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Chocolate Sponge Traybake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Putting a grown-up spin on a childhood favourite, Ainsley Harriott's rich chocolate sponge traybake with salted caramel sauce makes for an excellent dinner party dessert.

Introduction

This delightful chocolate sponge traybake is a throwback to my childhood. I loved chocolate sponge pudding at school and so years later I often recreated it at home for my kids. I’ve added chocolate chips and a few bittersweet cacao nibs to add a bit of a modern twist and texture to this super-easy traybake, and the salted caramel sauce adds a little bit of grown-up indulgence.

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Ingredients

250g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
125g caster sugar
125g soft light brown sugar
4 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
50g good-quality cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp milk
100g dark chocolate chips
1 tsp cacao nibs (optional)
vanilla ice cream, to serve
For the salted caramel sauce
150g soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
250ml double cream
50g butter
½ tsp flaky sea salt

Essential kit

You will need: a deep-sided baking tin, 20 x 25cm and an electric hand-held mixer.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Grease a deep-sided baking tin, 20 x 25cm, and line with baking parchment.

In a large bowl and using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sift over the flour,
baking powder, cocoa and salt. Beat until well combined then add the milk and stir. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour into the prepared baking tin and level out the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Sprinkle over the cacao nibs (if using). Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly in the tin.

To make the caramel sauce, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a low to medium heat. Gently bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Cut the sponge into 9 squares and serve with the caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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