A few of you have been asking for my chocolate cake recipe, so here it is! It's more or less a chocolate Victoria sponge with fudge icing, but it seems to go down well with the family.
A few years ago when the children were small and didn't like 'proper' Christmas cake, I used to turn this cake into a chocolate log cabin – maybe you'd like to try that too?
170g (6oz) golden caster sugar
170g (6oz) soft margarine
170g (6oz) self-raising flour
3 medium free range eggs
227g (8oz) icing sugar
57g (2oz) soft margarine
57g (2oz) cocoa powder
About 1 – 2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk (enough to make a smooth consistency)
1. Grease and flour a 18cm (7") deep cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4).
2. Using a wooden spoon, cream together the margarine and caster sugar until a pale straw colour, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Still using the wooden spoon, add about 57g (2oz) of the flour and continue beating. Then fold in the rest of the flour and the cocoa powder with a metal spoon. Stir together until you have a smooth dropping consistency.
4. Spoon into the prepared tin and cook for about 35 minutes. The cake's ready when it springs back when you lightly touch the centre.
5. Once the cake's cooked turn it out of the tin on to a wire rack. Once it's completely cool put in in a cake tin overnight – I find this makes the cake more moist.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, adding the milk a little at a time until you have a soft, spreadable texture.
Cut the cake in half horizontally and sandwich together using about half of the icing. Then spread the rest around the sides and across the top of the cake.
For the snowy roof of the log cabin I just used thick glace icing, made from icing sugar and water. I made the door, windows and chimney out of cardboard, but you could do a more professional finish with shop-bought fondant shapes.
Let me know if you use the recipe and how your cakes turn out. It's probably a bit late for my Christmas cake recipe, but if anyone would like it I can post it here too – it should be OK if you make it in the next week.