No-Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake

April 28th, 2012  | Category: Cakes, Chocolate

No-Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake

No-bake chocolate biscuit cake is a staple in almost every Turkish mother’s repertoire.

Turns out, we’ve all been eating like royalty! According to this article, no-bake chocolate cake is a tea time favorite of Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, it was one of the cakes served at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding reception. McVitie’s Cake Co., the company that has been making the royal cakes ever since King George V and Queen Mary’s wedding, revealed that they used 1700 of their tea biscuits and 37 pounds of chocolate for a few hundred slices.

A royal wedding and not even a pound of chocolate per guest? Now that’s what I call a scandal.

It is a royal secret, but there are so few ingredients that it wasn’t too hard to come up with an approximate recipe. Cream butter and sugar, stir into melted chocolate, add an egg, fold in biscuits and transfer to a mold. Sounds a lot like a chocolate bar with a biscuit in the middle. I don’t understand why they went into so much trouble when a much better version is just a train ride away. I’m talking about Franck Kestener’s Atlantique – hands down the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.

The Turkish version is quite different. Milk, butter, sugar and cocoa are cooked briefly and poured into a large bowl of broken petit beurre biscuits. You wait until the biscuit pieces soak up all the liquid, then scrape the mixture into a mold made of aluminum foil, shape it into a log and freeze until solid. The final texture reminds me of papara – a dish prepared by soaking stale bread pieces in beef broth.

How can I explain it better? Imagine several crumpled paper bags dampened with hot cocoa. As you can tell, it was not my childhood favorite.

My version is quite different. For me, a no-bake chocolate cake is all about contrasting textures.

No-Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake 2

A creamy ganache that starts melting as soon as you put it in your mouth and buttery, vanilla-scented homemade biscuits that never lose their crispiness.

No-Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake 3

And a dark, sticky glaze to coat the whole cake, which you might remember from the L’Orange post – recipe by The Queen of Baking herself.

Three contrasting textures. Cold, firm and melt-in-your-mouth ganache, crispy cookies and velvety lacquer glaze.

Copper Mold

Feel free to use any mold you like as long as the volume is about the same. I’ve used a copper mold that has a 4-cup capacity.

Tiny Biscuits

The biscuits (by the way, I’m not referring to the puffed, feather-light quick bread, but the sweet and crisp baked good synonymous with cookie in some parts of the world) are homemade.

The vanilla extract I’ve been feeding for almost 3 years now has become a monster. There are at least 40 vanilla pods swimming in it, all leftover from recipes I’ve been trying for the book. Half a teaspoon was enough to perfume 273 cookies, but if you’re using store-bought, you might want to double that amount.

And yes, I said 273. For a single cake. They’re the tiniest cookies I’ve ever baked.

Biscuit Step 1

And now the most exciting part… Ever since I came up with the recipe, I’ve been waiting impatiently to share this tip with you.

When making cut-out cookies, the edges of the dough always end up thinner and rolling it out as a straight rectangle is almost impossible. Even though you cut straight shapes, you’re left with scraps and need to roll them out again. Plus, you also have to wait for the dough to chill before rolling out. Well, here’s a technique that solves all those problems. Especially useful when you’re making 273 tiny cookies and obsessed about obtaining identical squares.

Cut a large piece of parchment paper, fold it in half, then fold over the three open sides to create a 6-by-10 inch envelope.

Place the biscuit dough in the center of the 6-by-10 inch rectangle, flatten slightly with your hand, fold the envelope again, making sure to crease the open sides firmly.

Biscuit Step 2

Roll out the dough from the center to the corners…

Biscuit Step 3

…until you obtain a 6-by-10 inch flat dough.

Biscuit Step 4

Once the corners are filled, go over the dough once or twice to obtain a completely flat surface.

Biscuit Step 5

At this stage, the dough will be quite soft and sticky, so it is important that you freeze it before cutting into small squares.

Cutting the dough lengthwise into 21 even strips and then crosswise into 13 even strips will yield 273 identical squares.

Biscuit Step 6

You might think it would be painful to transfer 273 biscuits to lined baking sheets, but it is quite easy if they’re frozen. If the dough starts to get soft after you cut it into small squares, you can freeze them 5-10 minutes more. Just scoop a handful, scatter them on the baking sheet, then move around to leave a quarter of an inch of space between each.

