Chocolate Biscuit Cake.

flag-mini-british Ever since the recent royal wedding, where Prince William’s favorite “chocolate biscuit cake” was served, I’ve been wanting to jump on the chocolate biscuit cake train.
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Actually, I’ve been wanting to jump on a plane to London to hobnob with the Windsors, but making this simple refrigerator cake seemed like a less expensive way to feel kinship with the royals.
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Traditionally made from crushed Rich Tea Biscuits -- crisp, not-too-sweet British cookies -- mixed into a warmed chocolate mixture and glazed with chocolate ganache (a LOT of chocolate here), the no-bake cake is apparently a much-loved tea-time treat for Prince William. So in addition to traditional wedding fruitcake (I’ll be making that in the next few months!), this “groom’s cake” was served at the prince’s request.
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Reminder: “biscuits” in the U.K. are “cookies” here.
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With a surplus of homemade digestives biscuits, plus some Burton’s Digestives, there was no time like the present to finally make this cake. I would have used the Rich Tea biscuits, only I didn’t locate them until after I had made the recipe. Why o why hadn’t I checked Treasure Island first? Lesson learned.
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Recipes for Chocolate Biscuit Cake abound on the interwebs, many calling for caster sugar (“superfine” to you and me), golden syrup (a by-product of the sugar refining process -- sort of like pale amber colored corn syrup), cocoa powder, sometimes an egg. And quite a few allowed digestives to replace Rich Tea, so scour the World Market shelves for Rich Tea Biscuits, Jacobs Marietta Biscuits, Burton’s or McVitie’s digestives, or use a plain, crisp and barely sweet cookie from the grocery such as Lu Petit Buerre. One blogger I found used Salerno Butter cookies, and another used graham crackers.
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I was more attracted to the recipes with heavy cream or sweetened condensed milk, butter, squares of semi-sweet chocolate, and no eggs. After exhaustive online research, which included some unsightly drooling on my keyboard, I settled on the recipe from Dima’s Kitchen. Four ingredients! I like that.
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The recipe is simplicity itself: heat the butter and sweetened condensed milk (I managed to muddle this instruction by instead melting the butter with the chocolate, but I don’t think this hampered the outcome), add chocolate to melt, mix in crushed cookies -- oops! biscuits -- spread in a prepared 6" springform pan (you want a small pan so the cake has some height), chill for several hours, glaze, slice, eat. Gain weight, work out like a maniac, lose weight, feel proud. Repeat as many times as necessary from “heat the butter and ...” for eternal chocolate-fueled happiness.
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Many recipes call for a topping of glossy chocolate ganache. Ganache is darned easy to make so don’t be intimidated by the fancy French name. It’s warmed heavy cream with dark chocolate melted into it. That’s it. And you can give up counting the fat and calories right about now.
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Once the cake has sufficiently chilled, release it from the pan and -- here’s the trick to a really pretty cake -- turn it upside down. The top of this cake is fairly lumpy and homely. Turning it upside down reveals the nice flat bottom, which makes a lovely smooth surface for the ganache.
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Before the ganache set, I decorated the top with some blooms from my garden, as well as a few fresh raspberries and leaves from my friend Shay’s yard. At first I put a small clipping of cheerful orange butterfly weed, then yanked it out when I found out it’s TOXIC. Yikes! But didn’t it look pretty?
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(NOTE: I think it takes a lot of butterfly weed to make someone sick, but I wasn't taking any chances.)

William's cake was a vision of modern culinary construction, all masculine right angles and austere white chocolate lilly flowers. It included some “secret ingredients” that McVitie’s, who “baked” the biscuit cake for the royal couple, would not reveal. Oh, how I wish I could have tasted a slice of that supersecret cake. And the wedding fruitcake, too.
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The finished biscuit cake is truly a chocolate lovers delight -- creamy fudgy chocolate, crisp mildly sweet cookies, and the smoothest, most decadent chocolate glaze you’ve ever tasted. It defies easy categorization -- cake? cookie? candy? Ah, how about ... confection! And from just a few ordinary ingredients. Next time I’ll use Rich Tea biscuits, add dried cherries and toasted pecans, and possibly even spike the chocolate with some brandy, bourbon or whisky. There's lots of creative potential with this recipe.
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Naturally one eats slices of chocolate biscuit cake with tea. Cheers! And here's to a long, blissful marriage for the
happy couple. Obviously Kate, with her impossibly tiny waistline, is not overindulging in chocolate biscuit cake. Or else she's working out like an absolute maniac.

Please feel free to leave a comment below -- I love to hear what you think of the recipe, post, or anything else you want to talk about.


Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Adapted from Dima's Kitchen

6-8 oz. your choice of Tea biscuits or cookies, broken into pieces
4-5 oz. good semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter

Chocolate Ganache (see below)

Grease or butter a 6" round cake pan (a small springform pan is ideal), then line with parchment paper along the bottom and the sides.

In a small saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk with the butter and stir over low heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth again. if tiny chocolate pieces persist and do not melt, use a rotary beater to beat the mixture till smooth. Remove from heat.

Add broken biscuits/cookies to the chocolate mixture and stir all to combine thoroughly. Spread into prepared pan, pressing to fill the corners of the pan. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove from pan, place upside down on a wire rack and pour chocolate Ganache over the cake; spread over top and sides to cover it. If desired, decorate with fresh (not toxic!) or candied flowers, or other decorations. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving or until firm. Slice thinly -- this cake is
rich.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Adapted from Dima's Kitchen

This is half of Dima's original recipe.

1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
6 oz. good semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolates (do not stir); let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes. Spread evenly over biscuit cake.