When planning our Royal Wedding-watching midnight feast, I decided to try my hand at the Chocolate Biscuit Cake which Prince William had requested be served at the wedding. I vaguely remembered having ‘Chocolate Fridge Cake’ myself as a child and thought that the Minx might like it.
I can now see where Prince William is coming from. This ‘cake’ is obscenely decadent and utterly scrumptious and also very quick and easy to make (though I imagine that the enormous version served at the wedding itself took a bit more time).
I based my version loosely on the recipe given by the Tea & Sympathy tearoom in New York and several British versions. The great thing about this cake is that, since it’s a ‘no bake’ cake – it just sets hard in the fridge – you can be very approximate with quantities and it will still turn out successfully.
The trickiest part for peeps not in the UK will be sourcing the correct biscuits (yes, biscuits in this case means ‘cookies’ and not the soft billowy scone-like things you eat for breakfast). The traditional English biscuit of choice would be McVities Digestives or Rich Teas – hard, plain, crumbly biscuits which are not too sweet and and a tad salty. They provide a nice contrast to the rest of the cake which is so sweet and rich. I can find McVities biscuits in the British food section at Metropolitan Market in Seattle and all the online British food stores also carry them, so they are available in the US if you look. The nearest American equivalent is the Graham cracker but they’re not quite the same. You could also experiment with some of the plain French cookies which are quite easily available (LU do good ones) or use a plain packet shortbread. Remember, nothing too rich, too sweet, or too fancy.
Golden syrup may also be a challenge for people outside the US. I discuss it at length here. Honey, maple syrup or corn syrup could be substituted at a pinch though your cake will taste different. Or else replace the cream and golden syrup with 14 fl oz (400 ml) of sweetened condensed milk.
Finally dried sour cherries are an inspired addition by moi, if I say so myself. The sour, chewy sweetness adds a whole new dimension to the soft cream unctuousness of the chocolate and the crunchiness of the biscuits. I would imagine that dried cranberries would have a similar effect, and raisins would do at a pinch.
1 sleeve (about 8-10 oz) McVities Rich Tea or Digestive biscuits, Graham crackers, or similar. I used Digestives.
10oz (300g) good chocolate. I used Green & Blacks, two bars of dark and two bars of milk since I had the Minx in mind. More sophisticated chocolate lovers may prefer to use all dark chocolate.
1/2 cup/200g/4oz butter
10 fl oz/300 ml heavy/double cream
4 fl oz / 100 ml/ 4 tbsp golden syrup (see above)
A couple of large handfuls of dried sour cherries/cranberries/raisins (optional)
4 oz (100g) good chocolate (see above)
1 tbsp heavy/double cream
Line a loaf tin with butter and parchment paper
Crumble the cookies into small roughly almond-sized bits.
Set up a bain marie or a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, break up the chocolate into bits and melt it in the bowl, together with the butter, cream and syrup.
When everything is fully melted together, stir in the crumbled biscuits and dried fruit if using until everything is fully coated with chocolate. Pour it into the loaf tin and smooth the top with a wooden spoon. Chill in the fridge for around 4 hours.
When the cake is fully chilled, melt the remaining chocolate and 1tbsp of cream or milk together to make a ganache. Turn out the cake and spread the ganache over the top and sides, filling in an gaps, lumps an bumps.
Serve in small pieces. A little truly does go a long way, though the Minx (who ADORED this cake) might not fully agree.
Here’s a picture of the cake served at the Royal Wedding at Prince William’s request and made by McVities. They apparently used 35lbs of chocolate and approximately 1,700 Rich Tea biscuits.