You can use the same parchment to line the baking sheets, so nothing is wasted.

No-Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake 1

By the way, I started developing this recipe long ago, in honor of World Nutella Day. It took longer than I expected, so I couldn’t publish it then. That’s why I’ve used Nutella in the ganache, but if you’d like a more pronounced hazelnut taste, feel free to substitute hazelnut butter.

No-Bake Chocolate Biscuit Cake 4

Hope you like my version. Enjoy!

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE RECIPE

Yield: 12 slices

Ingredients

For tiny biscuits:

  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1+1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons (90 grams) butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (70 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract (double the amount if using store-bought)

For Nutella Ganache and Glaze:

  • 1 cup (240 grams) heavy cream
  • 200 grams bittersweet (%70 cocoa) chocolate, chopped finely
  • 2/3 cup (200 grams) Nutella
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (150 grams) butter, cut into small cubes and softened
  • Lacquer chocolate glaze (recipe here)

Method

  1. To prepare the tiny biscuits, sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed for a minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, for about 3 more minutes, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. Add the egg yolks and beat until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.
  3. Cut a large piece of parchment paper, fold it in half, then fold over the three open sides to create a 6-by-10 inch envelope. Unfold the envelope, place the biscuit dough in the center of the 6-by-10 inch rectangle, flatten slightly with your hand, fold the envelope again, making sure to crease it firmly and roll out the dough from the center to the edges until you obtain a 6-by-10 inch flat dough. Transfer it on a cutting board and place in the freezer until hard, for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  5. Take the dough out of the freezer, peel away the top parchment and cut the dough lengthwise into 21 even strips and then crosswise into 13 even strips to yield 273 squares.
  6. Place the biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about a quarter of an inch space between them. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the tops are dark golden brown. Let the biscuits cool on sheets. Biscuits can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days or longer in the refrigerator.
  7. To prepare the chocolate and Nutella ganache, put the chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl. Bring cream to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for half a minute, then gently stir with a spatula until completely melted. Add Nutella and continue stirring until melted. Stir in salt and butter pieces.
  8. Lightly grease a 4-cup mold and line with plastic wrap, leaving two inches of overhang for easy removal. Pour 1 cup of ganache in the mold and swirl to coat the inside.
  9. Put the biscuits in a mixing bowl, pour over the remaining ganache and stir gently to coat the biscuits. Transfer the mixture into the mold and get rid of air pockets by rapping the mold against the counter. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface to create an airtight seal. Freeze until completely hard, for 30-45 minutes.
  10. In the meantime, prepare the lacquer chocolate glaze according to the recipe at the bottom of this post.
  11. Place the cake on a cooling rack sitting on top of a baking sheet. Pour the glaze in an even circular motion on top, starting with the sides, allowing it to cascade over and coat them completely. Start pouring in the middle and as the glaze starts going down the sides, pour the glaze about an inch from the edge to help cover the sides evenly. Reapply glaze as needed. 1+1/3 cups of glaze is enough to cover the cake in a single shot, but you can use the glaze accumulated in the baking sheet if needed.
  12. Allow the cake to sit until the glaze stops dripping, then move the cake to a serving plate and place in the refrigerator to set (don’t allow it to harden), for 30-60 minutes.
  13. Wrapped airtight, the cake will keep fresh for a week in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
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Comments

  1. 1 - thelittleloaf on April 28th, 2012

    This is simply stunning! Chocolate biscuit cake is the taste of my childhood but this takes it to the next level :-)

  2. 2 - Lisa Mai on April 28th, 2012

    Wow that looks amazing! And the tip for the even rolled dough, that’s brilliant. I love the first photo, the drizzled chocolate looks divine ><

  3. 3 - Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen on April 28th, 2012

    brilliant! I love that you made your own biscuits and they look so perfect!

  4. 4 - Rabia on April 28th, 2012

    I’ve made the generic version of this and loved it. I’ll probably pass out from just inhaling this. Amazing recipe and photography!!

  5. 5 - sarah on April 28th, 2012

    so gorgeous. i like that “no bake” still means you baked :)

  6. 6 - bigFATcook on April 28th, 2012

    Nice… interesting recipe! And it looks delicious!

