“There’s a particular recipe – my Malteser cake – that people often message me about, and they’ll say things such as, ‘I’ve made it for every birthday since my child was eight – and they’re now 18!’ It’s so moving to be a part of someone’s life in that way,” Nigella Lawson told Good Housekeeping.
Chocolate Malteser cake recipe
For the cake:
150 grams soft light brown sugar
100 grams caster sugar
175 millilitres milk
15 grams butter
Two x 15ml tablespoons Horlicks
175 grams plain flour
25 grams cocoa (sieved)
One teaspoon baking powder
Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For the icing:
250 grams icing sugar
One teaspoon cocoa
45 grams Horlicks
125 grams unsalted butter
Two x 15ml tablespoons boiling water
Two x 37 grams packet (approx. 28-30 in number) Maltesers
READ MORE: Aldi’s sell-out log burner with over 800 five star reviews is back
Nigella explained: “Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature (though it’s not so crucial here, since you’re heating the milk and butter and whisking the eggs).
“Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C/325°F. Butter and line two 20cm /eight-inch loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.
“Whisk together the sugars and eggs while you weigh out the ingredients; I use a freestanding mixer here which explains why I can do both things at once. Heat the milk, butter and Horlicks powder in a saucepan until the butter melts, and it is hot but not boiling. When the sugars and eggs are light and frothy, beat in the hot Horlicks mixture and then fold in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, by which time the cakes should have risen and will spring back when pressed gently. Let them cool on a rack for about five to 10 minutes and then turn out of their tins.”
She continued: “Once the cakes are cold, you can get on with the icing. I use processor just because it makes life easier: you don’t need to sieve the icing sugar. So: put the icing sugar, cocoa and Horlicks in the processor and blitz to remove all lumps. Add the butter and process again. Stop, scrape down, and start again, pouring the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running until you have a smooth buttercream.
“Sandwich the cold sponges with half of the buttercream, and then ice the top with what is left, creating a swirly top rather than a smooth surface. Stud the outside edge with a ring of Maltesers or use them to decorate the top in whichever way pleases you.”
Nigella explained: “Get out a large, flame-safe cooking pot (with a lid) in which the chicken can fit snugly: mine is about 28cm wide x 10cm deep / 11inches wide x four inches deep.
“On a washable board, un-truss the chicken, put it breast-side down and press down until you hear the breastbone crack. (As you may imagine, I like this.) Then press down again, so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Now cut off the ankle joints below the drumstick (but keep them); I find kitchen scissors up to the task.
“Put the oil in the pan to heat, then brown the chicken for a few minutes breast-side down, and turn up the heat and turn over the chicken, tossing in the feet as you do so. Still over a vigorous heat add the wine or vermouth to the pan and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots and celery.
“Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken, though the very top of it may poke out, then pop in the bouquet garni or your herbs of choice, and the parsley stalks (if I have a bunch, I cut the stalks off to use here, but leave them tied in the rubber band) or parsley sprigs.
“The chicken should be almost completely submerged by now and if not, do add some more cold water. You want it just about covered.
“Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn the heat to very low and leave to cook for one and a half to two hours. I tend to give it one and a half hours, or one hour 40 minutes, then leave it to stand with the heat off, but the lid still on, for the remaining 20–30 minutes.”
She added: “Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables with brown basmati rice, adding a ladleful or two of liquid over each shallow bowl, as you go, and putting fresh dill and mustard on the table for the eaters to add as they wish.”
The May issue of Good Housekeeping is on sale from March 30.