Tag: cake tin

Dark chocolate and mallow brownies

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  • Makes: 15

  • Prep time: 20 mins

  • Cooking time: 30 mins

  • Total time: 50 mins

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Mid-price

Dense and truffley in texture, these brownies are finished off with a lightly fluffy topping of marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate sauce for extra indulgence. Deliciously chocolately, this easy recipe will make an impressive dessert


  • 100g 70% cocoa chocolate
  • 130g unsalted butter
  • 350g dark brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs, beaten
  • 130g self raising flour
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate sauce to drizzle


That’s goodtoknow

These brownies taste even better the day after baking, so once they have cooled, wrap up the tin and store for 24 hours before slicing as above. For more chocolate flavour, add 75g milk, plain or white chocolate chunks to the mixture with the flour.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 30 x 20cm rectangular cake tin with baking parchment. Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl; add the butter and set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until melted. Remove from the water, stir in the sugar; cool for 10 mins.
  2. Gradually whisk in the eggs to make a thick glossy mixture. Sift the flour on top and carefully fold the ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Transfer to the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake in the oven for about 30 mins until the mixture is risen, has a slight crust yet is still slightly soft underneath. Scatter or arrange the marshmallows on top and leave the brownies to cool in the tin.
  4. To serve, slice into 15 portions and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

By Kathryn Hawkins

What do you think of this recipe? Leave us your comments, twist and handy tips.

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Another chocolate cake

My husband has been away filming in Canada for the last week and I have surprised myself by not having a nervous breakdown and not having to go and live at my mum’s house.

I really am surprised about this, I am usually absolutely terrible at being by myself, which is strange for someone who is mostly so antisocial and so unfriendly. I always think I will be much better, much more at peace if I were alone. But then that time comes around and I find myself adrift, mad, starey-eyed, jumping at small noises, unable to feed myself or get anything done. Give me one hour alone and I will give you the world. Give me all day and I will fall to drink and despair.

Anyway I have started thinking in the last few days that in fact being a single parent might be alright. People go on and on about how hard it is – but why? You can do whatever the fuck you like with your kids, you don’t have to think about anyone except you and your children. You can go about looking an absolute fright. There is hardly any laundry, you can watch whatever you like on tv – or sit about painting your nails all night. People absolutely kill themselves to help you out and ring you up going “How ARE you?” and then you can have a 45 min conversation with them because no-one has had to pause a telly programme while you yak away.

Not that I haven’t missed my husband. The house is dead without his machine-gun laughter, internal tussles, professional feuds, industrial gossip and home improvement schemes; it is too quiet without him clattering down the stairs in that particular way, (“DDDRRR DDDDR DDRR… DUD-DUD-DUD-DUD-DUD-DDDDDDUNT”), and too massive without him appearing suddenly round corners and through doors, shoulders first – an unstoppable wall of ancient sweater and curly hair and chatter.

No, it’s not that. It’s just that I just thought that on top of missing my husband’s presence, the very fact of being alone would be terrible, but it hasn’t been.

But, obviously, I’m being stupid. Being single is exhausting, let alone being a single parent. And I forget all the boring shit that my husband shields me from: tax returns, insurance, bills, car administration, other men, paid employment. If I had to do THAT all by myself, what with my weak veins and fear of paperwork and I would die writing and screaming in 48 hours.

This is without even mentioning that Kitty has been in both good health and in an uncommonly co-operative mood for the last week. She even stopped insisting – the day Giles left for Canada – that she be carried the four flights upstairs to bed. I won’t go as far as to say that it was “as if she knew” that I just couldn’t do it, because Kitty’s empathy is still pretty nascent, but I’m certainly grateful for it.

There is no reason for me to make this chocolate cake, I’m simply curious about it – it was the cake that I was going to make for Kitty’s birthday but then changed my mind. And I have time on my hands today as it is bloody snowing again, so we are confined indoors.

James Martin, whose recipe this is, is for me the culinary equivalent of Kim Kardashian or Emeli Sande: I don’t really understand who they are or why I keep hearing about them, but I have accepted their place on the planet with resigned weariness.

This cake is actually very similar the birthday cake I made, but it was much easier. The critical difference is that this gives you a flat, tray-bakey cake, rather than the echt high birthday cake shape you’re really after.

A Chocolate Cake by James Martin

For the cake
200g plain chocolate. Mr Martin recommended I use one with low cocoa solids, but I didn’t have any, so I just used Waitrose plain cooking chocolate, which was 75% solids. On reflection, although the cake is good as it is, it would have been better to have used the plain Waitrose Belgian chocolate that Mr Martin specified. So do that.
200g butter
200g light brown sugar
200g self-raising flour
100 ml sour cream
100ml hot water
2 eggs, beaten
5 tbsp cocoa powder

 For the icing
100g plain chocolate
170g can condensed milk – I could only find a 390g tin, so measured 170g out on some scales.
100 g butter

Preheat your oven to 160C normal oven and 140C fan oven
Grease and line a 22cm square cake tin

1 Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar in a pan with the hot water. Put it on the smallest burner at the lowest heat and just wait for it to melt. It might take 20 mins. Be patient.

2 Sift together the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl

3 Once the chocolate mixture has melted, set it aside for a few minutes to let it briefly cool and then whisk in the soured cream and then the eggs.

4 Now add the flour mixture to the chocolate in large spoonfuls, mixing to combine after each one. When it has all been incorporated, pour the mixture into your tin and bake for 55 mins.

5 For the ganache icing, put all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of water. The bottom of the bowl must not touch the water. Now put the pan on your lowest burner set at the lowest heat.

