Barbara's Spiced Sponge Cake With Quince

This recipe corrals all the classic wintry spices together for a delightful, perfectly-textured sponge cake. Barbara, Islington store team member and pastry chef, designed it to be perfect for the clear bowl of the Ankarsrum Assistent Original Mixer. The quince topping and syrup does take a bit of time, and every minute is worth it, but the cake is beautiful on its own too, or with another seasonal glaze or icing of your choice.


For the Cake:
4 eggs
300g granulated or caster sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
240g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
75g salted butter
100ml full-fat milk
Pinch of salt
For the Quince Topping:
400g muscovado sugar
1 litre water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise pod
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla paste
5 slices of ginger root
Juice of 3 lemons (the ones from the zest above)
3 quinces, cut in quarters


For the Quince Topping:
  1. In a large casserole over low heat, add the sugar, the water, the spices and the lemon juice and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the quince and let it simmer for a minimum of 45 mins to an hour.

  2. Once cooked, remove the quince from the spiced syrup and set them aside to cool down. Leave the syrup to reduce for another 20 min at medium heat. Once the quinces have cooled down, slice the quarters and set aside until ready to assemble the cake.
For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease and flour a bundt pan or rectangular cake tin.

  2. Assemble your Ankarsrum mixer with the clear beater bowl and balloon whisks. Add the eggs, sugar, lemon and orange zest. Beat on medium speed until the batter is very airy and light, 5-8 minutes.

  3. Separately, whisk the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl. Set aside.

  4. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and add the spices, letting it infuse until it starts to smell fragrant. Add the milk and turn off the heat. Mix to combine.

  5. Add the flour mixture and milk mixture to the Ankarsrum, half a portion of each at a time, mixing after each addition until just combined.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and layer the quince slices (not the syrup) on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sides of the cake pull easily from the pan and a cake tester comes out clean. 

  7. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it onto a wire rack and letting it cool completely. Once cooled, brush the cake with the spiced quince syrup and serve.

BK Tips

  • You’ll have plenty of quince syrup leftover, and it’s excellent on toast, as part of a cheese plate, and so much more. It will keep in the fridge for a month.

  • Zesting is a lot easier with a Microplane.