Thursday, 26 April 2012

Mary Berry's Coffee Fudge Squares

I'm off to visit my oldest friend tomorrow.  And I've been informed by her husband that if I fail to bring cake then I won't be allowed in.  I like it that D likes my cakes but it meant that I had to find a reasonably quick and simple recipe to bake between getting in from work and toddler bed time.

Cue Mary Berry's recipe from 100 Cakes and Bakes.  It's a simple tray bake where you just chuck all the ingredients into a bowl, beat for a couple of minutes, bake, cool, frost et voila - instant cake.  Great.  And it worked like a treat.  Only complaint is that the frosting cracks a bit messily on cutting. Happy days - D should be happy tomorrow.

I now feel a bit guilty, however, after reading this article on the BBC Food website.  Because I made the cake in about five minutes flat - (with baking, cooling and making the frosting it took about an hour and a half in total).  But apparently, it's wrong to want to use a quick and easy recipe.  Well not wrong, but frowned upon.  Because of course, we should all want to spend hours after a busy day slaving over a hot stove.

Testing out a smidgen bit from the corner
I appreciate what the author is getting at, but honestly, she made me want to reach for my phone and dial the Chinese takeaway in protest.  With a full time job that sees me leave home at 6am and not sit down for a rest until nearly 9pm, and three very different evening meal requirements to deal with - quick and easy is often the way ahead for me.  Because it means I eat a balanced meal.  What are the alternatives if I don't do quick and easy?  Toast.  A takeaway.  Or just not bothering.

Through writing this blog, I've found so many 'quick and easy' recipes that are tasty, well balanced and can be on the table in less time than it takes to digest the instructions on a ready meal or agree which takeaway to buy.  I love to cook, but I think I'd enjoy it less if I cooked time consuming meals every day.  I love more complicated cake recipes - but I'd take a quick and easy home bake over preservative packed shop bought cakes any day of the week.

Anyway, I'll come down off my soap box!

And here's the recipe for the cake.

Recipe - fills a 23x30cm tray bake tin
  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g light muscavado sugar
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp coffee essence (or 2 tsp coffee granules dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water)
  • 2 tbsp milk
For the topping
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 75g light muscavado sugar
  • 275g icing sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan.
  2. Mix all the cake ingredients for two minutes.  Pour into a lined baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin.
  3. Heat the butter, sugar and milk in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.  Boil for three minutes then beat in the icing sugar until combined (it will come away from the sides of the pan when ready - although I had to add a splash more milk as it was too dry).  Spread over the cake and leave to set.


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