Saturday, 30 August 2014

Mary Berry Cooks... Rich Chocolate Traybake with swirly icing

Yes, I know, you've got the book or seen the recipe online, and it's not swirly icing, is it, it's feather icing. Piped lines of white chocolate artfully smudged with a cocktail stick to make pretty, Mr Kipling-esque 'feathers' across the top of the milk chocolate ganache.

Yeah, right. Like that's ever going to happen for me.

Off for a final hoorah of the summer holidays this weekend (camping for a good friend's 40th birthday, on the campsite that she and her husband and kids have just bought. How cool is that? Our friends - our camping buddies - own a campsite. How COOL is that??) though, cake was called for and traybake was going to fit the bill.

But first, I must digress.

I haven't written much about camping this summer. Truth is that a couple of things have conspired. 

Firstly, I feel strangely coy about our decision, subsequently executed at the beginning of the year, to sell our beloved Daisy and upgrade to Sadie (or Wussie as she seems to be referred to mostly, based on an unfortunate number plate). We all loved Daisy, our 1989 T25, and selling her wasn't an easy decision but she was viciously uneconomical in the petrol department and we weren't content with pottering down to Dorset every couple of weekends. Already planning trips into Europe, and knowing in our hearts that she wouldn't be up to it (or, rather, our holiday fund wasn't up to funding her guzzling petrol all the way through France), the move to Wales was the final nail in the coffin - her paintwork would never have survived the salty atmosphere living by the sea. So Daisy went to a good home (I won't go into details, but I felt like she was continuing the good work she started with us) and we searched for our next van. We have upgraded massively, and on every level Wussie is superior. I miss Daisy. But not enough to feel too sad.

Secondly, we haven't actually done that much camping. Plenty of day trips, and having the van has meant we can stay out longer, take food with us, but as I may have mentioned before, living in such a coastal and rural area, well, the need, the desperate desire to escape to the sea that certainly I used to feel, is just not there. We did have a fantastic weekend camping down in Newport, a mere 20 minute drive away, and of course, the holiday in France, all made possible by Wussie, but, really, that's it.

But this weekend, the last of the summer holidays, we're off camping on our friends' campsite for Liz's 40th. Liz is awesome, and she's going to be such a fantastic campsite owner. At the moment, the site they've bought isn't licensed for tents, but they are working on it. And if you have a caravan or camper and need somewhere near Chippenham/Bath to stay, let me know...

In the tradition of several awesome camping birthdays we've been to, there's an element of everyone mucking in together to bring tonnes of booze salads, puddings and cakes. 

Incidentally, does anyone get the feeling that as you get older, there's a formula that should be applied to ensure you don't bring too much booze to events like this? I haven't quite worked it out - I bet I'm not the only person to have experienced these weekends where everyone forgets that they have kids and responsible jobs (either in or outside the home) and enthusiastically brings the same amount as they would have aged 23...

Anyway, digression over, and cake is where I was. I made 2 Mary Berry traybakes in preparation for the festivities. I'm not a huge fan of Mary Berry, and my views on the whole GBBO caravan have already been documented I wouldn't know exactly what happened in recent episodes, because I'm not watching the latest series, but I'd just like to say that the suggestion of 'naughty editing' by the BBC to make more out of the Baked Alaska issue than was there, painting a darker picture of the actions of one of the contestants, only goes to convince me that I'm right, and this show is not really much better than Jeremy Kyle...

But my mother in law gave me a Mary Berry cookbook for my birthday, and I'll concede that conniver in carcrash TV or not, Mary Berry does make a good tray bake. Her lemon drizzle traybake is pretty hard to beat for quick and easy, and I've made it a number of times, and, for this weekend, I also made her rich chocolate tray bake with feathered icing. Very straightforward, chocolate sponge, chocolate ganache, and then white chocolate.

The white chocolate should have been piped in straight lines (ha!), evenly spaced across the cake, and then I should have dragged a cocktail stick through to produce the 'feathers'.

Well there was no chance. I'm not great at decorative icing, and while I did toy with attempting a white chocolate "Happy Birthday Liz", I thought better of it and decided swirls would be a good option. And so they were. Melted white chocolate spooned into a piping bag, I snipped the end off as close to the end as I could and simply swirled.


  1. I think it looks perfect... perfect for a camping trip anyway!

    1. :-) thanks Dom - haven't tried it yet. Think it's going to be the birthday cake.

  2. Looks scrummy by my standards!

  3. That looks soooo good! Congrats on the new purchase! I have several good campsites down this way that I can recommend when you need them! :)


I LOVE comments - please leave one. Unfortunately, I have been getting hideous amounts of SPAM so please can you do the word verification thingy?