Recipes always instruct you that the water must be “barely simmering”. I say it need not simmer AT ALL. It just needs to be hot. Just think about how easily chocolate and butter melts in your hand, let alone in hot water. This sort of thing splits in the blink of an eye, so it’s worth just letting it melt really slowly while you read some bit of the Sunday papers that you missed first time round.

6 Leave the ganache to cool for 20 mins and then spread over the top of the cake. I found that there was about 50% too much ganache in the end, so you could reduce the quantities if you wanted. Bear in mind that ganache doesn’t look very nice even when cooked correctly – it goes sort of gluey and looks a bit split at the best of times, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t look luscious

7 Decorate at will. I love the look of these millions of tiny sugar balls all over the top – like a cake you’d get in a very old-fashioned bakery.

Now eat the whole thing all by yourself. After all, there’s no-one to see.

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Jam tarts

I often wonder if there might not be a few teeny tiny totally major flaws in the design of human beings. Like a blueprint that someone has dripped coffee on before anyone notices and it goes to be made up in the factory and comes out all wrong.

Like pregnancy. Stupid! Dangerous! Not modern! I have often thought how great it would be if the whole thing were to be outsourced to Apple. You could download your iBaby from the iCloud and you could set the side switch to mute.

And toddlers. Why are they so annoying? It is not in their best interests. It is not in anyone’s interest. Why are they like that? I know they are experiencing some brain thing with the hormones and this and that and wevs… but WHY does this miraculous brain-change have to result in them not putting their shoes on? Or refusing to put a plaster on a suppurating foot-cut? Or breaking everything in sight? Or constantly tripping over?

(About six years ago a woman I know said of her 3 year old “She’s constantly falling over! I just want to scream ‘Stop fucking tripping over!'” I was shocked and thought she was a bad person for thinking this. I don’t any more.)

And the children-and-sleeping thing. Before you have a baby you know you’re going to be tired – you’re not an idiot. But you say to each other “it’ll be okay we will cope”. And then it happens and you’re just open-mouthed and demented, one-eyed and bonkers with fatigue. And I consider my children to be good sleepers! But all it takes is for Kitty to decide to have a bad dream and Sam to have a rocky night, for whatever mysterious baby reason, and it’s a proper nuit blanche, which is French for fucking nightmare (yes I know it doesn’t really mean that).

When I consider how many people have children who do not sleep well and how many of those people have to go to work in the morning it really is a miracle that the entire world doesn’t just grind to a halt in a pile-up of errors because everyone is so flipping wired out on coffee, fags and sugar because their bloody kids kept them awake from 0430.

No-one, as my sister says, gets away with it. You can have all the help you possibly want, can possibly afford, but unless you have your kids sleeping out of earshot and you’ve got a live-in nanny who your babies call for if they are sick or frightened, when your kids wake up in the night, it’s on you.

It’s one thing if you don’t work or aren’t working much when your children are small, but what if you are up with your kids at night and then have to fucking get up and get on the tube and go to work? It’s a miracle that trains even turn up, that the financial markets don’t collapse in on themselves, that surgeons don’t remove MORE wrong limbs, that banks don’t make more errors in our favour.

I thought this as I stood at the kitchen counter the other day at about 1.20pm or thereabouts, having been awake since 0400 with Sam. It was my fault – I gave him insufficient naps during the day so by 6pm he was utterly exhausted and passed out rather than fell asleep, which meant he woke up with a jerk at 8pm, wailing and confused, and I was too lazy to let him fret himself back to sleep so I popped a dummy in. And the night went downhill from there. Anyway it taught me a lesson.

So I stood in my kitchen, having been unable to use my nap window to nap because a very noisy car alarm went off just as I was drifting off and you only get one shot at these things. I was dazed.

It being a Thursday (Friday being cake sale day at the nursery) I set about making jam tarts. Jam tarts are simple and a very good thing to do for bake sales. Despite only needing a hot oven and opposable thumbs for this, I managed to break two tarts and the rest of them look like Kitty made them, although she didn’t (although this is what I will say to excuse their appearance). I was just cross-eyed with tiredness and made a mess of them. Imagine if I worked at Air Traffic Control?

Still, the thing about jam tarts is that they look quite sweet if they’re a bit bashed-up. And they still taste the same, especially if you’re eating one accompanied by a strong cup of coffee and a ciggie.

Jam tarts
Makes 12 (with a lot of breakages) with jam and pastry leftover

1 pack sweet shortcrust pastry from Jus-Roll (you can make your own but… fuck…)
1 jar Tiptree seedless raspberry jam. I think it is reasonably important to use nice jam for this seeing as it’s such a boondoggle pisstake thing to make you might as well push the boat out when it comes to the main ingredient.
1 egg for glazing (not essential if you just can’t be bothered)
12-hole fairy cake tin

pre-heat your oven to 180

1 Grease your baking tin

2 Dust your worksurface and roll out the pastry

3 Cut out discs with a pastry-cutter – mine was 3in across, which is about as small as you can go

4 Plop the discs into the cake tin holes and put a teaspoon of jam into each little cup

5 Beat the egg and brush a little around the top of the pastry cups – this is not essential

6 Bake for 10-12 mins

A note: these are a nightmare to get out of the tin when they are hot so leave them to cool down properly before you attempt it, or they will just crumble to bits and you might find yourself bursting into tears and throwing the spatula across the kitchen and then screaming at your husband.

p.s. I must apologies here to Katharine Sooke nee Begg, who I saw at an NPG party the other day and she was pregnant and I was so annoying and shouty and asking her about when she was having it and where and wasn’t the bump huge and oh my gard and all that annoying stuff that drove me mental during my pregnancies. I wasn’t even drunk!!!!! Anyway she claims to be an occasional reader of this blog so I thought I’d say sorry here. Sorry.

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