We’re huge fans of yummy chocolate cake here at HELLO! – I mean, who isn’t really? – and during these tough times in lockdown, a sweet treat is just what we need as a pick-me-up. Her Majesty the Queen is a huge fan of one particular type of cake, and it sounds pretty delicious. Back in 2017, former royal chef Darren McGrady told us that the monarch adores chocolate biscuit cake – so much so that its leftovers have been packaged up and sent to Windsor Castle so she can enjoy them over a weekend. It also happens to be National Biscuit Day on 29 May, so there’s no better excuse to have a go at making Darren’s recipe below.
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Darren revealed: “The royal chefs send a whole cake up to Her Majesty every day for tea. She will sometimes take a slice and then it is never seen at the royal table again. [The cake is sent to the staff for their afternoon tea.]
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The Queen’s favourite teatime cake
“The chocolate biscuit cake is the only cake that goes up to the royal table every day until it has all gone – sometimes this means it following her to Windsor Castle for the weekend,” Darren revealed. “I remember as a young chef travelling from Paddington to Windsor one Friday morning with a half-eaten chocolate biscuit cake packed neatly and tightly in a biscuit tin, and wrapped in Clingfilm, perched on my knee with the fear of God in me that I would lose or drop the thing! It was her favourite. And when Prince William first tried it, he loved it and then requested it as his groom’s cake [at the Royal wedding in 2011].”
On Darren’s website, theroyalchef.com, he reveals that the ‘rich dark chocolate cake has a lovely crunchy texture thanks to the addition of classic English cookies called Rich tea biscuits’. The cake is finished off with a layer of chocolate frosting.
The delicious chocolate biscuit cake
Darren worked at Buckingham Palace for 11 years, before moving to Kensington Palace for a further four. He previously told HELLO! that the Queen “never was a foodie” – unlike her husband Prince Philip – and that she preferred to stick to the same dishes.
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He also revealed that each week, a red leather-bound book of menus, written in French, would be sent to the Queen for her to check over. “She would put a line through the ones she didn’t want,” Darren said. “Sometimes she’d put a line through it all and put something different, like if she was having dinner with Prince Andrew, his favourite was crème brulee with Sandringham oranges.”
Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe
- 1/2 teaspoon butter, for greasing the pan
- 8 ounces Rich Tea biscuits or sweet cookies
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces granulated sugar
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, for coating
- 1 ounce chocolate, for decoration
Lightly grease a 6-inch-by-2½-inch cake ring with the butter and place on a tray on a sheet of parchment paper.
Break each of the biscuits into almond size pieces by hand and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar until the mixture starts to lighten.
Melt the 4 ounces of the dark chocolate and add to the butter mixture, stirring constantly. Add the egg and beat to combine. Fold in the biscuit pieces until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake ring. Try to fill all of the gaps on the bottom of the ring because this will be the top when it is un-molded. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it stand.
Meanwhile, melt the 8 ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler or saucepan on the stove top over low heat. Slide the ring off the cake and turn it upside down onto a cake wire.
Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and smooth the top and sides using a palette knife. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature.
Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where the chocolate has stuck it to the cake wire and lift it onto a tea plate.
Melt the remaining 1 ounce of chocolate and use to decorate the top of the cake.
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