choc cakeLet’s drink to polyphenols, and eat to them too. You can read about the benefits of polyphenols found in red wine in my column on But some foods contain these chemicals too. If you want to have a go at making a polyphenol-rich chocolate, walnut, cinnamon and fruit-laced sponge cake, then try this Gary Rhodes recipe I’ve adapted.

After lining a 10-inch cake tin and setting your oven to 180 degrees, get out the food processor and bung in:

  • 6oz butter (no margarine please!)
  • 8oz soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (I tend to fling in the equivalent 1:2 ratio of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar instead)
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4oz cocoa (Oxfam Finest Cocoa from Africa gives it a rich-chocolate taste)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1oz walnuts
  • ½ pint of Mackeson’s sweet stout (it must be sweet stout, not a traditional bitter stout like Guinness).

Blend until smooth and scrape it all out into your baking tin. Cook for an hour. When cool fill with raspberry jam and serve with a dollop of cream.

If, by any chance, you don’t eat this fast enough and it starts to go stale, don’t despair. Warm a thick slice up in the microwave and pour on some Bird's custard – guaranteed to moisten up any slightly past-it cake.

If you want something to wash it down with, try drinking up the rest of the can of stout or pour yourself a glass of Chianti.