Groom’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Sunday September 18, 2011

Will's chocolate biscuit cake was made with 1,700 digestive biscuits

And then there’s the groom’s cake. For this wedding, McVitie’s part of the British conglomerate United Biscuits Group that make those barely sweet wholemeal tea biscuits that have the texture of a graham cracker, will make a chocolate biscuit cake specially requested by Prince William. This is a family favorite for tea time with Earl Grey Tea. An icebox cake of crushed barely sweet tea biscuits held together by a bittersweet ganache, or dense mousse, which sounds strange first thing, but then grows on you since it is a flavor and texture combo that really works. Call it chocolate intensity. Or a slice of truffle pate. This type dessert is quite popular in French style restaurants.

McVitie’s, which is has been making wedding and christening cakes for members of the Royal family since the marriage of His Majesty King George V to HM Queen Mary almost a hundred years ago. The recipe here is from Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen (Thomas Nelson Inc), by Darren McGrady, who was Princess Diane’s personal chef. You can also use Walker’s Digestive Biscuits or Marie biscuits in place of the McVitie tea biscuits. They are not sweet so they are a delicious counterpoint to the chocolate.

Groom’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Makes 1 6″ round cake


  • 8 ounces Rich tea biscuits
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg or equivalent egg substitute
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Icing
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or bittersweet chocolate chips

Papavar orientale ‘Royal Wedding‘/the official wedding poppy for British gardens and horticultural fanatics/I would love a flower to be named after myself.


a little slice goes a long way satisfying a need for chocolate...

1.            Lightly grease a 6-inch-by-3 to 4-inch deep springform pan and line with parchment paper.
2.            Break each of the biscuits into almond size pieces by hand; set aside.
3.            Cream the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer until the mixture starts to lighten.
4.            Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, cool slightly, and add to the butter mixture while constantly stirring.
5.            Beat egg into the mixture on low speed until fluffy.
6.            Fold in the biscuit pieces with a rubber spatula until they are all evenly coated with the chocolate mixture.
7.            Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Tap on the counter and smooth the top to fill all of the gaps on the bottom of the ring because this will be the top when it is un-molded.
8.            Cover with plastic wrap and chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 24 hours. Cake can be made the day before.
9.            Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it stand while you melt the 8 ounces of chocolate.
10.         Remove the sides off the cake pan and turn it upside down onto a cake wire. Lift off the bottom of the springform, using a hot metal spatula if necessary. Place a plate underneath to catch the drips.
11.         Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and smooth the top and sides using a small metal spatula knife.
12.         Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature.
13.         Carefully run a knife underneath the bottom of the cake where the chocolate has stuck it to the cake wire and lift it onto a serving plate. Refrigerate until serving.

Cut thin slices with a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry. You can cut little wedges or slice across the entire round, cutting the long slices in half.

Refrigerate any leftovers and cover with plastic wrap. Eat within 5 days.

Darren McGrady began working for the Royal Family as a pastry chef and quickly moved up the ranks to serve as Diana’s personal chef until her death in 1997. Here he presents many of the recipes he served the Royals, and Diana in particular. Filled with artifacts, personal notes, photographs and never-before-seen memorabilia, this is much more than a cookbook. It is an opportunity to see how the Royals really live and to eat the exact recipes that graced the tables of Windsor, Balmoral, Kensington, and Buckingham Palaces.

Refrigerator Chocolate Cake (aka the Poor Man’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake)

Here is an Americanized version of Will’s groom’s cake with easy to find graham crackers. You can find gluten-free graham crackers as well as regular.


  • 1 pint (2 cups) cold whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Sharffen Berger)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pound graham crackers, 15 or 16
  • Shaved bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, for garnish (optional)


In a chilled mixing bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and cocoz until slightly thickened, then sprinkle in the sugar. Finished cream should be thick but not stiff. Texture should be about like thick ketchup. Use a whisk to finish adding sugar if it looks like beating will stiffen the cream too much.

Spoon some of the cream into an 8-by-8-inch square pan and then add a layer of graham crackers, placing them flat. You can break the crackers to piece together a solid layer. Cover with half the cream. Add another layer of crackers and repeat until everything is used up. You will have 3 layers of crackers and 4 of cream. The top layer will be cream. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer and freeze the dessert until it is solid, at least 6 hours. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw completely before serving. Garnish with shaved chocolate if desired. Serve immediately. Makes one 8-by-8-inch square pan.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2011

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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