It’s not all work on the plot you know. We know how to party. And September is birthday month for two of the apprentices. Here on the plot we are into all things Famous Five at the moment. Consequently any outdoor picnic is not complete without several children in shorts and fairisle tank tops, a dog, bicycles, a picnic basket, plaid rug, homemade lemonade, iced buns and cake. Cherry cake is the preferred choice but on birthdays we bring out the chocolate cake made with eggs from our own hens but newly collected from a local farm will do just as well..
Celebration Chocolate Cake makes enough to feed five very hungry children and their parents but strictly not for dogs!)
200g plain flour; 200g vanilla sugar; 3/4 tsp baking powder; 1/4 tsp bicarb; 1/2 tsp salt; 200g soft unsalted butter; 40g good quality cocoa; 150ml sour cream; 2 large eggs (I used 4 of our hens’ eggs. If you don’t have vanilla sugar just use caster and add a large spoonful of vanilla extract to the cream and eggs.
Combine all the dry ingredients except the cocoa in a large bowl and cream in the butter with an electric mixer or by hand..
Whisk together the cocoa, sour cream and eggs and slowly add this to the ingredients in the bowl, beating thoroughly.
Pour the batter into 2 buttered and lined 20cm sandwich tins and bake in the oven at 180C/gas mark 4 for about 30 mins. The cakes will start to shrink from the sides of the tin when they are ready. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a rack.
To make the icing melt 80g milk chocolate and 80g plain chocolate with 75g butter in a double bolier or in the microwave. When it’s cooled a bit stir in 125ml sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tbls golden syrup. Add 300g seived icing sugar a a little hot water and mix until you have a smooth, thick consistency which spreads easily but doesn’t run.
Use half the icing to sandwich the cake together and swirl the rest on top.
Decorate each slice with whatever takes your fancy. We used minstrels, sugared pansies, chocolate buttons or sprigs of mint. Enjoy. It won’t last long.
I’ll let you have my recipe for lemonade at another time. We’ve made lots during the Summer holidays. The apprentices love it.