Apple and blackcurrant sponge

Craving something sweet? Check out Sir Graham Henry’s apple and blackcurrant sponge recipe from the newly released NZ Rugby Stars Cookbook.

Serves 4–6



  • 6 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 
  • 1 cup water 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • 125 g butter, softened 
  • ½ cup caster sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 cup standard flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • About ½ cup full-cream milk 
  • 1 cup frozen blackcurrants 
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar, for dusting

To serve: 

  • Vanilla custard
  • Ice cream or whipped vanilla-flavoured cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Lightly grease a 4-cup-capacity ovenproof dish. Place the sliced apple in a saucepan together with the water and sugar. Cover, place over a medium heat and gently cook until the apple is soft, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the ovenproof dish and keep hot. 
  2. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat in well. 
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder together and gently fold into the creamed mixture. Gently fold in enough milk to give the batter a soft consistency that drops easily from the spoon. 
  4. Swirl the frozen blackcurrants through the hot apple. Spoon the sponge mixture over the top and place the dish in the oven. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the sponge is golden and springs back when lightly touched in the middle. 
  5. Remove the sponge from the oven and sift the icing sugar over the top. Serve hot with vanilla custard, ice cream or whipped vanilla-flavoured cream.

SIR GRAHAM HENRY is one of the most successful coaches to have worked with the All Blacks. During his 140 matches as coach, he led the national side to victories in five Tri Nations tournaments, three Grand Slams, a series against the British and Irish Lions and one Rugby World Cup. He also received the IRB Coach of the Year Award a record five times. Sir Graham is a patron of the Rugby Foundation.

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