Archive for March, 2011

So it was my darling daughter’s second birthday the other week. What better way to start up this blog than with a quick, easy and delicious birthday cake?

The recipe is from an old book belonging to my mother called Teatime Cookery:

Chocolate Cake

125 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
25 g cocoa
1 ½ level teaspoons baking powder
150 g soft margarine
150 g soft brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to  gas 4 /180 ºC and grease and line two 7-inch sandwich tins. Sift the dry ingrdients into a bowl, then stir in the wet ones. Beat until smooth. Divide mixture between the tins and bake for 25 minutes or until springy to the touch.

When it was cool we sandwiched it together with some simple vanilla butter icing (comment if you want the recipe!) and melted some chocolate over the top. Some sugar stars sprinkled on top– or thrown viciously and poked, if you’re my toddler — and a couple of candles and it was done!

What my toddler did

  • Pouring pre-measured ingredients into the bowl. She likes to pour in the eggs, but needs a close eye kept on her while she does so!
  • Stirring. Lots of stirring. Most of the stirring, in fact.
  • Pressing the start button on the timer.
  • More stirring for the icing.
  • Licking the spoon I used to stir the chocolate while it melted.
  • Decorating the chocolate-covered cake with stars.
  • Singing Happy Birthday to herself. A lot.

Other things she could have done (most of these she has done in the past, but I don’t like to interrupt her when she’s happily focussed on one task to try to make her switch to another):

  • ‘Helping’ to grease the tins. I usually do this by wiping them with some oil-soaked kitchen paper, and she likes to join in. Give it a once-over yourself as well, though.
  • Spooning the icing onto the cake.


This cake tastes good with most kinds of fillings and toppings. You can sandwich it together with whipped cream or jam instead of icing, or use the same icing for both topping and filling. Vanilla icing tastes good, but so does chocolate or orange. As for decorations, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that there are many options other than sugar stars. Try some halved strawberries instead — yum!

The finished product

(Yes, those are fingerprints.)


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