while most were stewed for adding to smoothies (this is the best way for me to guarantee i have some fruit each day) i kept a few back for making an apple cake.

i wanted to try something new and chose this jamie oliver recipe for an italian apple cake. actually, it’s less a cake and more like “a clafoutis… or bread and butter pudding” which wasn’t what i wanted (i should have read the recipe more closely!) but still a pleasure to eat.

as you can see in the photo, the texture is solid and it reminded me of the pieces of bread and butter pudding that you can sometimes buy on market stalls (my b&b pudding is much lighter and more custardy). jamie’s recipe calls for figs, raisins and sultanas – i used a mix of dried cranberries and prunes (which i cut into small pieces and warmed in a little brandy). i think you can be completely flexible with this aspect of the recipe - use whatever dried fruit you have left over from making your xmas cake and pudding.

jamie oliver’s polenta and apple cake (bustrengo) serves 8

a knob of butter

100g polenta

200g plain flour, sifted

100g stale breadcrumbs

100g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

500m full fat milk

3 large eggs, beaten

100g runny honey

55ml olive oil

100g dried figs, chopped or torn up

100g raisins or sultanas

500g firm eating apples, peeled, cored and roughly diced

½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

zest of 2 oranges

zest of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon salt

preheat the oven to 180ºc and butter a shallow 28cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

mix the polenta, flour, breadcrumbs and sugar in a large bowl. in a separate bowl, mix together the milk, eggs, honey and olive oil. add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, making sure you stir it all together well. add the figs, raisins, apples, cinnamon, orange and lemon zest and salt, and stir again.

pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes. keep an eye on it – you may need to cover it with some foil if you find that it starts to brown too much at the edges. before serving, sprinkle over some caster sugar. then make sure you eat it warm – lovely with a dollop of crème fraîche and a glass of vin santo!