Saturday, 21 January 2012

Mary Berry's Iced Chocolate Traybake

I thought I would be a good housewife and do some baking while Jewhurst was out at hockey today. Any excuse to use my beautiful KitchenAid after all...! We were given Mary Berry's Baking Bible for a wedding present and I have to say it's one of those cookbooks I would happily read for pleasure not just for baking. I love her old-school style, the way she loves precision, and the fact she is not precious about using organic, expensive, speciality products.

The name of this cake confused me, because where I come from a tray bake doesn't have to have been made in a tray - it's more defined by being bite-size and the fact you have it with a cup of tea - things such as coconut balls, fifteens or top hats. Tray bakes in NI are the key components of a summer camp, church tea or birthday party. However in this context a traybake seems to be a cake made in a sheet pan rather than a round tin. So I was interested to see how it would turn out.

Mary is well known for her precision baking and so I will be writing the recipe in the traditional style of ingredients then method, rather than my more informal style in previous recipes. I don't know about you but even though I like a more relaxed, "slap dash" approach to cooking, when it comes to baking I like to have all my ingredients out and ready, so I know I am following the recipe to the letter.

Iced Chocolate Tray Bake

Ingredients - for the cake

4 level TBSP cocoa powder
4 TBSP hot water
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 TBSP milk

For the icing
4 TBSP apricot jam (I used raspberry and there was no difference in taste)
150g plain chocolate such as Bournville (39% cocoa solids)
6 TBSP water
350g sifted icing sugar
1 tsp sunflower oil


1. Preheat oven to 180deg/Gas Mark 4. Grease a large brownie or swiss roll tin and line the bottom with baking parchment

2. Blend together the cocoa and hot water, and leave to cool. Put the remaining cake ingredients in one bowl or freestanding mixture, pour in the chocolate mixture, and beat until well blended. Turn the mixture into the tray and level the top

3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 mins (I actually took it out earlier because it was done after 30 mins) or when the cake springs back when touched and has started to shrink away from the sides. Leave to cool in the tin.

I actually let it cool then tipped it onto a wire rack to cool. Shhh, don't tell Mary!

4. To make the icing, warm the jam in a tiny saucepan or a bowl in the microwave, and brush over the cake

You *could* skip this step I reckon. To my mind, it didn't add anything to the recipe, as you are using soft icing rather than fondant which needs to stick. It's up to you, but I will just say that 4 TBSP is too much - I had loads left.

5. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt gently in a saucepan with the water. When smooth and melted, mix in the oil and then leave to cool slightly before mixing into the icing sugar.

6. Pour over the cake and smooth gently with a spatula or palette knife dipped in hot water. Decorate with chocolate shavings from the remaining Bournville (Mary's suggestion) or Malteasers (my suggestion!)

This photo was taken on my phone so apologies for the quality, but it gives you a good idea of the size and consistency and my ridiculously bad icing skills.

It tasted lovely - light, "springy" (Jewhurst's words) and really chocolatey.

Cheers Mary!

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  1. I love Mary Berry! This recipe looks gorgeous - and definitely approve of Maltesers on the top...with Easter coming up you could do another version with Mini Eggs!!


    1. Oooooh great idea! Having Easter lunch at my mum's so will do it then!

    2. Oooooh great idea! Having Easter lunch at my mum's so will do it then!

  2. The maltesers have done it for me! wow!


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