I AM sorry that this may not come in time for all those summer cake stalls, but file it away. I worked out this recipe over this year and was very grateful for it recently for a pre-school bring-and-buy, remembering fondly my old friend Kath, who greeted the slip of paper that came home from school in a satchel demanding a contribution for a cake stall with, “Never mind the sodding cakes: I’d rather just write a cheque.”
This Chocolate cake isn’t too toxic, is not too expensive, can be easily cut into purchaseable squares, and is extremely quick to make.
Heat the oven to 375ºF/180ºC/Gas 5 and line a large roasting tin with baking parchment, or for a large sandwich cake, prepare two deep sandwich tins. Put into a food processor:
280g (10 oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
400g (14 oz) sugar
225ml (7 fl. oz) milk or yogurt
90ml (3 fl. oz) vegetable oil
Whizz all the ingredients together to form a smooth batter and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted into the cake and come out clean. Allow the cake to cook for a few minutes, and then lift out and cool on a wire rack. I find that this works very well with wholewheat flour, coconut sugar, rapeseed oil, and organic raw cacao powder.
This Chocolate fudge icing is also the easiest, most economical, and delicious that I’ve yet discovered, and doesn’t require much butter, icing sugar, or much sieving, but if you have a better one, please let me know.
200g (7 oz) granulated sugar
50g (1½ oz) cocoa
60ml (2 fl. oz) milk
50g (1½ oz) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan in which you can use an electric whisk. Bring the mixture gently to the boil so that the sugar melts as it heats, and then boil for one minute. Then whisk the mixture for three minutes until it is soft and thick. Spread on the cooled cake. There should be enough for a generous covering for the rectangular cake, or plenty to fill and cover a sandwich cake.
While the cocoa tin is out, let me offer the simplest Chocolate sauce, which is useful for making profiteroles or Poires Belle Hélène, or just to pour over ice cream.
30g (1 oz) cocoa powder
55g (2 oz) sugar
100ml (3 fl. oz) water or milk
10g (½ oz)butter
½-1 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)
Melt and then whisk together the first three ingredients in a pan over a gentle heat, and then bring to the boil for a minute or two. Cool slightly and stir in the butter, and the vanilla, if you like it.