Mr. Bates and The Queen’s Cake

 

Apparently Queen Elizabeth is a foodie.

She loves raspberry jam cookie sandwiches, white peaches, Dubonnet and gin, and chocolate biscuit cake. Scones are a constant at her tea table where she reportedly crumbles some of them up and slips them under the table to her beloved corgis. Like the rest of us, she enjoys having bowls of snacks, particularly mixed nuts, readily available when she is in the mood to nosh. (Remember the gossipy e-mail leaks a couple of years ago that revealed that the Queen was in a bit of a tizzy about the royal police guards who were pilfering nuts from the bowls that were kept in the palace corridors–nuts that were clearly intended for Her? Reportedly, she started marking the bowls to deter the thieves and a frosty royal memo was issued. If I may add my two cents here, I guess we all have our triggers, but I don’t think I would get into a war of words with the people protecting my life over a few bowls of nuts.  Just sayin… )

Purportedly, the chocolate biscuit cake is her favorite after-dinner dessert. Wills’, too. (He had the cake as his groom’s cake at his wedding to Kate Middleton.)

On the occasion of the recent celebration of the Queen’s 91st birthday, the press ran a number of anecdote-filled stories about the bespoke chocolate biscuit cake and the Queen’s obsession with it.

The anecdote I liked best was one about the Queen’s travels (by train) from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle. On those trips, it is the job of a member of the royal household to package up a chocolate biscuit cake (most likely a left-over cake since the thrifty Queen eats a slice every day and insists upon finishing every last piece of a biscuit cake before starting a new one).  A member of the royal household then rides in the train car behind the Queen’s car with the box of cake safely stowed on his lap. Great image. I’m picturing the honorable and ever-reliable Mr. Bates sitting patiently with the Queen’s cake as the verdant green English countryside rolls by outside his window. Full disclosure: I think I’m in love with Mr. Bates. When did they stop making men like that?)

Speaking of love, the love of chocolate has a long history among British royals. Chocolate was introduced into England from The New World during the age of exploration. England’s Seventeenth Century King Charles I enjoyed drinking hot chocolate at court until that no-fun Puritan Oliver Cromwell condemned chocolate as “sinfully pleasurable.” Charles lost his head during the civil war that followed, but when the monarchy was restored under Charles II, chocolate quickly came back into royal favor. When William and Mary came to the throne in 1689, they had a special chocolate kitchen built at Kensington Palace. Cadbury has been supplying a special dark chocolate to the British royals since Victorian times. The recipe is a trade secret. Maybe Elizabeth’s chocolate sweet tooth is in her genes.

Here is the recipe for the Queen’s chocolate biscuit cake. To my taste, it is more like a candy bar in the shape of a cake. Fresh out of the refrigerator, let it sit on your counter for a while before cutting it. It is rich. Serve it in small slices. A scoop of high-end vanilla ice cream would be a good accompaniment.

This cake recipe was adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe. Here is the link: Bon Appetit’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake .

Here is the recipe:

Serves 1 Small Slice

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

20 minPrep Time

20 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 C. plus 6 T. (4 sticks minus 2 T.) unsalted butter
  • 30 oz. bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped (do not exceed 61% cacao)
  • 3/4 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 6 T. Lyle's Golden Syrup
  • 2 7.5 oz. packages of Rich Tea Biscuits coarsely chopped
  • (or butter biscuits like Le Petit Beurre)
  • For Glaze
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 T. light corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Use a springform pan that has been lightly-coated with vegetable oil spray. Put a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the springform pan.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add cream and golden syrup to the pan and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully mix in the coarsely-chopped biscuits. Pour this mixture into the prepared springform pan and tap on the counter to settle and smooth the mixture. Refrigerate overnight (until set).
  3. For the glaze, put your chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the whipping cream and corn syrup until it simmers. Pour the simmering cream/syrup mixture over the chocolate and let the mixture sit for about five minutes. Stir until the ingredients are totally melted and the mixture is very smooth. Let the glaze cool slightly but it should still be pourable when you apply it to the cake.
  4. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Remove the cake from the pan. (You will probably need to run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to dislodge the chilled cake.) Invert the cake onto a wire rack that you have positioned over a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Remove the bottom plate of the springform pan and the round of parchment paper from the cake. Pour the glaze over the cake and let it dribble down the sides of the cake. Use a spatula to smooth the glaze onto the cake. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes until the glaze sets. Remove from refrigerator and let the cake sit on your counter for a while to make it easier to cut. Garnish with a sliced strawberry.
Cuisine: English | Recipe Type: Cake

Notes

I halved this recipe with no problems.

I used Scharffenberger bittersweet chocolate. It was 70% cacao rather than the 61% (max) called for in the recipe. The cake is very rich. I will try it with a lower percentage cacao the next time I make it.

Amazon.com carries the Lyle's Golden Syrup called for in this recipe.

I was able to find Rich Tea Biscuits at Stater Brothers in the imported foods section.

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http://bluecayenne.com/mr-bates-queens-cake

 


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3 thoughts on “Mr. Bates and The Queen’s Cake”

  • Sitting here after lunch reading about the Queens Biscuit cake, and I would give you anything I have to just have a small slice right now with my coffee! ...I have followed the Queen's life from her girlhood, so I feel that I must at least try her favorite cake! Loved the story Lorraine (and I love Mr Bates too!)
  • Hi Lorraine!, This is a great cake and I have made it a few times with some orange KitKat I get from the UK. They usually say to put it in a loaf pan but I like this idea of using a spring foam pan. Thank you. Btw, I was on your team at Sur La Table spring veggies class. Thank you Sarah for pointing me to this blog. It's a lovely blog, Lorraine. I will defilentky pass and share this page to my friends and family. Hope to see you again in the classes.
    • Hello Shabnum: I enjoyed meeting you. The Sur La Table cooking classes are such a wonderful opportunity to indulge our love of cooking and to meet new friends. I hope to see you again and I would enjoy exchanging cooking tips and recipes here, too. I hope you made it home safely and in time to pick up your children. The photo you showed today of butter chicken made me hungry! I'll have to look up my recipes and give a paneer version a try.

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