These children's party favourites are now appreciated for all occasions. So why not introduce them at Christmas⁄ I like to decorate them with tiny holly sprigs found in cake-decorating shops and some supermarkets.
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup dark chocolate bits
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2/3 cup milk
For the glace icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2-3 tbsp boiling water
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line two 12-hole deep patty pans with paper cases. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla essence and chocolate bits.
Lightly fold the flour and milk into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Spoon into the patty cases to three-quarters full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pans for five minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. To make the glace icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the boiling water and butter. Stir until smooth and shiny. Spread the top of each cake with the icing and decorate with holly sprigs moulded from a firm icing, or cut holly with leaves from red and green glace cherries.