Nigella Lawson says Malteser cake is her most popular with fans – ‘so moving’

Nigella Lawson shares recipe for raspberries in chardonnay jelly

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“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

Ingredients

For the cake:

150 grams soft light brown sugar

100 grams caster sugar

Three eggs

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

Method

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 added: “The sponge layers can be frozen, wrapped individually in a double layer of food wrap and a layer of foil, for up to three months. Unwrap and thaw at room temperature for two to three hours. The cake is best eaten the same day it is iced but leftovers will keep in an airtight container for two to three days.”

The TV chef also revealed the recipe that means the most to her: “My mother’s Praised chicken.

“She died at the age of 48 and cooking that dish is a wonderful way for my children to be able to eat her food,” she told Good Housekeeping.

My Mother’s Praised Chicken

Ingredients

One large chicken (preferably organic)

Two teaspoons garlic infused olive oil

100 millilitres white wine

Two or three leeks (cleaned, trimmed and cut into 7cm logs)

Two or three carrots (peeled and cut into batons)

Two or three sticks celery (sliced)

Approx. two litres cold water

One bouquet garni (or one teaspoon dried herbs)

One small bunch fresh parsley

Two teaspoons sea salt

Two teaspoons red peppercorns (or two teaspoons of good grinding pepper)

English mustard

Chopped fresh dill

Method

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.

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