book bakes

Pablo & I have decided to start making some of the incredible edibles from his many bedside stories. So many feature food, and we love to cook together and need some wintery indoors things to do between school and weekends. Our kick off was a bit ambitious since it's a taste I have in the back of my mind and memory from my own childhood, and also since the recipe is a bit confusing ("three squares of chocolate" = what size squares?), but it was cold and grey and we had all the ingredients and so we began... 


Happy Winter Fudge Cake

from the book Happy Winter by Karen Gundersheimer

This book was my absolute favourite when I was a cub and still has my name and address at a house we left when I was eight scrawled inside the front cover. Because it is amazing Pablo loves it too, and because it's nice and rhyming it's an excellent bedtime story. In the middle of the book is a lovely poem about baking a wintery cake, complete with recipe:

3 squares semisweet baking chocolate (more on this later...)
225g/9oz flour
200g/8oz sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
50g/2oz soft butter cut into small bits
1 teaspoon vanilla
620ml/24 fl.oz plain yogurt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Grease a tube pan - 250x75mm. We don't own a tube pan, so thought we would make two loaves instead. This was perhaps our first mistake...

Cut up the chocolate and melt in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. I didn't know how large the "3 squares" should be, so we used a row (10g) Green & Blacks 70%, which in hindsight was not enough. This was perhaps our second mistake...

Mix the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Mix the wet ingredients with an electric mixer (including the cooled melted chocolate). Our butter wasn't particularly cold but it didn't mix up brilliantly with the wet ingredients (third mistake??). Slowly add the dry to the wet, stirring with a spoon to blend. Stir in one cup of chocolate chips (we used 100g bar Green & Blacks, broken into bits). 

Pour batter into greased pan (in our case, pans...) and place in a preheated oven. Bake 45 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I checked our smaller loaf tins after 30 (mistake number 4???) and removed them at about 40 mins, when a toothpick came out clean. But then they sank.) Let cool 30 mins before turning out onto a plate.

Our cakes were...not good. They sank and were a bit dense and completely un-fudgy. I had a quick google and someone has had what appears to be more success with this recipe. Was it our daredevil pan changing, our not using enough chocolate, our uncertainty over cooking times and consequent cake checking before it was done...? All three? Oh well. Obviously it was completely delicious regardless, and we had a lovely time making them and then munching slices with a cup of tea & a marshmallow milk. Am determined to get this right so we WILL be trying this one again. Watch this space...