I have an addiction. Well several actually, red wine, shoes, chocolate, Twitter, cheese, trashy magazines, Master Chef (I know) and cooking classes. Yes, I absolutely love going to cooking classes and by this stage have managed to attend a whole host of different classes in London not to mention the ones I fit in while on holidays in different countries. Poor MTV boyfriend even got dragged along to one while on our honeymoon in Sri Lanka. So let’s just say I jumped at the chance when Ooh.com invited me to try out a class with The Roving Chef in London.
The Roving Chef is the lovely Hayley who roves her way all the way around to your house to give you a private cooking class in your own kitchen. There are a few major benefits to this. It is ridiculously convenient and the whole experience is more realistic as you cook using your own motley collection of saucepans and your own dodgy oven rather than perfect commercial style kitchens in which cooking classes are generally run. The downside is that the class lacks some of the fun social element of a group cooking class, plus you have to buy the ingredients yourself and wash the dishes!
The two halves of the cake cooling prior to icing
In the class Hayley and I made chicken curry, fennel risotto, chicken with a chocolate sauce and a chocolate sponge cake. Given that I already have curry and risotto recipes on here and that the chocolate sauce dish was a bit of a disaster (Hayley had never made it before so I happily volunteered to be the guinea pig) I thought I would share Hayley’s chocolate sponge recipe with you. It was incredibly easy with the ratios of butter, flour and sugar all the same. It also had a great light but rich chocolate taste which won plaudits from my work mates when I brought it in the next day to share with them. Hayley suggested sandwiching the cake with whipped cream and jam but I could not resist tweaking the recipe a little and adding my own chocolate and hazelnut frosting (made with the secret ingredient of Nutella).
225g self raising flour
225g caster sugar
2 tbs cocoa powder
250g icing sugar
80g butter at room temperature
80g of Nutella or another hazlenut and chocolate spread
1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together and then add them gradually to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing well as you go.
4. Before adding the flour remove 2 tbs of flour and replace with the 2 tbs of cocoa powder. If you want to make a plain vanilla Victoria sponge omit this step and the cocoa powder.
5. Add the flour and cocoa mix and mix together well then divide the mixture equally into two baking paper lined and greased cake tins and make sure the mixture is level.
6. Bake for 25 – 30 mins or until a skewer pressed into the cake comes out clean. Turn the cakes out of the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
7. For the frosting beat the icing sugar and butter together using an electric mixer.
8. Turn the mixer down to a low speed and add the milk, once it is incorporated turn the mixer up to high and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy.
7. Stir in the nutella by hand and then use half the frosting to sandwich between the two cakes and the other half to top the cake with.
A three hour lesson with The Roving Chef costs £100 although I received a complimentary lesson from Ooh.com. They offer more cooking classes here.