Chocolate cake

She's alright, is Nigella (Lawson). I bought her book when we were new to London, How to Eat, and pored over it, reading all the delicious, helpful wordy bits in between the recipes. She doesn't do budget - I doubt you will find her rolling out a tips to be frugal book for $25 as seems to be the rage at the moment. They make the book small so it looks like a bargain, but it is still $25 and everything in those books is on the net. From How To Eat I learnt how to make risotto, chicken stock and hummous, cooked with chestnuts for the first time (her lentil and chestnut soup, good enough to win over any carnivore visiting for dinner) and drank in some wonderfully sensible thoughts on feeding babies and young children.

Today, after deciding we weren't dying and that by afternoon, what with the DVD player dying instead, we could do some baking, Fionn and I looked through some recipe books in search of a chocolate cake recipe. Nigella's was a winner, not least because there is no creaming of butter and sugar.

Chocolate Cake

225g self-raising flour (I used 215 plain flour and 10 baking powder)
30g cocoa
200g caster sugar (I used raw, the organic kind I found in the drawer is finer than standard issue raw sugar)
100g unsalted butter (I used salted, unsalted is never on special)
200g condensed milk
100g dark chocolate
2 eggs, beaten

Oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.

Sieve the flour and cocoa adn a pinch of salt together and put to the side.

Sugar, butter, condensed milk, 100nl just boiled water and the chocolate broken into small pieces into a saucepan and heat until melted and smooth. Stir this into the flour mix and then beat in the eggs.

Pur into cake tin and bake 35-45 minutes. When it's ready, the top will feel firm. Don't expect a skewer to come out clean; indeed you wouldn't want it to.

leave to cool for ten minutes and then turn onto cake rack.

She gives a recipe for ising, but we left that out. 250g chocolate and 250ml double cream - heat cream to nearly boiling and tiup over finely chopped chocolate and then beat. Pour on cake.

The slight gooey-ness of the cake's centre added to the experience - I was glad of the specific tip not to judge cookedness by a clean skewer. I think this recipe would make yummy brownies and am keen to try adding a little nuts and some blueberries or raspberry jam and making into a slice shape.

So after weeks of looking at recipes and tips for super healthy eating and endless chilli, ginger and garlic, it was fun to make chocolate cake instead. Fionn (6) learnt quite a bit from reading the recipe and measuring the ingredients and Brighid happily played with her play-dough on the other side of the bench.

All a massive improvement on the morning, when I wondered how I was ever going to hide long enough to read my just-arrived gardening magazine without clingy people chasing and screaming at me.

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