Tray to go

September 26, 2013

traybake 003

Tomorrow I’m attending my first Macmillan Coffee Morning after a friend’s mum kindly invited me. While I like to think she asked me because of my Dorothy Parker-like party wit, I suspect she knew I would offer to make something. Fortunately, since my oven is on the blink, she opted for a traybake and I have been experimenting for the last few weeks.

I love traybakes yet rarely make them. They have a slightly trashy appeal, probably because they often use condensed milk and sometimes don’t even require any cooking. My favourite is a chocolate and mint one they serve at the garden centre. When I trawled the internet looking for ideas, traybakes appear to often be lumped with brownies. I’m not keen on the latter. They taste to me like stale, flat cakes.

Asking people for ideas is always preferable to the internet since you can be certain they have made them with success. My friend Claire came up trumps with a ‘family favourite’. This was music to my foodie ears since those two words mean a recipe is quick, easy and delicious. It was for lemon and coconut traybake. I used lime instead because I had a couple hanging about the fruit bowl. You could use either or both. It was very rich but totally delicious and so easy to remember as a recipe.

Another friend kindly lent me the Macmillan baking book and Aline Hember’s apricot, coconut and chocolate traybake was a hit. It used much the same method as Claire’s. After taste-testing both in the office, I plumped for the Macmillan recipe but made it with dried cherries instead.

So here are both recipes. They are so quick to make but give as much satisfaction as a home-made cake you laboured hours over. Good luck to everyone taking part in the coffee mornings and if you feel you missed out, maybe get involved next year. You’ve got 12 months to try a lot of cakes out…

Chocolate, cherry & coconut traybake

200g digestive biscuits (about half a big pack)

100g dessicated coconut

175g chopped, dried cherries

397g tin condensed milk

100g butter

150g dark chocolate

Crush the biscuits with your hands until mostly crumbs and small chunks. Stir in the cherries and coconut. Melt the condensed milk with the butter until well mixed and add to the dry ingredients.

Press into a swiss roll tin lined with foil or greaseproof paper. This is the only part of the recipe where it is worth taking a bit of time to make the base as level as possible and ensure it goes right into the edges – this way you will get neater squares.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a small pan of barely simmering water (or do in microwave, it’s apparently foolproof but I don’t have one). Spread over the top of the traybake and place in the fridge until set. Cut into squares.

Lemon & coconut traybake

One packet of rich tea biscuits, crushed as before

100g dessicated coconut

Grated rind of a lemon, two limes, or one of each. Save the juice.

397g tin condensed milk

100g butter

About 200g icing sugar

Mix the biscuits and coconut with the lemon rind. Melt the condensed milk and butter until thoroughly blended. Mix well into the dry ingredients and press into a swiss roll tin as above. Chill.

Mix the remaining lemon juice with the icing sugar, adding a little water from the kettle if you need to. You want a consistency about the same as golden syrup. Spread over the top of the traybake. If you have any coconut left, toast it and sprinkle on top.

traybake 007


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