My mother used to make this when I was a child and 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 was a firm favourite in the royal nursery; so much so that, many years later, Prince William chose to have chocolate biscuit cake at his wedding for the groom’s cake. It was designed, made and gifted to Prince William by McVitie’s biscuit manufacturers and is said to have been made from 1, 700 biscuits and 17kg of chocolate! This recipe is very simple and children always enjoy crushing and crumbling the biscuits. For children I leave out the pistachios and soft figs included here and replace them with the same weight in biscuits. You can also replace the pistachios with pecans, toasted almonds or macadamia nuts, and the figs with raisins, sultanas or dried cherries.
FOR THE CAKE
- 340g (12oz) butter
- 240g (8oz) golden syrup
- 60g (2oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 120g (4oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 60g (2oz) pistachios
- 100g (3½ oz) soft, plump dried figs, sliced or chopped
- 450g (1lb) digestive biscuits, crushed
- 300g (11oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- 50g (2oz) white chocolate, chopped
- selection of small chocolate sticks and dark and white Maltesers or Whoppers
YOU WILL NEED
- one 20cm (8in) round or square cake tin about 7cm (2¾ in) deep (or use a flan ring)
1. Melt the butter with the golden syrup in a heavy-based pan. Do not let it boil.
2. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, dark chocolate and vanilla extract.
3. Stir until you have a very smooth, glossy mixture.
4. Add the pistachios, figs and crushed biscuits to the chocolate mixture and stir well.
5. Line the base and sides of the cake tin with baking parchment or plastic wrap.
6. Place the mixture in the tin and press it down. (If you are using a square tin, make sure you press it down well into the corners.)
7. Leave to cool at room temperature before covering and chilling in the fridge. It will take about 2 hours to set completely firm.
8. When set, remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack.
9. Melt the dark chocolate and white chocolate separately.
10. Spread the dark chocolate all over the cake.
11. 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 (and a little extra dark, if wished).