I have no idea who invented the ‘rubbing in’ technique in the world of bakery (I guess I could Google it but I think it would shatter the illusion) but I, for one, would like to shake their butter and flour coated hand and possibly award them the Nobel Peace Prize. I can’t imagine why someone would one day just decide to rub little chunks of cold butter into a big bowl of flour and then get some sort of cake out of it but by golly they were on to a winner and it’s definitely in my list of top ten favourite ways to while away fifteen therapeutic minutes, of an evening.
Tonight I decided to apply this wonderful technique to making a family favourite of orange chocolate chip rock cakes. For those of you who have slightly traumatic memories of huge, meteor-like creations, packed full of burnt currants and threatening to crack the plate they were plonked on (I’m kidding Mum, I loved your rock cakes, I’ll embellish anything to get a laugh) fear not, as these are a little lighter, a little smaller and contain chocolate instead of mini rabbit bobbins. Once again I’ve taken the recipe from the rather fantastic book ‘Bake me a cake as fast as you can’ by Miranda Gore Browne, which I can’t recommend highly enough (and even though I’ve only baked the same three recipes on a continuous loop, I can confirm that I’ve salivated over and over again at all the other ones).
Orange and Chocolate Chip Rock Cakes – makes 16
225g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
85g chilled unsalted butter – finely diced
Grated zest of an orange
1 large egg
85g caster sugar
2 tbsp. semi-skimmed milk
100g chocolate chips
1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 4/180C/350F and line two shallow baking sheets with non-stick baking paper
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips (did I mention I love this bit?)
3. Add the orange zest, egg, sugar and milk and mix well with a knife to combine
4. Stir in the chocolate chips and roll into small balls. Put the balls onto baking sheets, making sure they are well spaced apart
5. Bake in pre-heated oven for approx. 20 mins and the bottom of the cakes come away cleanly and are golden in colour
6. Swat away your childrens’ hands with a damp tea towel as they try to swipe the little beauties straight from the baking tray in spite of you repeatedly yelling ‘Step away, it’s just come out of the oven and it’s red hot!’
7. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a well-deserved strong black coffee
Top tip: I’ve also tried these with chopped up Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments and omitted the orange zest and choc chips and they’re equally as good.