Monster Tea Cake
by Graham Penny and Heidi Rempel for £25.00

14th April 2006

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The Monster Teacake

Ah, the humble Teacake. No, not the one with currants in, the other one from Tunnock's. An infallible blend of chocolate, marshmallow and shortbread biscuit. And yet... so small. We decided it needed bigging up.

Here's the ingredients list; be warned, this is not cheap!

10 tbsp (that's 142g) unsalted butter
¼ cup icing sugar
1½ tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
1½ cups plain flour
6 large bags Cadbury's Buttons (£1.18 each at Asda)
6 jars Fluff Marshmallow (£2.25 each from Selfridges - ain't I posh)
10" cake tin
Domed salad bowl

In case you haven't heard of Fluff before, it's a marshmallow product made in New Hampshire, which is why we had to resort to Selfridges to get it. It does cut out a lot of hassle messing around making your own marshmallow slop, though, and it tastes fantastic. I suspect you could just melt a massive amount of marshmallows to achieve the same thing, but you're probably talking about 10-15 bags because of the eventual density of the stuff.

Anyhow, first things first, the shortbread. This involved whisking the butter, sugar, icing sugar and salt until soft and then kneading in the plain flour to make a shortbread mix.

This was then pressed down into the base of the cake tin and stuck in the oven to bake (150C for 45 minutes or so). My goodness, real baking!

And you end up with a spectacular - and tasty - shortbread base, which if you have the right cake tin even has the pattern from the bottom of a teacake on it. You might not see this on the end product, but it's detail that counts. If you're really good your shortbread won't even be slightly overdone, like this one:

The chocolate was next. As other pimpers have found out, Cadbury's chocolate can be a hindrance to large-scale snack-making, as it tends to set before you're done with it, but in this instance that was precisely what we wanted, so Cadbury's Buttons were ideal, being small - and thus easier to melt - and a great item to have nearby if you're feeling peckish.

So we melted 4 bags of Buttons down and then brushed the sides of the salad bowl (IMPORTANT - covered in tin foil or cellophane, because coating it with oil doesn't help it come unstuck later, as we discovered when we had to remelt the chocolate and repeat the entire step).

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