  7. 7 - silvia on April 28th, 2012

    Oh Lord! Your cake makes my no-bake chic and Mascarpone one look sad…

  8. 8 - Vanille on April 28th, 2012

    I absolutely love this shot with the pouring chocolate on the cake… Stunning ! And I bet the cake tastes great too !

  9. 9 - Sailaja on April 28th, 2012

    Just love this! Gorgeous pictures and an awesome reicpe. Bookmarked to be tried. Thanks for sharing.

  10. 10 - nysa on April 28th, 2012

    very very cool!!!

  11. 11 - Frau Haselmayer on April 28th, 2012

    It looks so gooooood! I only wish there wasn’t Nutelly in the recipe…not to fond of anything Nutella though I like Nutella. But not for baking…

  12. 12 - Marjon on April 28th, 2012

    This looks insane! Melted chocolate never looked this good.

  13. 13 - Ana_ILTdP on April 28th, 2012

    I came here to see your super photo closer, buuut, I also love the cake. Chocolate is something I can’t resist ;)

    Well, I must say I am in love with this recipe and your blog!! I have just discovered it and love it!!

  14. 14 - Olive on April 28th, 2012

    Wow!! That looks absolutely beautiful and no doubt delicious! *drooling* I want that copper mold too :)

  15. 15 - Suby Nishal on April 28th, 2012

    It looks very Yummy ………… will try this for sure ……………

  16. 16 - Fran on April 28th, 2012

    Wo, the shot of the drizzled chocolate with the pools of it spilling into the counter is brilliant! I am going to have to give this a try. I just need to hunt down a mold. Love this post!

  17. 17 - Janice on April 28th, 2012

    Your passion for food is so inspiring, and this cake looks absolutely divine! Thank you for sharing.

  18. 18 - baker in disguise on April 28th, 2012

    Have filed this away.. I just have to make it!! but one question… any substitute for nutella??? the photographs are beyond fabulous…

  19. 19 - Cenk on April 28th, 2012

    Thank you all. Glad you liked it.

    Frau Haselmayer, baker in disguise – As I’ve mentioned in the post, you can use hazelnut butter for a more pronounced hazelnut flavor. Almond butter would work great, too. Make sure they’re both smooth.

  20. 20 - tammy on April 28th, 2012

    Wow! I can’t wait to try this. Might take a shortcut and use store bought cookies ;)

  21. 21 - Kirsten on April 28th, 2012

    It looks amazing and pretty easy to make… I think I’ll make it for a dinner party tomorrow night!

  22. 22 - Rachel on April 28th, 2012

    Dying to try this out. Fantastic photos Cenk!

  23. 23 - Maya on April 28th, 2012

    What a brilliant way to roll out the dough! I hate having scraps left over that I have to re-chill.
    I can’t wait to make this :D Mmmm

  24. 24 - Maya@Foodiva's kitchen on April 28th, 2012

    Okay, there’s no turning back after reading this post. This is now on my list of “1000 Things To Make Before I Die”! Gorgeous, Cenk ;) .

  25. 25 - Julia {The Roasted Root} on April 28th, 2012

    I have never seen anything quite like this! I’m amazed by your little puff biscuits…very impressive. Glad I found you on TasteSpotting. Have a great weekend!

  26. 26 - Sarah on April 28th, 2012

    Oh my goodness! This looks amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. Love the pictures!

  27. 27 - Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen on April 28th, 2012

    Cenk, this is beautiful. You managed to elevate this simple dessert, which is made by all Greeks mothers as well, to new heights.
    Your photographs are as always amazing! You may take a lot of time to post but you certainly wow us!

  28. 28 - joanna on April 28th, 2012

    Just saw this on pinterest… One word: YUM!

  29. 29 - Cesar on April 28th, 2012

    I love this recipe. Even if it is the first time I have notice of this no-bake chocolate cake. I will try it next time I cook a cake, for sure.

    Thank you very much for the trick to flatten the dough. Its amazing.

    Great pictures, by the way. Congratulations.

  30. 30 - Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) on April 29th, 2012

    I saw this post about 5 times today.
    It was everywhere – no matter what I searched.

    Looks yummy. :)

  31. 31 - Erin on April 29th, 2012

    Perfection!

