One of my most popular posts ever is my famous (in my mind) packed lunch cake which I used to make regularly to add to my children’s packed lunches which I could make for 6p per portion.
The cake itself is delicious although the 6p price per portion does reflect the smaller portion size as it’s made for a child’s packed lunch. Even taking into account the portion sizes, it does work out at great value and if you wanted to cut it into less portions you could have a slice double the size of the one pictured above for just 12p!
I haven’t made this cake in ages as both of my children are in secondary school now where they are on school dinners but week Master Frugal asked if he could bake a chocolate version so I sat at the kitchen table while he did all the work. As I was sat there, I was thinking about how I used to bake a lot more than I do now and that baking your own goodies is so much cheaper than buying treats and also, whilst they’re not particularly healthy, I much prefer knowing what we’re eating.
I’d like to do more baking this year but I want to go back to basics and bake things like my Nana would bake – bread, cakes, scones etc rather than anything fancy that takes more time that I usually have, more effort than I usually want to put in and more importantly, more money that I want to pay for something I’m making at home.
I sat and worked out the costings for Master Frugal’s easy chocolate traybake while he was busy mixing away and I worked out that it would easily be split into 15 portions making the cost just 12p per portion (based on current costs on the Tesco website) which is for a 6cm x 6cm square of cake.
That’s not bad at all is it? Let me tell you how he made it and how much it all cost….
Easy Chocolate Traybake – 12p per portion
225g sugar (16p)
225g butter or margarine (45p)
225g self raising flour (7p)
50g cocoa (40p)
4 eggs (Free range – 60p)
2 capfuls vanilla essence (5p)
3 tablespoons milk (No idea 5p?)
(optional) A bag of chocolate chips cost about 80p but make a great addition and would add about 6p to your overall cost
- Beat the sugar and the margarine together until they’re looking creamy.
- Add the eggs, vanilla and milk and whisk it all together.
- Fold in the flour and cocoa and gently mix until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Pour the mixture into a baking tray and cook at around 180 c for 30-35 minutes. I usually use a silicone baking tray lined with some baking paper to make our tray bakes but I’ve seen some great disposable ones quite cheap if you’re baking for something like a school bake sale. I can’t tell you how many trays and boxes I lost to the school over the years!
- When it’s cool you could lightly dust with some icing sugar rather than ice it or I’ve included my chocolate icing recipe below if you’d prefer to ice it.
We had some edible glitter at the back of the cupboard so I couldn’t resist a little sparkle – totally unnecessary though!
Easy Chocolate Traybake with icing – 17p per portion
You can decorate with some chocolate icing if you want to which would add a little more to the cost per slice. We cheated with ours and used some Betty Crocker icing that Mr Frugal sneaked into the trolley as he claims it tastes nicer than mine (I know, ridiculous right?) but if I hadn’t have had to use that up then I would use my recipe for chocolate icing:
40g cocoa powder (32p)
300g icing sugar (keep some to one side in case you need to make the icing thicker) (50p)
4-5 tablespoons milk (10p)
My icing takes the cost of the cake per slice up by 5p whereas good old Betty Crocker takes it up by 13p per slice so if you’re going to ice the cakes you should definitely go with my version of the icing!
This easy traybake recipe would be amazing for things like the school fair or a bake sale of some sort and would even be good for a budget birthday cake (go with the Betty Crocker and some sprinkles for a posh version). We ended up having this as a pudding for Christmas Day as did our friends who ordered one off him after tasting the original one. He also ended up making another two after special requests and is actually considering a little baking business now which is amazing for someone like him who is lacking in confidence!
See, baking doesn’t need to be all fancy and cost a fortune to be delicious!
I’m hoping to share more baking on a budget posts over the next few months, what sort of things would you cook if you were baking on a budget?
If you liked this recipe for my easy chocolate traybake then you can save it to your own recipe box if you use Yummly – just click on the YUM icon at the bottom of this post.
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