Carolyn Robb cooked for the Prince of Wales, Princess Diana and Princes William and Harry at Kensington Palace. One of the recipes the boys particularly liked was her Chocolate Biscuit Cake. ‘My mother used to make this when I was a child’ she says. ‘It was a great favourite of mine. When Prince William and Prince Harry were very young I made it for them using the same recipe.’
It had been such a hit in the Royal kitchens, that many years later Prince William chose to have a chocolate biscuit Groom’s Cake at his wedding to Kate Middleton. The cake was designed, made and gifted to Prince William by McVities biscuit manufacturers and was rumoured to contain 1700 McVities biscuits and 17kg of chocolate.
Robb’s chocolate biscuit recipe appears below. ‘It’s very simple’ she notes, ‘and children always enjoy crushing and crumbling the biscuits (in a variety of unusual, and often messy, ways). I have included pistachios and soft figs in this version of the recipe, but for children I leave them out and replace them with the same weight in biscuits.’
Royal Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Serves 16 – 20
You will need: one 20cm (8inch) round or square cake tin or flan ring
Or one 20cm x 9cm (8inch x 3 ¼ inch) loaf tin
0r one 24cm (9 inch) square cake tin – or use a larger tin for a cake with less depth
For the cake:
340g /12oz butter (3 sticks)
160g /6 oz golden syrup (Tate & Lyles preferably) (1/2 cup)
50g /2oz unsweetened cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
100g /3 1/2 oz dark chocolate (1/2 cup)
5ml /1 tsp pure vanilla extract
80g /3 oz soft, plump dried figs (1/3 cup packed)
80g / 3 oz soft, plump dried apricots
60g /2oz pistachios (1/2 cup)
450g /1lb ‘McVities’ digestive biscuits (http://www.mcvities.co.uk/products/digestives)
300g /11 oz dark chocolate (2 cups)
50g /2oz white chocolate (2/3 cup)
Selection of small chocolate sticks and dark and white ‘Maltesers’ or ‘Whoppers’
- Melt the butter with the golden syrup in a heavy based pan. Do not let it boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, dark chocolate and vanilla.
- Stir until you have a very smooth, glossy mixture.
- Slice the figs and crush the biscuits.
- Add the pistachios, figs and crushed biscuits to the chocolate mixture and mix well.
- Line the base and sides of your chosen shape of cake tin with baking parchment or plastic wrap.
- Place the mixture into the tin and press it down well into the corners.
- Leave to cool thoroughly at room temperature before covering and chilling in the fridge. It will take about 2 hours to set completely firm.
- When set remove from the tin and place it on a cooling rack.
- Melt the dark chocolate and white chocolate separately.
- Spread the dark chocolate all over the cake.
- Decorate with the Maltesers before the chocolate sets, so that they stick to the cake. Position chocolate sticks as desired and drizzle with the white chocolate.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Keeps for up 2 weeks, although it seldom lasts that long, once people know that it is there!