Cow-pat cakes

Way-back-when, baking was a favourite playtime activity, and cow-pat cakes were the ultimate fun to make. This wasn’t their official name (I think the recipe probably came from the top of a margarine tub), but given their undeniable resemblance to cow poo, that’s what they became.

I’ve been thinking about cow-pat cakes lately and wondered how they held up to grown-up tastes. So I asked my Mum to email over the recipe, waited for a day when it was too cold and grey to be outside, and gave them a go.

Except that I didn’t. Not the proper recipe, which calls for margarine and drinking chocolate. I haven’t cooked with margarine for years and see no reason to start now. So they got all poshed-up, with butter and proper cocoa. And the result…well, they just weren’t the same. Good, but different. Either way – kid’s version or grown-up – they are crunchy, chocolate-y and great with ice-cream.

1980s cow-pat cake recipe:

4oz caster sugar

8oz margarine

4.5oz plain flour

2oz cornflour

2oz drinking chocolate

2015 cow-pat cake recipe:

50g caster sugar

100g butter

65g plain flour

25g cornflour

25g cocoa, but – horror! – I actually think drinking chocolate would be better

Preheat the oven to 180c. Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon, then sift in the dry ingredients and mix to a stiff dough.

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Cream butter and sugar


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Mix to a stiff dough

Roll dessertspoon-sized balls of the mixture in your hand and place, spaced well-apart, on trays lined with baking parchment. Flatten with a wet fork (and it does need to be wet else it sticks).

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Ready for baking

Bake for about 20 minutes, until flat and well-spread, but not burned. Leave for a few minutes to harden and then move to a wire-rack to cool completely.

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Cow-pat cakes

The verdict: hmmm, well, the grown-up version is good but it isn’t great; the cocoa makes for quite a bitter flavour (of course, drinking chocolate has loads of sugar in it). They are incredibly short, though, and would be great crumbled over ice-cream.


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