So Travelodge were like hey, we want you to help us tempt people to Birmingham for a cheeky visit by telling them about the food. And as part of their #TravelodgeFoodies they came up with this list of five Birmingham delicacies. Sure balti, or curry in general, is definitely a Birmingham delicacy, but I was pretty miffed that chocolate had been missed off the list – being we’re the home of Cadbury and all (which I guess is more of an ingredient than a dish, but still).
The whole plan was to tell people about the food by showing them an amazing recipe of something classically Birmingham. But one of my favourite things about Birmingham is the people – we’re a pretty unconventional bunch. With massive celebrations for St Patrick’s Day, Eid, Jamaican Independence and enough festivals in winter that one year the council created the ill-fated Winterval (they didn’t cancel Christmas, calm down), it’s a city where anything goes – as long as you’re good humoured about it. So rather than cook up something sensible like a balti or a chocolate brownie, I thought what the hell I’ll make something interesting (like the architecture in the city centre).
And so I bring you chocolate curry cake. I know, this sounds a bit weird…but I’ve tested it out on some friends (one of which I bumped into on Colmore Row and demanded he eat cake – sorry George). Ginger and cinnamon are fairly typical flavours in cake and they come across in this recipe, but the extra curry spices give it an extra depth to the flavour. I used a supermarket medium curry powder because faffing around with minimal amounts of cinnamon, garam masala and the like would’ve been a nightmare; medium had a good flavour without there being any heat (a bit like our current summer). To be honest I was tempted to leave these without icing, but thought a slight citrus would really bring it all together, so added a drizzle of glacé icing made with lime juice, which definitely worked. I thought about a buttercream icing (which is why they’re a bit flatter in the photo) but I think this would’ve overpowered the flavour.
- 100g margarine or butter
- 100g vanilla caster sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 50ml semi-skimmed milk
- 80g self-raising flour
- 20g cocoa powder
- 0.5tsp medium curry powder
- 1tsp icing sugar
- 2 drops lime juice
- Pre-heat your oven for about 180c or whatever the equivalent is on your oven. Prepare your cupcake tin with liners.
- Cream in the margarine (or butter) and sugar.
- Mix the egg into the sugar and margarine mixture until it's combined fully.
- In a separate bowl add the flour, cocoa and curry powder and mix together.
- Sieve the flour mixture into the main bowl and fold in (mix in a sort of figure of eight formation).
- Pour the batter into the cupcake cases or directly into the tin, if you prefer.
- Cook for about 20minutes or until the tops are springy and you can insert a skewer into the cake and it come out clean. Then leave them to cool.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled create an icing with a teaspoon of icing sugar, a few drops of lime juice and a little water - add the water slowly. Drizzle over the cakes.
And there you have it, two of Birmingham’s delicacies…curry and chocolate, combined into cake! Thanks to Travelodge for inspiring this slightly random recipe…and Birmingham, of course.
Disclosure: Travelodge provided me with vouchers to pay for the ingredients to make this…I think they were thinking of a sensible recipe, but that would be far too simple now wouldn’t it?