Recipe Number Sixty Eight: Page 175.
I have made this traybake once before, when I was a teenager, so it was a while ago now! My mum and dad had asked if I could bake something for a few friends who were popping over for coffee. Unfortunately my parents did not realise that several of the guests were vegan and another couldn't eat chocolate, so we ended up eating the cake ourselves after they had left and very nice it was too – their loss!
I think this has to be one of the most expensive cakes I have made so far. I needed some of the ingredients and was running late for the train, so I raced into Marks and Spencer to buy what I needed. My heart nearly stopped when I saw the price of the cocoa powder! I hoped the end result would be worth the expense!
I had so much to do in the afternoon, I didn't get round to baking until 9pm – usual story! The first job was to measure out some of my expensive cocoa powder and add some hot water, which formed a thick paste. The mixture smelt heavenly. I imagined it wouldn't taste anywhere near as nice as it smelt, but I have a curious nature (in more ways than one) so I had to lick the spoon. I was right. It was foul, I wouldn't recommend it! After that, all I had to do was measure the other cake ingredients into a bowl and combine them. I retrieved my electric whisk and beat the mixture together until smooth. I managed to get splattered with cake mix. I think my whisk is a bit over zealous as it is not the first time this has happened. The resulting mixture was very thick, so I couldn't just pour it into my tin; it had to be spooned in. Neil was busy working in the garden, (we seem to do everything late) so I got to lick the bowl out! I think it has to be my most pleasing bowl licking experience. I couldn't believe the cooked cake could taste so good! The cake went into the oven for 35 – 40 mins. I reluctantly washed up and then went to sit down. Neil came in from the garden and, as he walked past, he kindly informed me that I had cake mix on my hand and neck!! I'd been caught out!
It was nearly 10pm by the time the cake was out of the oven. It had risen really well and it looked great. I left it to cool in the tin over night. It was too late to wait for it to cool and ice it, so I headed up to bed. First thing in the morning I started on the icing. I brushed the now cold cake with some warmed apricot jam; Mary says this is worth doing as it prevents crumbs getting into the icing, a great tip. Next step was to melt some chocolate. As it melted I manically raced round with the vacuum cleaner. We were being picked up in an hour by a friend who was taking us on a picnic. All hot and bothered, I went back to my now melted chocolate and stirred in some sifted icing sugar, together with a teaspoon of sunflower oil. I can only presume that the sunflower oil is to give a glossy icing. I got my electric whisk out and beat everything together. I soon regretted doing the cleaning first as pellets of mixture scattered on the floor! Something wasn't right; it was way too dry. I checked the instructions and found that I also needed to add six tablespoons of water! Once I'd added the necessary water, the mixture transformed to a glossy rich chocolate icing. I spread the thick icing over the cake and then left it to set for half an hour while I tried to tidy away my son's ridiculous amount of toys.
Mary says to add some chocolate curls to the top of the cake for decoration. Apparently chocolate cake covering works particularly well (needs to be at room temperature). This was good as I had some that needed using up. I found my swivel peeler and scraped it along the flat side of the chocolate bar as instructed. Unfortunately, the chocolate did not form delicate curls but flaked. Never mind, it looked perfectly fine to me. I was really pleased with it. I had a crafty little slice before we were collected and it was a lovely cake. I particularly liked the icing. The cake was slightly dry, but this might just have been because I had made it the night before.
I took it on the picnic and it seemed to go down well. Some had a second slice. Neil got some too and he commented on how light and chocolatey it was. I am pleased with this cake, as with most traybakes it is so easy to make and tastes so good!