Friends, let us conduct a wee Friday survey.
How many cook books do you own?
A. None, I hate to cook
B. Um, like 5 or 6
C. Gazillions, no, bajillions
How many recipes have you actually made out of them?
A. All of them, am very diligent
B. None, see A above
C. One or two out of each
I am all C’s. Statistically if you have more than just a handful of books, you probably are too. I was sad when I read that most people who buy a beautiful cookbook will only, if at all, cook one recipe out of that book.
I felt saddened because I know how much work goes into a producing a book. The author has spent hours slaving over the recipes. Those recipes are made sometimes three, four or five times over to get them just right. Countless more hours are spent selecting the perfect props to style and photograph a single dish from every angle to find its best side. And the work doesn’t stop there.
What follows is the arduous task of editing and re-editing the copy. Then you loose ten years of your life to agonizing over thousands of images to find that one perfect shot. Then you must fork out to publish in full colour and on good paper so that your book looks amazing. And then you have to pray that someone (actually many someones) buy your book all the while knowing that when they do, it will sit on their shelf and never be smudged with oil or drops of chocolate cake batter; it will not be thumbed in the corners so that it softens with the look of something well loved, and all your hard work will lie between its pages, a quiet and undiscovered treasure. F O R E V E R.
I am so sorry cookbook people. We have mistreated you. Guilty as charged.
I have however found a book that has turned my nasty habits around at last and I can honestly say that I have already made five – yes, 5 – recipes out of this one book. It’s a very big book so please relax, I am not about to go all Julia and Julia on it, but five and counting should pretty much explain how I love, love, love this book. Friends, ‘Annie Bell’s Baking Bible’ by Annie Bell is my absolute favourite book right now, and I own a copy of Jan Hendrik’s ‘JAN, A breathe of French Air’. So, ja.
I think my favorite thing about this book is that so many of the recipes are food processor friendly. Load it all in, whizz it up, bake. Some days just need fast cake. And only one bowl to wash up. This book speaks my cake love language.
Today’s recipe for a Chocolate ClemenGold Tea Cake is made using Annie Bell’s Classic Tearoom Chocolate Cake, including its fabulous chocolate icing that is as shiny and glossy as the cover of a glamour magazine. I used the old school Victoria sponge cake method instead of bombing it all the food processor like Annie did. I have no regrets, it turned out great.
For the Chocolate ClemenGold Tea Cake filling I made a ClemenGold curd, something I have wanted to try for ages. My kiddos have once again eaten their weight in ClemenGold’s this winter, and I thought it high time to make a little sweet and lovely something with them again, to reward myself for all the effort I put in to keeping the fruit bowl filled with these pretties.
Also, if I ever publish a book, promise me that you will bake something from it, if only to save me from the very brink of despair upon which I will undoubtedly be sitting.
- 225 g butter
- 225 g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 175 g self raising flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 10 ml (2 t) baking powder
- pinch salt
- 5 ml (1 t) vanilla extract
- 100 ml milk
- 25 g cornflour
- 200 ml water, divided
- juice of 3 Clemengolds
- 100 g caster sugar
- 40 g butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 g milk chocolate
- 15 g butter
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 50 ml water
- 15 ml (1 T) golden syrup
- Place the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy.
- Add the sugar and continue beating for a further 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and salt.
- Add to the eggs in two batches.
- Beat in the vanilla and the milk.
- Pour the mixture into two cake pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180˚C for 25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Mix the cornflour with 65 ml (¼ C) of the water.
- Bring the remaining water to the boil and add the Clemengold juice and the sugar.
- Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour in the cornflour and stir until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
- Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Cool to set.
- Melt the chocolate and the butter together, stir until smooth.
- Bring the water, cocoa powder and syrup to the boil and whisk until smooth.
- Add to the melted chocolate and mix well.
- Sandwich the chocolate sponge halves together with the Clemengold Curd.
- Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake and leave to set before serving.