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
4.5oz plain flour
2oz drinking chocolate
2015 cow-pat cake recipe:
50g caster sugar
65g plain flour
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.
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).
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.
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.