Meal Type: Breakfast, Accompaniment
Cook time: 40 mins
Servings: 16 generous squares
An easy and light chocolate sponge – ideal for children’s birthday parties as it is easy to divide into portions. I’ve given a choice of white chocolate buttercream or a chocolate fudge frosting – you can then decorate with favourite sweeties (smarties are always popular) or try mini eggs for an Easter treat! If you are going to be eating on the same day, halved strawberries are a particularly good topping with the white chocolate buttercream.
The sponge is made with oil rather than butter as the addition of cocoa can cause the sponge to dry out – oil keeps it a little moister and means it will keep a little better.
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 200g self-raising flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 250 ml. vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the white chocolate buttercream:
- 150g white cooking/baking chocolate
- 200g softened butter
- 225g icing sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
For the chocolate fudge icing:
- 85g butter
- 3 tbsp. water
- 100g caster sugar
- 50g cocoa
- 175g icing sugar
- Smarties, chocolates, mini eggs or berries
- Line a traybake tin with a silicone baking sheet (or greaseproof paper). Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and the sugar and then stir to combine.
- In a smaller bowl or jug, use a fork to lightly whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture – stir well to combine until you have a smooth, glossy batter. Pour the (fairly runny) batter into the prepared tin.
- If you have a 3 or 4 oven AGA range cooker - slide the cake onto the bottom runners of the baking oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tin after 20 minutes to ensure a even bake. The cake is cooked when the top springs back when lightly pushed. If you have 2 oven AGA range cooker – hang the tin on the bottom runners of the roasting oven with the cold shelf on the second runners. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and springs back when lightly pushed. Rotate the tin after 20 minutes of cooking time to ensure an even bake.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before carefully turning out to cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool, ice with your choice of white chocolate buttercream or chocolate fudge icing and decorate with sweeties or berries.
For the buttercream:
- Break the white chocolate into pieces and place into a heatproof bowl set on the top of the AGA range cooker to melt. Stir occasionally and, if your top is especially hot, place the bowl on a cork mat.
- Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and mix with the softened butter – this is best done with an electric whisk. Start slowly and increase the speed once the mixture starts to come together. Whisk until creamy and then beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla, if using. Set aside in a cool place until ready to use.
For the chocolate fudge icing:
- Place the butter, water and caster sugar into a saucepan and heat on the simmering plate until the sugar has melted.
- Bring to the boil and then remove from heat and sift over the icing sugar and cocoa. Whisk to combine and set aside to firm up a little.
- The icing will continue to set as it cools so make sure you spread it onto the cake before it becomes too solid.
Aga Range Cooker Tips:
- In a 2 oven AGA range cooker, using the cold shelf helps shield the cake from the fierce heat of the roasting oven. It turns the bottom part of the oven into a temporary ‘baking oven’ within the roasting oven.
- It may sound obvious, but don’t store your cold shelf in the AGA range cooker! It needs to be cold in order to be useful!
- The heat from the top of the Aga range cooker is ideal for melting chocolate. White chocolate can be a little tricky to work with and will sometimes seize if it gets too hot. Use a good quality white chocolate designed for baking/cooking and sit the bowl on a cork mat if your Aga range cooker top is especially hot.