It’s the stabilising base and foundations of your wedding cake. It’s the essence of your child’s birthday party. It’s at the core of so many celebrations. And yet it doesn’t require any timers or oven, no skewers or toothpicks for testing, an absence of thermometers or the need for gadgets, nozzles, or mixers. It’s the confectionary equivalent of nurses, teachers, those who grit your road on a winter’s morning, care workers and waste collectors. No fuss, no frills, just there, available, doing its job. It’s humble, under-appreciated, trustworthy, dependable and reliable but you’re always joyful it’s there, making your life that bit more secure and happy. It’s the consistently brilliant chocolate biscuit cake.
Does this mean that all chocolate biscuit cakes are good? Honestly mostly yes but as is one of my many culinary goals it’s important to ask the question; how do you make a good chocolate biscuit cake great? To begin that quest one must first break it down to its constituent parts. In this case, thankfully, that makes for a relatively easy dissection with the presence of essentially two main parts; chocolate and biscuit. There’s much more to the complexity of the biscuit cake but we’ll get to that later. In my experience, and despite the fat content in the recipe and the extra sugar content from elsewhere, surprisingly a pretty basic milk chocolate works best in terms of flavour. You can push the boat out on cocoa solids content up to about the 50-54% mark but certainly no higher as it makes for too rich of a flavour result. I’d look for a decent, mid-range supermarket milk chocolate but in no uncertain terms, for any culinary exploits, are you to use cooking chocolate. This contains added vegetable oil, which in its function delivers a stabilising smoothness but ultimately provides an unpleasant, waxy mouthfeel.
In terms of biscuit, and as is traditional, you cannot look past (another underappreciated great) the unassuming Digestive. The correct amount of palatable crunch with a fine balance of sweetness against a hint of salty savouriness makes for the perfect biscuit in this recipe against the richness of the other ingredients. Rich Tea are a considerable additive/alternative and warrant about 25% inclusion in the overall recipe though I’ve been more than happy with 100% Digestive. The choice is yours in this regard. Once the base has been cemented, so to speak, it now allows time for individual creativity. Maltesers are a must in my opinion, not just for their comforting maltiness but also for their added crunch and texture. A caramel based sweet is something that I enjoy and there are many on the market such as Rolos, Cadbury Caramel Nibbles, or Nestle Munchies. Finally, the only further controversial question is with regard to the inclusion or exclusion of marshmallows. Does the inclusion push it to toward the realms of Rocky Road? I’ve added them and been happy; I’ve also excluded them and been more than happy. Again, this is only a question you can answer for yourself. But whatever you do, in the name of all that is good and sane, in the name of chocolate biscuit cake, please don’t add Jelly Beans or any other similar jelly like substance. Though it is your chocolate biscuit cake I’ll judge you from afar.