Now that my junior item has started baking, I am only called in for the icing. I use a recipe from a book I got at
Leeds university bookshop, which indicates my focus as a student. 1000 Freezer Recipes. It's a much used book, despite my having had no freezer at the time, and little tendency to freeze stuff now. The book is covered in stains, and the icing recipe is easy to use, because it's the most stained page in the book.
This icing gets a nice crunch on the outside, once it sets. It melts in the mouth, and in general is a pleasure to use. If you have to use margarine, it will be a little softer, and I think it is better with butter. The cocoa makes it nice and dark, and, despite being full of sugar, not as sickly sweet as some icing. Some fudge icing is cooked, much like fudge itself. This is an easy alternative.
The trick about spreading it is that you need to prepare it in advance, to allow it to chill. Then spread it using a hot knife – it should be a palette knife, but I just use one with a long blade – I heat it by dipping it into hot water in a tall mug.
If you want an icing that you can wack into/onto a cake on the run, this isn't the one for you. Try a butter icing, and a glace icing on top. It may seem obvious, but don’t try and ice a cake warm from the oven. There’s no point, the icing will just melt into it, turning the cake to fatty mush, or, in the case of glace icing it will sink in. and you’ll have a drizzle cake. Actually, that can be quite nice.
This amount is enough for a 15cm/7" cake - that's quite a small cake, and I don't even have a tin that size. I double the quantity, and use it to fill and cover a cake that is slightly bigger than 20cm. It's not the thickest icing, but I have never had a complaint, or any leftover cake.
Chocolate Fudge Icing Recipe
150g/5oz/1 ¼ cups icing sugar
25g/1 oz/ ¼ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
50g/20z/ ¼ cup butter, thinly sliced
2x5ml spoons/2 tsp honey (can substitute golden syrup)
2x15ml spoons/2 tbsp milk
· Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl
· Put the butter, honey and milk into a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted, stirring all the time, do not allow to boil
· Pour the hot mixture into the icing sugar mixture, stirring until it is combined and smooth – if it is too stiff, add a few drops of hot water
Set aside and allow to stiffen a little
Beat well before using