Whether it’s the sugar rush we get from them or the elusive feeling of love from our first bite, there’s no denying it; we are a nation obsessed with chocolate. We walk into our corner shop or into our local supermarkets and the first thing that catches our eye is the confectionery aisle. The bright colours, the temptation, the naughtiness of knowing you shouldn’t but you really should, there’s just something about chocolate that we can’t resist.
Not only that, chocolate isn’t only making us happy, it’s making the manufacturers rather happy also. Chocolate is a multi-million pound industry so as long as we’re eating it, we’re keeping the big cats milk bowl full too. I decided to check out the stats of the nations favourite chocolate bars and interpret our Top 10 into household cake recipes. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way to the top. Starting with #10 on the list: M&M’s.
Manufactured by Mars Confectionery, latest figures from foodmanufacturer.co.uk indicate that those colourful little pills of chocolate raked in £66.9m by the end of 2013. Plain milk chocolate M&M’s were first introduced in 1941 by Forrest Mars. Jr, son of the founder of the Mars Company, Frank C. Mars. Not as convenient as they are today, the idea for M&M’s came during the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939) when Forrest saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard outer shell to stop the chocolate melting.
The rest is history. Now we have biscuit M&M’s, peanut M&M’s: America even have pretzel M&M’s! This in mind, I decided to make a classic muffin cake with a twist: I Peanut M&M’d it. Moist muffin, peanut butter cream filling with peanut butter cream icing, sprinkled with Peanut M&M’s. Here’s what you’ll need:
Muffin cake mix
- 4 heaped tbsp of caster sugar
- 4 tbsp margarine
- 4 eggs
- 4 heaped tbsp of self raising flour
- A splash of milk
Peanut Butter cream
- 4 heaped tbsp of icing sugar
- 4 heaped tbsp of peanut butter
- 4 heaped tbsp of butter
- A big packet of Peanut M&M’s!
1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°) for half an hour.
2. Grease your cake tins with margarine, just so they’re ready to go straight into the oven once you’ve put your cake mix in them.
3. Crack your eggs into a mixing bowl and add the margarine, self raising flour and caster sugar. Whisk! This is known as the “All In One” method, so it doesn’t really matter what order you put your ingredients in. After all of the ingredients are mixed together, add a splash of milk. I go for full fat, but you can use skimmed or semi skimmed if you like. Whisk again for a light and fluffy texture.
4. Spoon half of the mixture into one cake tin and the other half into the other. Bake for 15 minutes and check to see if the cake is rising. Little tip: stick a tooth pick into one of the layers and if the toothpick comes out clear, that means the cake mix is fully cooked. Don’t take your eye off the cake layers after this: it can burn very easily. Check again after another 5 minutes and they should be ready!
5. Once your cake is cooked through, place the cake tins on a tea towel on the side and allow a good half an hour to cool before you fill and ice the cake. They should look something like this when done.
6. Whilst your cake is cooling, it’s time to make the peanut butter cream. To do this, place your peanut butter, icing sugar and butter into a jug and mix! It’s that simple! And tastes like heaven.
7. Spoon half of the cream onto the bottom layer and proceed to put the top layer on. Make sure you do not push the cream into the cake with the knife, make sure you are spreading it upwards as this makes for a better a effect.
8. Once you have done this, repeat step 7 but on the top layer of the cake.
9. After you have done this, get your packet of peanut M&M’s and place them on however you like! I went for an M&M M in the centre and various coloured M&M’s round the edge.
10. Eat. Eat until it’s all gone. Perfect for pudding or as a tasty little treat. Serves 8 if you’re skimpy with the portion size: it lasted about two minutes in my house!
By John Elsworth