Thinking Outside the Cake Tin

When faced with a problem, with no solution in sight, someone will inevitably say let’s think outside the box.


The problem today is not about boxes but about cake tins.

This morning I hit a brick wall…a chocolate cake wall, in fact.

The delightful Chocolate Truffle Cake has become something of a nemesis because try as we might, we simply cannot get through it. We made one for our guests on Saturday night and even 10 people could not get through half of the cake.

I intend to bring along this cake when I visit a friend of mine who has just had a baby. I know that Lucy is up at 2am (that’s when she replies to my emails) but however hungry you are as a nursing mother, it’s still a very rich cake to get through.

This is why I need to think outside the box. Generally my comfort zone lies in using 2-lb loaf tins or 20 cm / 23 cm round cake tins for baking all my cakes. Now I need to downsize but am really not sure what size cake tin to use.

Maths is not my strongest point but I know that to measure volume you need the formula V= π r2d where V= volume, π =3.14, r=radius/ r2= r x r, and d=depth.

I managed to work out the volume of each cake tin but in fact there is an added problem because the cake, when baked in the 23cm tin, doesn’t reach the top. It’s not possible to measure like for like as I am not making a cake that completely fills the tin.

In order to make a half size Chocolate Truffle Cake, I ended up using a 17 cm cake tin (and not what should in theory be a half volume cake tin of 15 cm). The problem now is how much to reduce the baking time by, and here I have made a stab in the dark and guessed 45 minutes. In fact this is perfect timing.

Here then is the recipe for a smaller cake, which is more manageable for an average family meal.




For a small Chocolate Truffle Cake:

125 g slightly salted butter

125 g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

75  – 90 g chocolate truffles (any flavour)

2 medium-sized eggs

100 g unrefined caster sugar

75 g ground almonds


You will also need a 17 cm/ 6.8 inch cake tin with a removable base. This is an anomaly as most cake tins now come in 18 cm /7 inch sizes so this is what you might already have/ need to get.


How to Make:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas 4. Grease the base and side of the tin and line with baking parchment.

Place the butter and chocolate in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until melted. Remove the bowl and leave mixture to cool slightly.

Add the chocolate truffles to the chocolate mixture and gently stir until everything is mixed through.

Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a free standing electric mixer. Using the balloon whisk attachment, whisk until the mixture has thickened and has the consistency of custard.

Pour in the chocolate then mix altogether using a plastic spatula.

Fold in the ground almonds.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin, and bake for 45 minutes.

Leave the tin to cool slightly before removing the cake. To do this, place a wide-rimmed glass (which has to be taller than the height of the tin) underneath the base of the tin. Push the top of tin down firmly. The base and cake will remain on top of the glass.

Place the cake on a plate to finish cooling. Serve with créme fraîche or clotted cream for an indulgent end to the meal.