So, with the prospect of the French Open Mens tennis final and footy in the form of the European Championships taking up most of my Sunday, i made the most of my OH taking TheYoungLady swimming to bake a cake – for sustainance during all this sport-watching obviously!
It had been some time since i’d baked just by myself and i’d forgotten how much i enjoyed it. Whilst i love baking with my daughter, it can be less than relaxing at times and i decided i needed to bake solitary. I have some rhubarb (from father in law’s garden) so a crumble is on the cards but i fancied chocolate and thought i’d dip into a book i haven’t yet cooked from. Viewers in the UK will be aware of the TV amateur baking competition phenomenon that is The Great British Bake Off and the firm guidance of renowned cookery writer and baker, Mary Berry and Master Baker Paul Hollywood. The book i have (The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake – recipes by Linda Collister) is from the second series and does include some scary technical challenges but also some great ideas for baking with kids and baked goods that aren’t too complicated (ahem – see below).I however made a couple of mistakes which proved to be quite dramatic.
Chocolate Chilli Cake (described as ‘A plain and fairly simple chocolate loaf cake..with a kick)
Makes 1 large loaf cake
250ml semi-skimmed or full-fat milk
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken up
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
250g plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g unsalted butter, softened
300g light brown muscovado sugar (i just used normal light brown sugar)
1 tablespoon black treacle
3 large free-range eggs at room temperature
cocoa powder or icing sugar, for dusting
1 900g loaf tin, about 26 x 12.5 x 7.5cm greased and the base lined with baking paper
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Heat the milk in a small pan until scalding hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, ginger and Tabasco (for some reason i must have misread the recipe and added the treacle here too – DON’T). Stir or whisk gently until melted and smooth. Leave to cool. Meanwhile, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Set aside until needed.
2) Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until creamy. Make sure the sugar is free of lumps then gradually beat it into the butter, followed by the treacle. Beat thoroughly for 4 to 5 minutes or until the mixture looks much paler and fluffier in texture.
3) Beat the eggs with a fork just to mix, then gradually add to the mixture, beating well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternately with the cold chocolate milk (Book tip – Make sure the chocolate milk is cold before mixing it into the creamed mixture or it will melt the butter). When thoroughly combined pour into the prepared tin and spread evenly.
4) Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until form and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes – the cake will shrink slightly – then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. For the best flavour, wrap the bake in foil and keep for a day before cutting. Dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar before serving.
The two mistakes i made were: putting the treacle into the chocolate milk and not cooling the chocolate milk enough. So what happened in the over was a Vesuvius-like eruption of cake mixture when in the oven:
So, i was panicking a bit at this point and was might glad i’d put the loaf tin on a huge baking tray. I was thinking i’d put too much baking powder/bicarb in, but i’d definately stuck to the recipe. It soon settled though and so ended up looking like this when cooked:
So, the bonus here (thanks to my OH:-) is that i ended up with a loaf cake plus extra bits! However, am not too despondent and have learned from my mistakes. Next time, i’ll definately make sure my chocolate milk is cool enough and not add the treacle to it. It tastes great though next time i’d also add more ground ginger and Tabasco for heat (i can’t really taste the Chilli). Next day it tasted even better, was still ridiculously moist and even my daughter wolfed a wedge of it down (she loves baking but normally doesn’t eat cake!).