The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!

Stylophones and chocolate cake

I considered not going to work this morning. I had thought that I was recovering from my cold and I got a lot of sleep at the weekend but I didn’t feel great this morning. It’s probably a different cold but it all ends up merging into one.

When I got to work I found that pretty much everybody felt as bad as I did so I think that they would have been a bit annoyed if I hadn’t turned up.

All this means that I haven’t run. In fact, I haven’t run for a whole week! It’s pretty frustrating but there are times when you have to just give in and take a break. There is no way I will be fit enough to race this weekend and I think it’s pretty doubtful for next weekend too.

I made a cake yesterday from a recipe that I found in the Times. It was called Karleksmums love cake but to you and me it was chocolate cake. The recipe said it would take 20-25 min to cook and to be careful not to overlook it. I was a bit doubtful that it would cook that quickly because it was a pretty liquid mixture and, when I had a look after 20 min, it was still very runny. I put it in for another 10 min, then another 5 min, then another 5 min…. I’m really not sure how long I cooked the thing for but it must have been about an hour! 

I didn’t have much more luck with the icing which never set and just ran down the cake and onto the work surface. I added a bit more icing sugar and so then I had lumpy runny icing. I can tell you, it did not look pretty.

What I can say about the cake though is that it tasted very good. I thought that the kids wouldn’t like it because there was quite a bit of coffee in the icing. However, even they liked it – they are my ultimate test for a good cake. 

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 1/2 tbsp cocoa
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 175g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

And, for the icing:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 50g butter 
  • 1 generous tbsp cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 4 tbsp strong filter coffee (I used instant)
  • 50g desiccated coconut (I didn’t have any so I missed it out! This might explain my runny icing)


  1. Put the oven on 180C
  2. Mix the cocoa with 100ml boiling water to make a thick paste (I think 100ml might have been too much because it wasn’t really so much a paste as a brown runny liquid). Allow to cool and then gradually pour in the milk.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together and then the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Sift the flour, bicarbonate and salt and add the dry ingredients with the cocoa mixture to the above butter/sugar/egg mixture. Don’t over mix.
  5. Put in a greased and lined deep 20cm tin and cook for 20-25 min until a skewer comes out clean (or for the best part of an hour!) leave in the tin for a few min then tip onto wire rack to cool.

For the icing you basically warm everything together in a pan, allow it to cool and spoon it into the cooled cake. You can decorate with more coconut (if you have some) and coarse sea salt but I felt that the salt might be one thing too much for my kids although it would probably be quite nice. I also think my tin is a bit small and that might be partly why it took so long to cook. Oh well, it still tasted good and I bet it would have been even better with the coconut.

There was an awful noise coming from the living room while I was hanging out the washing. When I went to investigate I found it was Peter or, more specifically, Peter and his Stylophone. He had finally got a battery for it. It sounds something between an organ and a strangled duck. The kids were interested (for about two minutes) but were possibly put off by the terrible sound emitting from it. Peter, on the other hand, looked very pleased with himself. I might have to hide the thing.

One comment on “Stylophones and chocolate cake

  1. Steve Hailstone
    October 28, 2015

    Reading this inspired me to eat a slice of my daughter’s chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (her birthday was Sunday) just before bed. Our coffee is in the cake.


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