The small recipe booklet in the latest Olive magazine is 25 things to do with chocolate, including a good example of an easy yet properly big cake – double chocolate fudge cake, which looked quite appealing, all I needed was an excuse to make one. Luckily, one of my best friends and his family were dropping by for a visit this weekend, so that was all the pretext I needed to start making merry in the kitchen.
I’m not the most proficient baker, but I do like to learn new things, especially something that doesn’t fit into my normal small individual cakes. The recipe was pretty easy to be honest, and isn’t mine so I can’t repeat it here, but it was an all-in-one method that produced a thick sticky dough (I bent a metal spoon nearly in half so had to break out a wooden one) that was a bit of a challenge to spread over greaseproof paper in my sandwich tin (removable bases are wonderful things). The chocolate fudge icing was very sticky, but at least my electric whisk took care of creaming the butter and icing sugar.
Whilst I was at it, I also made a white chocolate fridge cake, which looked catastrophically sweet and unhealthy. Again, nothing complicate: crushed ameretti biscuits and dried fruit with melted white choc, butter and cream poured through and left to set. If I were doing it again, I’d leave out just about all of the butter, it looked very unappetising from the outside once it was set, although the cross section was alright.
I also wanted to make a non-choc sweet munch but thankfully inspiration was at hand on the internet, so I nicked the idea of making jam cakes from Mrs C. She followed a recipe from a book I don’t have, but I was able to learn enough about it from the comments on the author‘s blog. As far as I can tell, they’re supposed to be rock cakes with a surprise dollop of raspberry jam in the middle.
A quick flick through my bookshelves confirmed that a basic rock cake mix is 4 parts self raising flour to 1 part butter and 1 part sugar, with sufficient liquid added (between 1 and 2 parts) to hold it all together. I needed to have sufficent control over the raw cake to mould it around half a teaspoon of jam, so I made it more like a sticky dough than a sponge’s batter. Even using a pair of small chopsticks, I found making a small cup, adding the jam and then covering it over to be quite a fiddle, I suspect I made my dough a little too sticky. Baked for about 15 minutes, they came out looking quite respectable, although some had jam peeking out where I wasn’t careful enough. The overall effect was a light scone with the jam already provided, resistant to breaking apart and very portable in their paper cases.
Will I do those recipes again? Two out of three, yes. Next time I need an easy but Proper cake, I’ll wheel out the choc again. Those individual jam buns are definately up for another refinement or two before I publish my method, there’s got to be a way to make them more quickly without resorting to a full pipe. The white choc fridge cake on the other hand, was far too sweet and sickly for more than 1 mouthful. That’s destined for the office, my team at work will eat more or less anything that’s left on top of the fridge. Although it did give me an idea for a marbled or layered fridge cake..
The tea? Fortnum and Mason do mail order. ’nuff said.