This Chocolate Biscuit Cake is a beautiful, easy-to-make European dessert, perfect for the entire family. It looks great as a cake for a fancier occasion, but it is equally delicious if shaped like a “salami” log, the traditional way of making it. It was also Her Royal Majesty the Queen’s favorite afternoon tea cake.
What is a Biscuit Chocolate 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, dried or candied fruit, nuts, and a syrup made with cocoa powder, chocolate, butter, and flavors.
This recipe is also present in some European cookbooks as an easy dessert shaped like a log resembling a dried salami. In fact, it is just a simple no-bake roll with biscuits (sweet crackers) and chocolate, and it is one of the favorite desserts among children due to its simplicity.
The log is refrigerated, sliced, and served as a snack or, after a meal, as a dessert.
Some say that it is a genuinely Italian recipe, others think it’s coming from Portugal, while others think it is an international recipe.
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 was 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 were known to enjoy the cake quite often. In fact, Prince William had this cake made for his wedding. How cool is that? You learn something new every day!
While I usually shape this dessert as a log because this is how I was always used to doing it, this time, I decided to shape the mixture into a cake. I needed an easy, no-bake dessert that looked fancier.
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 truly unique.
What kind of ingredients go into this easy chocolate biscuit cake:
- Digestive biscuits/Maria cookies/graham crackers/tea biscuits – You can use what you have available, as all these options would work fine.
- Toasted walnuts– Replace them with pecans, almonds, or a mixture of your favorite nuts. We try to keep the recipe versatile and easy to make for anybody who likes a simple dessert.
- Optional: Dried or candied fruits – It could be anything. Raisins are easy to find, but you can also add cranberries for a festive look or a combination of candied fruits that you enjoy.
This chocolate syrup will bind the ingredients together.
- Granulated sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder– Please use only cocoa powder without added ingredients.
- Cold water
- Unsalted butter at room temperature
- Vanilla extract – try to find the best version of vanilla you can afford.
- Rum extract– if you don’t have it, you can replace it with real rum, but keep in mind that you will not be able to serve it to children. I would encourage you to try the rum extract for the flavor. It works very well in the recipe, and the entire family can enjoy it.
The chocolate ganache is what we use to cover this delicious cake.
- Heavy cream
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- Shaved chocolate for decor– this could be any chocolate you like. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or a mixture of them.
A few words about biscuits/cookies used in this recipe:
There are different European brands that you can easily find in the stores or online.
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: Try 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 want.
What kind of nuts would be good in this recipe?
I used walnuts because they are more used in Europe, but you can replace them with hazelnuts or crushed almonds. Dried or candied fruits work really well in this recipe. Think raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, etc.
How To Toast The Walnuts:
You can toast nuts on the stove, in a skillet, or inside 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, constantly stirring 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 in a single layer. You can also use aluminum foil.
Toast until fragrant and slightly browned for about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool. Use them in the recipe as needed.
Do not add more liquid if the mixture looks a little dry after mixing the biscuits/crackers/Maria cookies with the syrup.
The ratio between dry and wet ingredients is perfect for getting the right consistency after the cake sits in the refrigerator for a few hours.
The biscuits will have time to absorb the flavors and become soft. For me, the perfect pan was a springform pan because I found 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.
Can I freeze this chocolate biscuit cake?
Yes, definitely. As a matter of fact, it freezes beautifully for up to three months. Just wrap it in foil and place it in a freezer bag.
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Chocolate Biscuit Cake
The base of the cake:
- 22 ounces digestive biscuits/Maria cookies/graham crackers/tea biscuit
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- ½ cup dried or candied fruit
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup cold water
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon rum flavor
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 ounce 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.
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.
- 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.