Sunday, 18 December 2011

@Dan_Lepard's Marbled Chocolate Crumb Cake

Some of the sixteen pieces
Let me state for the record.  Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard.  Best. Baking. Book. Ever.  End of.  Sorry Mary Berry.  You'll always have a place in my heart but I was won over by the Frying Pan Naan of all things and everything I've baked so far has just worked to perfection.

I could go on and on and on about this book.  Anyone who mentions baking to me now is told to go and buy a copy of it.  It's so wonderful, it's in Amazon's top 100 this week and personally I think it should hit the top ten.

And I'm not just saying it because the lovely Dan replied to one of my tweets earlier when I said I was going to write a blog about the cake.  The book is a bit like Cuprinol.  It does what it says on the tin.  It's short.  And sweet.  Well the recipes are.  The book is a delightful romp of so many recipes that I'm thinking of taking myself off to a hotel for a week for peace and quiet to read it from cover to cover.

Ready for the oven. Parchment cutting skills fail me
Take today's recipe.  I've baked a pile of goodies to take in to work tomorrow to celebrate my birthday on Wednesday.  I was supposed to have last night free to bake to my heart's content.  The husband was off out for a night on the tiles.  The child was in bed.  And then the dishwasher blew the electrics and my baking was limited to a batch of cookies.

So with a Bakewell to make today, I wanted something quick, easy and unusual to add to the pile.  I've been eyeing up the Marbled Chocolate Crumb Cake ever since the book came.  A quick scan of the recipe made it look pretty easy and I figured I could fit it in to the couple of hours when the husband was supposed to be at the studio and the child was asleep.

And I almost made it in time.  Except the husband arrived back just as the cake was about to go into the oven and in my haste to pretend I was tidying the kitchen, I forgot to do the marbley bit.  See the husband hates me baking.

I'm not a tidy baker.  I wish I could be one of those organised people with little dishes full of carefully measured ingredients.  But that takes too long and would generate far too much washing up (not ideal when your dishwasher's just blown up).  So instead, I pull packets and jars out as I need them and then spend the rest of the time trying to jiggle things around so I have some work space and to not fall over the dog who loves to sit right under the counter, hoping I'll push one thing and the ensuing chain reaction will tip something tasty into his waiting paws.
Messy kitchen

The cake went into the oven and 30 seconds before the first timer, the child woke up and insisted she wanted to help put the crumble topping on.  Luckily most of it made it into the pan and there's only a half-inch or so to clean off the top of the hob.

Once the cake had cooled, it cut beautifully and it is honestly the lightest and airiest tray bake I've seen in I can't remember how long.  I'm absolutely desperate to try a bit.  But I had to make do with a little bit of crumb that fell off whilst I was cutting and even that was divine.

It's now packed and waiting to be taken to work for the hungry hoardes tomorrow.  I doubt it will hang around long.  And I'll definitely be making this one again.

Crumb topping
You can find an adaptation of the recipe here - far more beautifully illustrated than I was able to manage despite being married to a professional photographer.  The original recipe doesn't mix the chocolate with cream.  You just stir chopped chocolate into the chocolate cake mix so nice and simple - and less washing up.  Only other mistake was to not let it cool completely.  The chocolate was still slightly runny - I was too impatient as always.  I'd say leave it a good 3-4 hours if you can resist temptation - but I'm sure it's equally amazing slightly warm with some ice cream on the side.

Thanks again Dan.  Can't wait to try out more!
Someone didn't marble it very well....
Close up of the cake


  1. oh my god, what a day! Hope the dishwasher comes back to life soon

  2. I think it's dead and buried. Sad that it's probably nearly as cheap to buy a new one that comes with a warranty rather than getting the old one repaired. Will have to get hubby some marigolds for Christmas :)


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