The Only Chocolate Brownie Recipe In Our House

DSC_0141[1] I’m so sorry to be predictable, but it’s Nigella Time again, the recipe downsized and slightly adapted from  ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’.  A while ago, I read an article in the Guardian which compared several types of brownie recipe (, but nothing could induce me to deviate from the standard.  Here it is: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line an 8″/20cm square brownie tin.

a.  190g butter, 190g best quality dark chocolate: Melt these together in the microwave.  Don’t overdo it.
b.  3 large eggs, 250g golden caster sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract: Whisk these together in a separate bowl.
c.  Combine both bowls, then add 115g plain flour and 200g good quality white or milk chocolate, broken into pieces.  Stir well.
d.  Put into the oven for 17-25 minutes.  It should be a little cracked at the sides and paler in the middle, but be careful not to overcook it.

Leave in the tin to cool totally.  In fact, until you’re ready to serve them, it’s better to leave them uncut.  Freshly cut brownies…Hmmmmm.  They may be too squishy for you for the first hour or so, but they firm up quickly.


A Ramshackle Excuse for a Birthday Cake

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This is so us.  Drew couldn’t decide whether to have chocolate cake or plain vanilla sponge for his birthday.  We couldn’t decide whether to have chocolate icing or buttercream.  We didn’t know whether to make it Eastery or not.  And the finishing flourish is what happens when you have quality time together in the kitchen.

So it’s a half-chocolate, half-vanilla, Easterish birthday cake.  I’m sharing it, even though I’m fairly sure that this is a never-to-be-repeated experiment.

Line 2 7″ or 8″ cake tins.

Weigh 4 large eggs.  It probably comes to about 210g.  Measure out exactly the same weight in self-raising flour, golden caster sugar and soft butter.  Add a teaspoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons milk and a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Use an electric whisk to beat this all together; about a minute should do it.  Put half of the mixture into one of the tins.  Add 2 tablespoons of good sifted cocoa powder to the remaining mixture and fold in.  Now pop this into a separate tin.  Put both of the tins into a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) and bake for 20 – 30 minutes.  When they smell great and are bouncy to the touch, they are done.

Filling and Icing

Melt a 100g bar of dark chocolate in the microwave.

Beat together 100g soft butter, 250g sifted icing sugar and 3 teaspoons vanilla extract.  Use half of this to sandwich the cake together.

Now add the melted chocolate to your remaining buttercream.  It’ll probably look worryingly stiff at this point.  Don’t worry.  Just beat in 1 – 2 tablespoons of cold milk with your electric whisk and it’ll smooth out beautifully.  Use this immediately to ice your cake.

Decorate with Mikado sticks (that’s your nest, of course), Cadbury mini-eggs and crumbled Flake.

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Nigella’s Gooey Chocolate Puddings


Nigella’s recipe from “How to Eat” is one of those recipes you can rustle up from nothing, as long as you have a well-stocked chocolate cupboard.  It’s the easiest, most forgiving and undeservingly impressive dinner party pud ever.  You can mix it all up hours before and leave it in the bowl until you’re ready to bake and serve.  You can even put the mixture into ramekins, uncooked, and freeze until you want them.  Defrost for a couple of hours before baking.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and grease 4-5 ramekins with butter.  Melt 125g good dark chocolate and 125g butter in the microwave.  About a minute to 90 seconds should do it, but pause and check often.  Stir gently until smooth and beautiful.

In a separate bowl, whisk 150g golden caster sugar with 3 large eggs.

Combine the 2 bowls, beat together and then stir in 35g plain flour, a tiny amount.

When you’ve finished your main course and you feel like you could eat again, divide the mixture into 4-5 ramekins and bake hot for 8-10 minutes until they are well risen and cracked on top.  Serve with sprinkled icing sugar and single cream.

Adapted very slightly from Nigella Lawson “How to Eat.”

Chocolate Butterfly Cakes


Oh, hullo!  It’s Hugh again.  And his foolproof measurements for perfect cakes.

Weigh out four large eggs (it will probably come to about 210g)

Measure out exactly the same quantities in golden caster sugar and soft butter.

The self-raising flour and cocoa powder together should also come to 210g (or whatever your eggs weighed).  I went for 190g flour and 20g cocoa.

Add a teaspoon of baking powder and a tablespoon of milk and use an electric hand whisk to beat until smooth.

Divide into 22-24 muffin cases.

Bake at 180 degrees for 12 – 25 minutes, depending on your oven.  Do not check until the 12 minute mark.  Let your nose guide you.  Once you can smell cake, they tend to be almost ready.  They should spring back readily when you press the tops.

When the cakes are cool, delve out the tops and halve them.  Do this before you make the icing, as the icing is nicer to work with when it’s just made.

For the icing, beat together 90g dark chocolate, 125g soft butter, 140g icing sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence.

Assemble with care, a generous teaspoonful of icing in each cavity and wings on top.  Sprinkle with icing sugar just before serving.

Scott’s Chocolate cake


OK!  And the first person to step up to the Guest Spot is Scott Everett from Australia with his wonderful-looking chocolate cake…


250g butter, chopped
150g dark eating chocolate, chopped (I use 70% cocoa solids)
2 cups (440g) caster sugar
1 cup (250ml) hot water
1/3 cup (80ml) coffee flavoured liqueur (Baileys)
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
2 eggs beaten lightly

Preheat the oven to 170degrees celcius (gas mark 3). Grease a deep 20 cm round cake pan, base and sides with baking (grease proof) paper.
Combine butter, chocolate, sugar, the water, Baileys and coffee powder in medium saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir over a low heat until the chocolate melts
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, the cool for 15 minutes. Whisk in the sifted flour and cocoa powder, then the beaten eggs. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake in oven, preheated to 170 degrees, for about 1 1/2 hours. Keep the cake in the pan for 30mins before turning onto a wire rack. Turn the cake topside up to cool.

Any coffee or chocolate flavoured liqueur (Tia Maria, Kahlua or Creme de Cacao) can be used.
Cover the cake loosely with foil or a brown paper bag about halfway through baking if the top starts to over-brown.
The cake will keep for one week if kept in an airtight container.
It is very nice with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Jen’s Tips
It’s pretty important to get the temperature of the oven right.
I always cover the cake with brown paper halfway through even if it’s not over browning.
When you take it out of the oven stand it on a wire rack. This helps the top not to crack too much.