- Food & Drink
Matilda, by Roald Dahl, is the story of a book loving, maths whizzing little girl, who is nearly 5 and might very well grow up to be a criminal mastermind. She goes to school and then to war with Agatha Trunchball, a head teacher of alarming proportions who isn’t afraid to boot a child out of a classroom window when the situation demands it. Which is often.
Matilda The Musical is the same thing, but with songs. It’s also an exceptionally aware musical and it has noticed that Great British Bake Off is popular. Consequently, the musical is running a baking competition. Bake a Matilda inspired cake, tweet or instagram it with the hashtag #MatildaBakeOff and you’ll be in the running for tickets to the musical, afternoon tea and a night at a fancy hotel. Lovely.
A Bruce Bogtrotter cake seems the obvious choice. Something chocolaty and enormous. Thick slabs of sponge, icing in waves and sprinkles by the fistful. A cake that thrills the eyes, boggles the mind and terrifies every stomach into submission.
But reading Matilda again, it was the description of the precocious little brat reading books in her room that set my heartstrings twanging:
“Her own small bedroom now became her reading room and there she would sit and read most afternoons, often with a mug of hot chocolate beside her.”
Having been a precocious little brat who has lived more of her life inside books than out of them, the situation clanged a few bells with me. So I thought I’d bake a cake for one. A hot chocolate cake that has a puddle of batter in the middle, topped with cream and marshmallows and any other kind of wonderfulness you can imagine crowning a mug of cocoa.
It’s often the case that recipes for one stint on ingredients or try to persuade you that you shouldn’t cook them properly in oven, and instead use marge and microwaves and other sad things that go ping. But I don’t see why that should be. A cake is a beautiful thing, whether it’s for one person sitting quietly in their room, turning book pages with sticky, crumb covered fingers, or a crowd at a party who probably won’t even appreciate the cake half as much as that one, happy reader.
So this takes around 30 minutes to make, and most of that is baking. You can fill that time reading more books. A warm spot on the kitchen floor by the oven is as good as your bedroom for reading. Maybe even better.
The post is sponsored by Matilda The Musical. Nevertheless, you should bake cakes and read books. It will make you happy.
Hot Chocolate Cake For One
50g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
1 medium egg
50ml whole milk
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
50g self raising flour
15g cocoa powder
60g caster sugar
Whipped cream, mini marshmallows and crumbled/grated chocolate, to serve
1 Heat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease a 250ml heatproof mug or cup with a little butter.
2 Melt the butter in a microwave or pan. Put it to one side to cool. Beat the egg in a bowl to break it up. Beat in the milk, cooled melted butter and the vanilla seeds.
3 Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the caster sugar with a pinch of salt. Whisk them together. Pour in the liquids and whisk them together to make a smooth batter.
4 Scrape the batter into the greased cup. Pop it on a baking tray and slide it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes till the cake is just risen and cracked on top. When you insert a skewer into it, it should still come out mucky – you want your hot chocolate cake to be under baked.
5 Let the cake cool for 5-10 minutes so the cup won’t take the skin off your fingers. The cake will keep baking in the hot cup, which is why you want it under baked. Spoon some whipped cream on top and scatter mini marshmallows and chocolate over the top to serve.