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The Queen’s Favourite Tea Cake: Souped-up Chocolate Biscuit Cake

April 27th, 2011

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

The Queen's favourite cake - Chocolate Biscuit Cake

With all the secrecy surrounding the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, it was only right that they should let some information out to appease the masses, and way back in March I mentioned the key element that they did share with us: the cake selections. For his groom’s cake, the Prince selected a childhood favourite, Chocolate Biscuit Cake. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, Chocolate Biscuit Cake is “Her Majesty the Queens favourite afternoon tea cake by far.” Clearly then, it demands some investigation.

As it is meant be consumed during the Royal Wedding, I thought it only right that this cake be a little fancier than the standard. I had been mulling over ideas in my mind for a while, but when I saw the Zebra truffle in my chocolate comparison post from last week, I knew what I had to do. Three layers of chocolate, all with different fillings, coated with a smooth dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Here are the inner layers, from top to bottom:
Dark: dark chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, crystallized ginger, hazelnuts, dried cherries
White: white chocolate, Walker’s shortbread, dried cranberries, pistachios
Milk: milk chocolate, McVitie’s digestive biscuits, Earl Grey Tea

Chocolate Biscuit Cake, Garden-of-Earthly-Delights-style

Line a 9″ springform pan with cling wrap.

Milk Layer

18 McVities Digestive Biscuits
5 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp loose earl grey tea leaves (I used my favourite, the richly scented Cream of Avalon – available at The Tea Emporium)

With a food processor, grind biscuits into crumbs.
In a saucepan, bring whipping cream to a boil with tea leaves, covered, then remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes (full disclosure: I got distracted and ended up steeping for 20 minutes, but 10 minutes will do).
Strain using a fine sieve, pressing down on the tea leaves to extract as much flavour as possible, then mix in chocolate and stir until fully melted and combined.
Mix in biscuit crumbs, then press into the bottom of the pan in an even layer.
Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

The Tea Emporium's Cream of Avalon black tea blend.

White Layer

1 1/2 boxes Walker’s shortbread (150 g box size)
4 oz white chocolate, chopped finely
1/2 cup whipping cream
3/8 cup cranberries
3/8 cup pistachios (without shell)

Grind biscuits into crumbs using food processor (or, break them into small pieces if you prefer)
Bring whipping cream to a boil, then remove from heat and mix in chocolate until it is fully melted. Mix in biscuits, cranberries and pistachios.
Spread evenly over the milk chocolate layer.
Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Dark Layer

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
3/8 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/8 cup + 1 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger
1/8 cup + 1 tbsp dried cherries, halved

Bring whipping cream to a boil, then remove from heat and mix in chocolate, combining until melted. Mix in graham crackers, hazelnuts, ginger and cherries. If you don’t like ginger or cherries, you can substitute anything else – the beauty of this recipe is that it’s incredibly flexible.
Spread over milk chocolate layer, pressing lightly.
Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove from springform pan, place on a flat surface and peel cling wrap carefully from sides.

Ganache Coating

6 oz dark chocolate, chopped finely
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp butter, softened (but not melted)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a bain-marie, melt the chocolate, then mix in butter until fully combined. Add golden syrup and vanilla, then remove from heat and mix in whipping cream. Pour overtop of the cake and use a knife or spatula to smooth over the top and sides. Decorate as desired.
Remove from cling wrap and serve.

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Chocolate Biscuit Cake with strawberries on top

Tea with cake

Last but not least, the most important step of all: Enjoy! I served this with more Cream of Avalon Earl Grey tea.

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