This Chocolate Biscuit Cake is a beautiful, easy-to-make European dessert that is good for the entire family. It looks great as a cake for a fancier occasion but equally delicious if shaped like a “salami” log, the traditional way of making it.
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What is a Chocolate Biscuit Cake?
Chocolate Biscuit Cake is a classic European dessert made with sweet cookies (biscuits), like Maria cookies, or graham crackers as a base of the recipe., sometimes dried or candied fruit, nuts, all tossed in a syrup made out of cocoa powder, chocolate, butter, and flavors.
Originally, the mixture is molded as a log or a “salami,” as we like to call it, based on the shape and look. It is refrigerated, then sliced, and served as a dessert or a snack.
In Romanian, because of its salami shape, it is called Salam de biscuiti, or Biscuits Salami.
This is one popular dessert in Europe. Some say that it is a truly Italian recipe, others think it’s coming from Portugal, while others think it is an international recipe.
I say that many countries in Europe have at least one version of it.
If it came from Italy or not, I don’t know, but what I can say is that I grew up with this recipe back in Romania as it was a cheap, economical way to put a dessert on the table.
The recipe is passed from generation to generation and it makes a delicious dessert for any day of the week.
Also, I just learned that in Malaysia they make a similar cake called “Batik Cake,” which they serve on special occasions.
Prince William’s And Queen Elizabeth’s Favorite Cake:
The recipe is so famous that even Queen Elizabeth and Prince William are known to enjoy the cake quite often. In fact, Prince William had this cake made for his wedding.
How cool is that?
This time, though, I decided to shape the mixture into a cake because I needed an easy, no-bake dessert that looked fancier. And it really looked very pretty, don’t you think?
As you can see in the picture below, it really resembles a “salami” inside. The biscuits, the nuts, and the dried fruit have different textures that make this dessert really amazing.
What kind of ingredients go into this easy chocolate biscuit cake:
- Digestive biscuits/Maria cookies/graham crackers/tea biscuit
- Toasted walnuts
- Optional: Dried or candied fruits
- Granulated sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Cold water
- Unsalted butter at room temperature
- Vanilla extract
- Rum flavor– if you don’t have the flavor, you can replace it with rum. However, keep in mind that you will not be able to serve it to children. The rum flavor is used in many Romanian recipes, and we do have this flavor in the pantry at all times.
- Heavy cream
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- Shaved chocolate for decor– this could be any kind of chocolate you like. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or a mixture of them are totally accepted. If you want to skip this step and not decorate the cake at all, that is OK.
A few words about biscuits/cookies used in this recipe:
There are different European brands that can be easily found in the stores.
The bottom line is that you can use whatever sweet, simple cookie, biscuit, or cracker you like. This makes the recipe flexible and easy to put together using ingredients from the pantry.
Besides that, there is no baking involved, which is awesome if you are not that good of a baker. You just have to follow the recipe, and you should be safe.
Bonus: Another No bake dessert- This No Bake Cheesecake with Berries
My version of this recipe is flavored with rum, a very popular flavor used in Romanian desserts. If you don’t like that flavor, use vanilla, almond flavor, or anything else you like.
What kind of nuts would be good in this recipe?
I used walnuts because they are the Romanian traditional nut, but if you don’t like them or have them, replace them with hazelnuts or crushed almonds. Dried or candied fruits work really well in this recipe.
How To Toast The Walnuts:
You can toast nuts on the stove, in a skillet, or in the oven.
On The Stove:
I do it on the stove if I have a small amount of nuts that I want to toast. The time to toast nuts on the stove is always shorter than the time the nuts require in the oven.
Place a medium skillet on medium heat. Heat walnuts until browned and fragrant, stirring constantly, so they don’t burn. In about 2-5 minutes, they should be done. Please keep an eye on the nuts because they tend to burn fast if unattended.
Remove from the pan, chop and use them for the recipe.
In The Oven:
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the nuts on it in a single layer. You can also use aluminum foil.
Toast until fragrant and slightly browned for about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and allow them to cool. Use them in the recipe as needed.
If the mixture looks a little dry after mixing the biscuits/crackers/Maria cookies with the syrup, do not add more liquid.
The ratio between dry and wet ingredients is perfect for getting the right consistency after refrigeration for a few hours.
The biscuits will have time to absorb the flavors and become soft. The perfect pan for me was a springform pan because I find it easier to remove the cake before serving.
I don’t have a springform pan. What else can I use?
You could use a regular cake pan that has been lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper for easy removal. If you do not want to make this dessert into a cake, the traditional way is to shape the mixture into a cylinder, like a salami, using plastic wrap.
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- 22oz(650g) digestive biscuits/Maria cookies/graham crackers/tea biscuit
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried or candied fruits
- For the CHOCOLATE SYRUP:
- 1 cup/7oz/200g granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup/2 oz/60g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup/8.4 fl.oz/240 ml cold water
- 2/3 cup/5.2oz/150g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon rum flavor
- For the CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
- 1/2 cup/4 fl.oz/120 ml heavy cream
- 4 oz/120g semi sweet chocolate
- 1 oz/28g shaved chocolate for decor
- Make the chocolate syrup first:
- Place sugar, cocoa powder, water, and butter in a small pot. Place the pot on the stove, on medium heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the syrup for about 7 minutes, mixing constantly.
- Remove from the stove and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
- Toast the walnuts:
- Add the walnuts to a skillet and toast over medium heat until browned and fragrant. (for about 2 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow them to cool. Chop them.
- How To Assemble The Cake:
- Add the toasted chopped walnuts, the rum flavor, the vanilla, and the dried/candied fruits to the syrup. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, break the graham crackers into small pieces and place them in a big bowl.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the crackers and mix all until the crackers are coated.
- Place the mixture into a springform pan and press it down to become compact.
- Refrigerate for an hour.
- Chocolate Ganache:
- In a small pot, bring the heavy cream to a boil, remove it from the stove and add the chopped chocolate.
- Mix the combination until the chocolate is completely melted and mixed with the heavy cream.
- Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake and spread it with a spatula.
- Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Remove the springform and place the cake on a platter.
- Decorate with shaved chocolate.
- Cut and serve.
- Keep it in the refrigerator.
If the mixture looks kind of dry after mixing the biscuits/crackers with the syrup, do not add more liquid.
The ratio between dry and wet ingredients is perfect for getting the right consistency after refrigeration for few hours.
The biscuits will have time to absorb the flavors and become soft. The perfect pan for me was a springform pan because I find it easier to remove the cake before serving. The result also looks prettier.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 48mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 26gProtein: 4g