  32. 32 - Kimberly on April 29th, 2012

    First the devil’s food cake then that decadent ice cream and now this… I’m in love with your chocolate recipes!

  33. 33 - Cinnamon & Thyme on April 29th, 2012

    Oh my….Georgeus! :)

  34. 34 - evan on April 29th, 2012

    I grew up eating this cake! Wow! You can even make the simplest of cakes look like a masterpiece.

  35. 35 - lynn on April 29th, 2012

    This is one gorgeous cake! And thanks a lot for that tip about cookie dough.

  36. 36 - Kajal on April 29th, 2012

    This is truly gorgeous! LOVE your pictures, love your version of the cake and absolutely love how it looks! Bookmarking now! Thanks for sharing!

  37. 37 - Hope on April 29th, 2012

    Lovely .. :)

  38. 38 - Erin @ Texanerin Baking on April 29th, 2012

    That first picture is the most amazing picture ever. Perfectly drippy chocolate! The cake looks awesome too. I’ll have to go check out your other posts now! :)

  39. 39 - Elvan on April 30th, 2012

    Mozaik pasta…..
    Mutlaka deneyeceğim aslında yıllar önce Deliah Online’ın tarifini denemiştim, bana biraz ağır gelmişti ama sizin tarifiniz enfes görünüyor :) )

  40. 40 - Little B on April 30th, 2012

    I am not a big fan of chocolate, but I just had to comment on the picture – it is amazing! Nice job!!

  41. 41 - S on May 1st, 2012

    What a great inspiration, and that tips of yours. Tsk, why didn’t I think of that? ;) I can’t get this cake out of my head for days. I’m so gonna make this as soon as there’s water running in this house!

  42. 42 - Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy on May 1st, 2012

    Mmm, yeah..I’ll be inviting myself over to enjoy your tiny cookies inside that cake :)

  43. 43 - Juli on May 1st, 2012

    This looks so good! It puts my good old recipe for ‘arretjecake’ (the Dutch variation on the theme) to shame…

  44. 44 - tuba on May 1st, 2012

    just brilliant!

  45. 45 - LP @dishclips on May 2nd, 2012

    So elegant and decadent looking. Thanks for sharing!

  46. 46 - Michaela on May 2nd, 2012

    The biscuits are genius!!! genius!!!

  47. 47 - Deirdre on May 2nd, 2012

    Over 30 years ago, when I was a child growing up in NYC, my Mom bought me what was called an “inside out chocolate chip cookie” from a stand at a farmer’s market. It was cookie pieces (“chips”) inside of a fudgie “cookie”). The stand might have been from a Mennonite farm. It is one of the most delicious things I remember ever eating, but despite going back to the same market for years, I could never find the sellers again, and over time I couldn’t even remember it exactly. THIS looks just like it, except for it’s shape. What I ate was like a slice off a lot of this cake. I am most definitely giving it a try!

  48. 48 - Cenk on May 3rd, 2012

    tammy – Always an option :)

    Maya@Foodiva’s kitchen – I have to ask… What’s number 1 on that list?

    Magda – Glad to hear this was worth the wait.

    lynn – You’re welcome :)

    Deirdre – Hope it’s close. Please let me know.

  49. 49 - tanja on May 4th, 2012

    Wow! I want to bathe in the Lacquer chocolate glaze…
    This type of cake is also popular in Greece during the summer months.
    I am definetely going to try your version.

  50. 50 - Annabel on May 10th, 2012

    Cok tesekkür ederim, Cenk, for translating the recipe, that had me longing for mozaik pasta (“Kalter Hund” = cold dog in German, by the way) all the time!
    Will try to make it soon, but possibly only after I lost some of the pounds I gained during my last visit to Istanbul. Too much delicious food…

  51. 51 - Emma on May 18th, 2012

    Wow, I made this cake with a friend from Turkey in grad school. It brings back such great memories. But I remember that we couldn’t find the right biscuit here in the states.

  52. 52 - Julie on May 25th, 2012

    This takes me back to my childhood in the UK. I have the same sentiments as you- the standard recipe leaves much to be desired. I remember it always tasting slightly mushy…. But your updated one? Wow- this looks amazing. The nutella ganache is such a nice addition.

