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Monster Tea Cake

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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).

We threw it in the freezer for a few minutes, then brushed the chocolate even again on the inside – you need to do this a couple of times before it sets hard enough to not slide back into the bottom of the bowl. Eventually this gives you a nice hardened shell in the bowl.

It’s a good idea to make sure the shell comes out of the bowl at this point, and hopefully you’ll get a nice, smooth hemisphere of chocolate. Put it carefully back in the bowl once you’ve checked this, though.

Back to the shortbread – we melted another bag of Buttons and brushed the bottom and sides of the shortbread, then cooled it again to harden the chocolate:

Now it’s time for our special ingredient – we emptied all 6 jars of the Fluff into the shell.

This should just be enough to fill the whole shell, but it may not be enough to save it from a tragic fate later on, as we will discover shortly.

We’re down to our last bag of Buttons by now, so we melted those down and brushed it around the outside of the base, then inverted it onto the top of the bowl with the shell in it (get an adult to do this, or alternatively someone with at least some manual dexterity, like your significant other. Added benefit: you’re free to take pictures and laugh when their sticky hands).

You can then flip the whole thing over. But tragedy (or rather gravity) strikes! There’s not enough marshmallow in the dome, and its sticky nature means the top of the teacake is pulled down with it.

And things go from bad to worse – the marshmallow starts oozing out between the dome and the base, and our lovely smooth dome is quickly superseded by emergency patchwork with the remaining chocolate so that we can get a comparison shot taken.

Nevertheless, tradition demands a cross-section, so we bravely cut into the the Teacakes, but the camera batteries chose this moment to expire, and by the time they had been replaced the tasty base had already been subsumed by oozing marshmallow.

And then it’s a rush to tip the lot back into the bowl to prevent the entire worktop being covered in *ahem* white goo…

So it was short-lived, but we nevertheless feel that this was a successful pimp. Particularly since the end result was so tasty – like I said, where can this possibly go wrong?


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