I think every home cook in Britain does a version of this uncooked chocolate biscuit cake, made from broken biscuits and chocolate. My mother’s version was called Belgian Fudge Cake, but in our family the name somehow morphed to Baljinder Cake, after a friend of my sister’s. I hadn’t had this for years, but stumbling across a recipe for a similar cake recently, I suddenly had an urge to make it. Some googling and a merging of several recipes later, this is as close as I can get without being sick from eating too much chocolate. It’s a real crowd-pleaser, with adults and children alike. I took some to choir practice and it disappeared in minutes. It’s unheard of in France, and there were oohs and aahs of delight as people discovered it. Very gratifying.
Update: and apparently this cake is good enough to feature at the Royal Wedding!
You can tweak the recipe to your taste. I found most recipes much too sweet — even the one that appeared to be the original my mother used — and mine reflects my preference for a strong chocolate flavour with plenty of fruit. Any kind of cheap, plain biscuit will do. Some people use digestives, but I prefer to use the Petit-Beurre type. You can use plain chocolate, milk chocolate, or a mixture. I used half milk, half plain. And the fruit is your choice; I always like to use glacé cherries because that’s something I particularly remember from my mother’s version, but nowadays I like dried cranberries and apricots in it too. I also add a few chopped almonds just because I like them. Other nuts would go nicely too.
Melting the chocolate: I do it in the microwave on low power. If you don’t have one, do it over a very low heat, or use a double boiler. Overheat it and it will seize and turn into a bitter, grainy mess — the only solution to this is to bin it and start again.
150 g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
180 g plain biscuits
50 g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
about 150 g mixed dried fruit: sultanas, cranberries, glacé cherries, chopped dried apricots …
200 g chocolate (dark, milk, or both)
100 g dark chocolate
20 g butter
20 g icing sugar
Line a square cake tin (about 23 cm) with parchment paper. Break up the chocolate for the base, and put it in a heatproof bowl with the butter and golden syrup. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until everything is melted.
Put the biscuits in a bag and crush roughly with a rolling pin or bottle. Don’t turn them into dust. Stir them into the chocolate mixture with the fruit and chopped almonds. It may seem there’s not enough chocolate to cover them, but just keep stirring till everything is coated.
Pour this mixture into the tin, and press it down well with the back of a spoon, levelling the top and eliminating air pockets. Put it in the fridge for an hour or two to set.
To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate as before. Beat in the icing sugar, using a whisk if necessary to eliminate lumps. Pour a thin, even layer over the top of the cake, using a palette knife to spread it if necessary. The icing just makes the whole thing look neater. Return to the fridge to set.
Serve cut into small slices or squares. It’s very rich, you don’t need much!