  53. 53 - Broderick on May 31st, 2012

    That cake is simply stunning.

  54. 54 - Jo on June 4th, 2012

    I tasted this amazing cake this weekend. A wonderful friend made it, and I am in love. What a difference the wonderful biscuits make. Talk about the average mosaic cake- this is not even on the same planet, let alone the ball park.
    One question. I would like to make my own vanilla, as it is so difficult to get in Istanbul. Looking on the web, it seems most people use vodka for the extraction, Is this the way to go? Do you have any tips?

  55. 55 - Cenk on June 6th, 2012

    Jo – Yes, that is the way to go. 3 vanilla pods, cut lengthwise (no need to scrape the seeds) per cup of vodka. It takes about two months (shake the bottle whenever you remember). I also like to add leftover pods (the ones that weren’t steeped in milk, etc.) which will strengthen the flavor in time. And thank you! Glad to hear you liked the cake.

  56. 56 - Theresa on June 19th, 2012

    That is just simply amazingly delicious. I could almost feel the chocolate melting in my mouth and that oh so crispy biscuit bites. You did a wonderful job of coming up with this sweet concoction. Thank you for showing us how. Hope to hear more of your recipes.

  57. 57 - Jo on June 20th, 2012

    My vanilla extract is looking good. Thanks for the tips.

  58. 58 - sam on July 1st, 2012

    oh my…….
    That is like ultimate sexy food!

  59. 59 - Pınar Sezer on July 8th, 2012

    I tried hard to remain calm and not undergo a chocolate-vascular arrest …till the last line… will try this recepie with some sugar-pickled orange peels …Muy bien thousand times !İyi ki varsın :)

  60. 60 - config on July 30th, 2012

    Gerçekten iştah kabartıcı sağolasın

  61. 61 - Mrs Ergül on August 2nd, 2012

    Such gorgeous photos as usual! The tiny biscuits are cute. Thank you for sharing your tip, definitely worth bookmarking.

    I love that plate you served the cake on. Why didn’t I come across it during my trip? Instead, I saw a lot of those produced-by-the-thousands touristy kind. Where will I be able to find similar ones with the same style?

  62. 62 - Stuart on August 8th, 2012

    That’s the most delicious looking cake I have ever seen. Ever.

  63. 63 - Aslı on August 10th, 2012

    That photo.. is just cruel!! :o

    Looking so tasty, Cenk! Congrats!! :)

  64. 64 - Cenk on August 11th, 2012

    Mrs. Ergül – Thanks. I buy almost all from eBay.

  65. 65 - Emili on September 22nd, 2012

    Oh my HEAVENLY. You are seriously a chocolate baking goddess. I can’t believe how many mouthwatering pictures you have on here, I’m extremely impressed. This looks amazing, I will definitely be trying it. Wow.

  66. 66 - Cenk on September 23rd, 2012

    Emili – Thanks, but “goddess”? You might want to visit my “About” page.

  67. 67 - Prin on January 5th, 2013

    I love this recipe but would like to try it miniaturized (by using several muffin tins) do you think it would still work with such small molds?

  68. 68 - Cenk on January 13th, 2013

    Prin – Definitely!

  69. 69 - LovEat on January 23rd, 2013

    Wow…I want to prepare it!!!! It looks delicious!

  70. 70 - Devin Austra on February 18th, 2013

    Eating my first slice of this as I type. This is beyond heavenly. I think I’m going to use the Nutella ganache as cake frosting next time I make a regular cake.

  71. 71 - genene on March 5th, 2013

    Oh my. My kids and I are making this on the weekend!!!

  72. 72 - eadaoin on September 20th, 2013

    hi there!thanks so much for this recipe, it’s amazing!I’m making it as part of a wedding cake for a good friend of mine.the problem is I’m in korea and i don’t have an oven..so i was using store bought biscuits, but they lost their crunch..any tips on what i could do to keep their crunch?or does this come from your particular biscuit recipe?i used Crunchy caramelised biscuits, quite similar to graham crackers without the cinnamon..thanks so much:)

  73. 73 - Cenk on September 23rd, 2013

    eadaoin – Sorry, I don’t have any tips on that. Just try to find the crunchiest biscuit :)

  74. 74 - Chichi on November 6th, 2014

    This looks stunning. Pinned

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