Chocolate biscuit cake was the late Queen Elizabeth’s favorite cake, and this is the no bake recipe from former royal chef Darren McGrady.
chocolate biscuit cake from the British royal kitchen
Chocolate biscuit cake is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite cake ~ she would take a small slice every day with her tea, until the cake was finished, and then she’d start on a fresh one! She reportedly had her chefs bring along this special chocolate cake wherever she traveled, and the cake was so popular in the royal family that it was Prince William’s groom’s cake at his wedding to Kate Middleton.
After researching this tea cake I wasn’t entirely sure I’d like it, but I was wrong! I gobbled up an entire piece right in the middle of my photo shoot. The combination of the mousse-like chocolate filling with the crunch of the biscuits and the chocolate layer on top is really delicious. I’m a fan!
just four ingredients for British chocolate biscuit cake
Queen Elizabeth was famously not a ‘foodie’. Her tastes in food were surprisingly simple and homey and this no-bake ‘fridge cake’ is a good example. Just four basic ingredients make up this no-bake recipe. A fifth ingredient, a raw egg, is in the original recipe, but I’ve left it out because raw eggs aren’t considered safe to consume in the US. You could, if you like, use a pasteurized egg.
- English rich tea biscuits
- Look for English rich tea biscuits in larger supermarkets and specialty stores. Cost Plus World Market carries them as well. I used McVities Digestive Biscuits which are very similar to rich tea biscuits. These not too sweet wheat biscuits remind me a little bit of American graham crackers.
- granulated sugar
- if you happen to have superfine bakers sugar, that’s ideal, but otherwise, regular white sugar will do.
- dark chocolate
- melted chocolate is used in the filling and also as the icing on top. Honestly use whatever good quality chocolate you like, whether chips, or bar chocolate. Dark chocolate is specified in the original recipe and that’s what I used.
how to make a British chocolate biscuit cake
- Break or chop the biscuits into pieces. Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in melted chocolate. At this point the British recipe has you beat in a raw egg, but I left that out.
2. Fold in the biscuit pieces so that everything is evenly blended.
3. Fill prepared cake pan, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until chilled and firm.
4. Invert cake out onto a rack. Remove plastic wrap.
5. Pour melted chocolate over cake and spread over top and sides with an offset spatula.
6. Allow the chocolate to set up at room temperature, and slice.
final thoughts on chocolate biscuit cake…
This cake is vey good, and unique, at least as far as American desserts go. It’s quite rich, so thin slices are best. It actually reminds me of a KitKat candy bar, in cake form! I hope you give it a try, I think you’ll love it like I did.
more British inspired food
- How to Make Clotted Cream
- Cornish Clotted Cream Shortbread
- Classic Cream Scones Recipe
- Mary Berry’s Lemon Drizzle Cake
- English Crumpets with Maple Pecan Butter
- Classic Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe
- The Best Cottage Pie Recipe
British Chocolate Biscuit Cake
- 8 inch cake pan (the original recipe uses a 6 inch cake ring.)
for the cake
- 8 ounces British tea biscuits , (I used McVities Digestive Biscuits.)
- 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces granulated sugar
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, melted
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted
- mini chocolate chips. You could also use chocolate sprinkles, or chocolate curls.
- Butter or spray your pan, then line with plastic wrap, with long ends. This will make it easier to invert after the cake chills.
- Break or chop your biscuits into pieces. The original recipe says to break them into pieces the size of almonds. I chopped mine a little larger than that. Set aside.
- Cream the soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate until everything is completely combined.
- Fold in the chopped biscuits until they are evenly distributed.
- Spread the mixture into your prepared pan. You want to make sure to fill all the nooks and crannies so there are no air pockets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. Note: You could also leave it overnight.
- When the cake has chilled, run an offset spatula or other thin blunt knife along the edge to loosed the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert onto a rack that is set over a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the plastic.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the top and sides of the cake, using an offset spatula to smooth it out. Add your garnish, if using, while the chocolate is still wet.
- Allow the topping to set at cool room temperature before slicing.
- The cake can be stored at room temperature, but for overnight I would refrigerate it. Let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes for easier slicing.
Questions and Reviews
I just made this cake, and I’m not sure I did it right. The sugar didn’t dissolve at all so it’s very grainy and you end up crunching the sugar granules. Did I miss a step? What did I do wrong? Please help!
Sue – the recipe doesn’t specify whether to use salted or unsalted butter. Which would you recommend?
Can leftovers (assuming there are any) be frozen successfully?
How far in advance can this be made?
Hi Dianne, I always use unsalted butter, unless otherwise stated. I think you can freeze the cake with no problem. And you can make it up to a day in advance and refrigerate it, but let it sit out before serving so the chocolate layer on top can soften a bit for slicing. Apparently Queen Elizabeth would eat her cake a tiny slice at a time, over many days, and take it with her in a tin when she traveled, so it’s pretty sturdy!