So, just to make clear … I am not a royalist. I am not particularly interested in the upcoming wedding of William Windsor in the UK, nor am I excited to see what dress his bride will wear. But no one could escape the fluffy news pieces about the nursery tea cake that William requested as his Groomsmen Cake for the upcoming nuptials. May be we needed a break from the devastation of Japan or the multiple uprisings around the world. I’m not sure.
But what I do know is this: the cake sounded intriguing. And when my beloved GoddessMoments sent out a request asking for someone to make her the cake, I thought … Ooh, Id love to do that! So I promised her a cake and I got to work doing a bit of research.
This refrigerator cake (there is no baking) was apparently a favourite tea time cake when William was a child, and according to former royal Chef Darren McGrady, is also a special favourite of the Queen. Its a simple cake – chocolate and tea biscuits are its main components, but there are several versions out there which also incorporate fruit and nuts. I have already written about my dislike for mixing the purity of chocolate with fruit and nuts – I find it muddies the waters.
I found online two main recipes – one by Nigella Lawson that incorporates dried fruits and nuts and uses condensed milk as the sweetener. The second is attributed to Chef McGrady, and uses sugar instead, but is pure chocolate. I loved the idea of using condensed milk so I did a bit of a mashup and evolved my own recipe. I think its delicious – simple and satisfying, tasting of tea biscuits and chocolate.
Please do use an organic egg in this recipe – because even though the heat of the chocolate “cooks” the egg, its probably not fully cooked. Use a pasturised egg, or omit entirely if you are worried. Add dried fruits and nuts if its your thing … and give it time to firm up in the fridge before gilding with its final bath of pure chocolate.
I hope you enjoy this recipe – during the wedding of William and Catherine – or to celebrate your own life!
Makes 1 9-inch cake. Please keep refrigerated.
- 1 packet McVities Rich Tea biscuits
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 3/4 can (about 1 cup) sweetened condensed milk, thickened and cold from the fridge
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 16 ounces (6 + 8) best quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 72%)
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
Prepare a 9 inch cake tin (if you have a spring form pan it is best, but not absolutely necessary) by lining it with parchment paper and buttering well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, crush the Rich Tea Biscuits with your fingers. You want an interesting mix of almond sized pieces and crumbles. Set aside.
In a stand mix, whip the butter until it is light and fluffy, and then whisk in the sweetened condensed milk until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla until just combined. Set aside.
Pour boiling water into a saucepan, and set a small metal bowl over. Melt 6 ounces of chocolate in the small bowl, until completely liquid. Using a fork (and with the bowl still set over the hot water), whisk in an egg. The chocolate mixture will “seize” – this is OK, just work very quickly.
Pour the chocolate and egg mixture into the butter, and whisk well to combine. Pour the butter-chocolate mixture directly over the biscuits, and fold well. Pour the cake “batter” into your prepared cake tin and refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Once the cake has had time to mature in the fridge, melt the remaining 8 ounces of chocolate, and allow to cool for about ten minutes.
Once the cake has solidified, use a sharp knife to loosen the edges, and turn out onto a cake rack. Set the rack over a baking sheet. Remove the parchment paper from the top of the cake and use a spatula to smooth any rough edges.
Pour the melted chocolate over the cake, and smooth the sides with a spatula. Refrigerate (either on the cake rack or transfer to a serving plate) for at least another 2 – 3 hours.
Serve with a very sharp knife to hack the cake to pieces!
Note: You can flavour this cake with all sorts of things. Whisky comes to mind – or peppermint essence. Fruit and nuts would also work if youre so inclined.