Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tea Time Treats and Bonfire Night Cake

Now that all things spooky-licious are done and dusted, this scaredy-cat is in her element.

Ever since I was kneehigh to a grasshopper I've loved Bonfire Night.

I've loved the anticipation, the instructions to wrap up warm and the hurrying to arrive in time to see the bonfire lit. 

I've loved the 'ohhh-ing' and 'ahhing' over every firework, each one more extravagant that the last. And the excitable flurry to spell my name (in full, no cheating) with the sparklers, before the 'K' disappears into the night sky.

I've loved the teeth-tingling sweetness of the first bite into the toffee apple and the comforting warmth from a styrofoam encased hot chocolate.

I've loved the smoky smell permeating the dark night, the cheering sight of a community bought together and the glowing faces of those set with the task of igniting the Catherine Wheels .

When we were children, sitting on bales of hay around a roaring bonfire, sparklers in hand, Mum would make us this cake, Bonfire Cake. 

This recipe, which makes smaller, mini-pudding mould sized cakes, is inspired by a malt cake recipe from Peyton and Byrne: British Baking

(Makes three mini-pudding basins/bonfires)

35g light brown soft sugar
50g dark brown sugar
70g self-raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
65g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing the moulds
1 medium eggs
50g dark chocolate
Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
60ml milk

For the ganache
50g dark chocolate
1 tsp golden caster sugar
70mls double cream

For the decoration
Orange, yellow and red Smarties or chocolate beans
Half a box of 'Matchsticks'

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas Mark 3. Grease the inside of each pudding basin well
2. Chop the butter into small pieces. Beat the butter, sugars, flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl until soft, creamy and pale in colour (this will take a good few minutes). Add the egg and vanilla and beat for a further few minutes until fluffy. 
3. Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave in short 30 second zaps or in a pyrex bowl balanced over a simmering pan of water. Beat into the mixture. Add the milk and beat again until combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared basins
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the basins for ten minutes before turning out, upside down onto a wire rack to cool completely
5. Meanwhile prepare the ganache: Pop the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan, add the sugar and heat, stirring gently until just about to boil. Take off the heat, allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then pour over the chocolate. Mix well until glossy and smooth and set aside for an hour or two to thicken
6. Once thickened, spoon over the upturned cakes and decorate with the matchsticks and smarties!

Baker's notes...
  • You may need to slide a spatula between the cake and basin to dislodge enough to turn out onto the racks to cool. Silicone moulds would also work really well for these cakes, for example a large muffin silicone mould could be used instead of the traditional tin pudding basin
  • A larger version of these mini-cakes could be made using a proper sized pudding basin. Simply follow the instructions above but double the ingredient quantities and cook for a little longer. I'd suggest, as a guide, 35-40 minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean
  • It is absolutely compulsory to buy a multi-pack of Smarties to decorate these cakes and eat all the leftover Smarties in one go all by yourself. Ditto the matchsticks. Otherwise: epic fail.
  • Karen, from Lavender and Lovage and I have launched an exciting new baking challenge, called Tea Time Treats. November's Challenge starts today! The details of the challenge can be found right here. And Karen, the lovely host this month, has selected Ginger and Bonfire Treats as the theme. This recipe is whizzing its way (in the manner of a whizzing, exploding Roman Candle [cue corny firework gag]) to Karen for the round-up. Email over yours by 28th November 2011.


  1. Thanks Kate, you have given me an ides for cakes to make for Fireworks night! Matchsticks chocolate happens to be one of my favourites too x

  2. These are so cute! I also love bonfire night, although in Australia it's in June. I have to say I have preferred bonfire night since I've been old enough to drink mulled cider.

  3. So cute, bonfire night is one of the best nights of the year. I've just posted my tea time treat entry: Bonfire Cheesecake http://wp.me/p1Cebx-2Z

  4. Love your cake. I have never seen a bonfire cake before. Now it has got me thinking.

  5. This is so cute! I had something similar in mind, a recipe from Annie Bell using matchmakers. I'll have another think :)

  6. So so so so CUTEEEE!!!:) I love this cake, makes me want to go for a bonfire night immediately!
    You might wanna take this cake away from the real bonfire, they might light the wrong one by mistake...hehehehe! :D

  7. I love these! They are a bit like the fire cupcakes in the EAT me book but the ganache and coloured smarties make it much better!

  8. That's cool, I've been hankering on using matchmakers or mikado to make a bonfire on a cake since seeing it in one of my whoopie pie books (very strange whoopie pie book really). I guess matchmakers are entirely appropriate for lighting fires...

  9. They look so gorgeous - I love the idea of using the matchsticks and smarties to decorate them - fab!

    I too love bonfire night - we always made much more of a celebration of bonfire night than Hallowe'en when I was little - there were always toffee apples, Uncle Billy's Toffee (an old Delia recipe) and traditional parkin and fireworks in the garden, with sparklers too. Lovely!

  10. That is one splendid bonfire cake. Love the bright smarties to mimic the flames - your mother is a genius. But, (a little bit of whinging is about to creep in here) how can you have a malt cake with no malt in???

    I love bonfire night too, but sadly missed all festivities this year. Luckily, I have been promised a solstice bonfire and fireworks instead :)


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