HERE is a gorgeous recipe from North Dorset cook Mrs Simpkins for a batch of cheeky little chocolate cakes to take on any al fresco forays.

It makes approximately 18 cakes.

Ingredients: 150g (5oz) self raising flour.

25g (1oz) good quality cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate).

175g (6oz) softened butter.

175g (6oz) unrefined caster sugar.

3 eggs.

2 tablespoons milk.

Method: Preheat oven to 180C (fan ovens) or equivalent You will need a 12-cup muffin tin plus paper cases Whiz the butter and sugar together in a food processor until combined and fluffy. Sieve some of the flour in a layer over the mixture and then add the eggs. Sieve in the rest of the flour and the cocoa. Whiz again. Add the milk and whiz until smooth and glossy. You may need to remove the lid a couple of times and scrape the mixture down from the sides with a flexible spatula.

Arrange the paper cases in the muffin tin and spoon two fairly generous teaspoons of mixture into each case. Bake for around 15 minutes or until domed and risen and springy to the touch. A skewer or wooden cocktail stick should come out clean when inserted. Remove from the tin with a small palette knife and leave to cool on a wire rack. Bake the remaining part batch.

Chocolate Glace Icing 200g (7oz) icing sugar 25g (1oz) cocoa powder 4 tablespoons milk Sieve about a quarter of the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl and stir in the milk. Sieve the rest of the icing sugar and cocoa in a bit at a time until it is all incorporated. Beat with a wooden spoon until glossy. Spoon over the cooled cakes. You can either spread the icing over the whole top of the cake, cup cake style, or spoon a little circle of icing into the middle of each cake.

You might like to decorate the top of the cakes with a single Maltesers® chocolate ball. These are just a fraction too big and look nice and comical, like a picture book cake with a cherry on top.