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Yuletide greetings from us all at Molly’s Kitchen!

This year I decided to pay homage to my Grannie’s chocolate log cabin, that she would make for my brother and I.

Looking back, we must have been spoiled, as she knew we weren’t particularly fond of Christmas cake or pudding, so she’d make us a delicious chocolate log cabin cake, that was both enchanting and delicious (particularly the chocolate butter icing).

This Christmas, we’re spending it in Whitby, renting a cottage with Jamie’s family, so we can all be under one roof. Knowing that Molly thinks that any cake that’s not chocolate is a waste of good butter and sugar, I thought I’d spoil her with my version of Grannie’s cake.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have Grannie’s recipe, all I had was the image in my mind and the memory of rich, dark chocolate. I decided upon a fairly straightforward chocolate fudge cake recipe, after much googling.

With Jamie’s auntie Jill as sous-chef, and Jamie as chief architect, we managed to fashion together quite a respectable looking house.

The Cake – taken from Tana Ramsay’s on Red Online – I made twice the amount for two round 8 inch sponges. The icing I didn’t double, and it was just the right amount to cover and sandwich the whole house. We did everything by hand rather than electrically, so have changed the method accordingly.

Serves: 6-8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes

You will need

For the sponge:
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
150g self-raising flour, sifted
30g cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
175g soft dark brown sugar
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
55g plain dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped

For the fudge icing:
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
200g plain dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/392°F/ gas mark 6. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat the eggs, and add gradually, adding a tiny bit of flour whilst you do so stops it from curdling (thanks Jill!). Next add the cocoa, and vanilla essence, and then fold in the flour and chocolate pieces.

3. Turn the sponge mixture into the prepared tin and lightly tap on the work surface to level it out.

4. Bake in the oven for 55 minutes to one hour, until the sponge springs back to the touch of a fingertip and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

5. Remove the cake from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for five minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, make the icing. Put the butter and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix together. Add the melted chocolate and stir to incorporate it evenly.

The Construction

As I had forgotten the square tin I’d borrowed off Mum, I had to make do with the round tin at the holiday house. After seeing the height, I decided I didn’t really want a bungalow, and after much deliberation, baked a second sponge. Next I brought in Jamie’s architectural skills, and after many plans and diagrams we came up with cutting the sponges into squares and sandwiching together, and then using the leftover crescents to roof the house (mortaring with more icing). Laying a beam of sponge perpendicular to the attic, and then covering the whole house in the chocolate butter icing. I then lay down the timber roof (chocolate flakes), snapping off one to make a chimney.

The house was then presented on premade white icing, which I also used for snow on the roof (which acted as cement for the timbers), and windows (the frames were black piped icing). The door was leftover sponge, with yellow piped icing for doorknob and letterbox. Lastly I dusted with icing sugar for a further snow effect.

The only thing left to do was to present it to Molly and her cousin Danny. The looks on their faces was well worth the effort, and I can now see why Grannie loved to make it so. Happy birthday Grannie!

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