August was a hot and stormy month around here. On top of the heat, our oven was suddenly on the fritz. Not that I would have turned on the oven in our already hot kitchen. However, this meant that my dessert-baking obsession was taking a serious beating throughout that time.
As I’ve mentioned before, when Emma has friends coming by, she selects what treat she’d like to have for the visit. We were preparing to have some friends by for dinner, but without an oven, any of the standard selections that Emma enjoys would not be easy to deliver.
So, for this visit, I didn’t ask for her suggestion, which usually is prefaced with “Mummy, I have a great idea!” and decided to go at it alone. In my own search for a no-bake dessert, one in particular stood out – very chocolatey and very delicious and very easy to make. And I happened to have all of the ingredients at home. That night at 11:00pm, I decided to experiment and make this Chocolate Biscuit Cake. It really was a perfect cake for our Emma — one that was requested by Prince William as his groom’s cake.
By 11:45 that evening, I was loading the last of the dishes into the dishwasher and heading off to bed. Quickly, the following morning, I finished the outside “icing” and garnished the cake in a few minutes before our guests arrived. It was a huge success. We served it again a few times and always to the same positive response.
The oven’s fixed and the weather’s milder now, but this has certainly earned a place in Emma’s top desserts list.
Chocolate Biscuit Cake
inspired by: Veggie Belly
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 200g rich tea biscuits or digestives, broken into 1/2″ pieces
- 400-450g dark chocolate, broken into 1″ squares
- 1/4 cup butter (softened or cold, doesn’t really matter)
- 3-4 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp skim milk
- 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 50g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
- 8 fresh gooseberries, washed and dried (optional, as garnish)
- milk chocolate, grated (optional, as garnish)
Line an 8″ round cake pan with plastic wrap. Ensure that you have enough hanging over the edges so you can use it to lift the finished cake out of the pan once everything has cooled and is set. Sprinkle the cranberries evenly around the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a microwavable bowl, warm the chocolate and butter on half-power for 1 minute in the microwave. Remove and stir. Return the bowl to the microwave and heat again on half-power for another minute. Continue to heat and stir, this time heating in 15 second increments until the chocolate and butter are melted. Once melted and smooth, add the milk and sugar and mix well.
Once the chocolate mixture is smooth, add the biscuits. Stir until they are well coated. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and using your spatula, firmly press the mixture into the pan until it is spread evenly across the pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and press it down so it touches the top of the cake. (You may want to use a metal spatula at this point to press the cake mixture into the pan and even things out. I did and it helped since the chocolate started to set for me when I was originally pressing everything into the pan.)
Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Once the cake is set and cooled, melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave, again at medium power starting for 1 minute. Stir and repeat, this time at 15 second increments until smooth. Invert the cake on to a cake plate and remove the plastic wrap. Pour the melted chocolate over top of the cake and using an offset palette knife, spread the chocolate evenly overtop of the cake. Sprinkle the grated milk chocolate overtop. Return to the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to cool and set.
When ready to serve, garnish with fresh gooseberries.
Tips and suggestions:
- Consider stirring in 1 cup of dried fruit into the chocolate rather than only sprinkling it into the prepared pan. It is lovely with every bite of chocolate cake.
- When lining your pan with plastic wrap, try to make it as smooth as possible otherwise, when you go to remove it, it may rip and tear as it gets trapped into the hardened chocolate.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it sit for an hour or so before you cut it. This will ensure that your chocolate does not shatter when you cut into it (which I learned the hard way last week when I was serving this cut into bars).
- Speaking of bars, you can also prepare this in an 8-inch square pan and have gorgeous results. All the recipe quantities remain the same, just press the mixture into a square pan instead of the round cake pan.