Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Ready For Your Chocolate Fix?

This cake is something of a legend in our family. It was my gran's, back in the day, and we've had it with every Christmas tea for the past hundred years or something (OK, so I don't know exactly how many years. But before I was born, so a lot). This cake demands respect.

Don't let the name deceive you; it's called praline cake, so it must have nuts in, oui? Non. Just chocolate, and digestive biscuits, and more chocolate, and sugar, and chocolate on top, and butter, and chocolate swirled over that. And so on and so on. It occured to me while I was making this that it's basically what we would call 'chocolate fridge cake' now.

But shh! The sacrilege! Respect the vintage recipe, back from the days when they didn't have fridges, and kept their milk in bowls of water covered in a damp cloth during the summer. I may have made that fact up, but it's none the less effective. Although if you put this cake in a bowl of water and covered it with a damp cloth you wouldn't really get far, so probably my gran had a fridge.

We usually make this cake in double quantities (far easier), eat one and freeze the other for Christmas, so it's completely unacceptable to bring it out early if you're feeling a bit hungry - as my sister learnt to her peril this summer when she was home from uni (where she lives on the Starvation Diet) and -overcome by living in a house where people actually spend money in Tesco, rather than Topshop- set about doubling her body mass in the most efficient way possible.

We all arrived home after school and work in the evening to find my Dad in a state of total outrage:

We all gasped.
Looks of horror were exchanged.
Could it be true?
The ground juddered as my grandmother turned in her grave.
You mean not giving it her undivided attention?
Not in neat, chocolatey slices?'

He turned on my sister and pointed at her dramatically with a wavering finger. 'I CAUGHT HER IN THE ACT!'

My sister remained unperturbed, obviously thinking it was worth it.

My mum was on the phone to my aunt that night, relaying the trauma in tones of shock. It took about twenty minutes before my entire extended family knew about it. ('HAS SHE TOLD RACHEL?!' -- she had, and Rachel had wept down the phone).

I exaggerate, but honestly only a little.

For a while we feared a family rift, before my mum created a new family rule. If my sister was going to eat her way through her university holidays, she would have to make her own food. No one touched our praline cake.

This is a cake to take seriously.

...Incidentally, we got home a few days later and found an empty, unwashed couple of baking tins left out by the side of the sink. We searched the tins to find the rest of the cake she had apparently baked during the day, but to no avail. Had she made and eaten a whole cake on her own, in one day? We will never know...

Praline cake
My Gran's recipe
Prep: Literally about 10 mins
Refridgerate: 48 hours
Serves about 8-10 (at a guess) if pieces are smallish, or 1 if you're my sister.
Calories: 2840 in whole cake. Serves 8 at 355 p/s.

Makes one 'small' cake (my gran was always notoriously vague). I use a round 18cm tin, but it must have a loose-bottomed base.
I've adapted quantities from the ounces my gran wrote it in, as well as I can, but included the original measurements too.

125g (4oz) butter
125g (4oz) caster sugar
125g (4oz) dark chocolate (we use Cadburys Bournville)
250g (8oz) Digestive biscuits
1 egg
1 tbsp water
125g milk choc and about 25g white choc for decorating.

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale. Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave (takes a couple of minutes) and add it to the butter and sugar, along with a beaten egg and the water.

2. Crush the biscuits by putting them in a plastic freezer bag, tying the end and whacking it with a rolling pin. They should be fairly well broken up into crumbs- no big lumps, but not so it's just dust. Add them to the rest of the mixture.

3. Pour it into your tin and refridgerate for 48 hours (it doesn't really need that long though. Until set). It'll look something like this at this point:


4. Remove the cake from the loose-bottomed tin before melting the milk chocolate and whooshing it all over the top. Drizzle a few rings of white chocolate over the top of that and use a skewer to swirl them together.

Excuse the fact that there's far more white chocolate than usual on the cake pictured - my little sister melted the whole bar so I used what I could and we made the rest into a sauce for icecream.

I've also made this cake into individual chocolates one time by just rolling spoonfuls of the mixture into balls in my hands and putting them on a baking tray to set in the fridge, then drizzling chocolate over them. This led my friend Sophie to call them 'chocolate bombs' - she couldn't get her head round the fact it's 'praline cake' when it's not in cake form - as she likes to give odd names to things. You should hear some of the things she calls me. In fact, I'm taking this to her house tomorrow as part of a belated birthday present; god knows what she'll try and name it this time ^__^

Bloggers who made this:
20.02.08 Maria at The Goddess's Kitchen


Unknown said...

Oh gosh, this looks to die for! I love the story you included about your sis; hilarious! :p You make it sound so simple, I just have to give this a try :)

Anna said...

Thanks Zee! And yes, definitely try it... especially if you're in the mood for a marriage proposal or two =P (I have to admit, I got about six when I gave this to my friends on Thursday night ^__^ A good result, heh)

Maria♥ said...

Hi Indigo

All I can say is WOW to this cake. I'm drooling over the keyboard, lol. I'm making this beaut of a cake today. Thanks for sharing this delish recipe with us ;o)


Maria♥ said...

Hi, me again. Just wanted to thank you for posting this delicious family recipe and that I made this today and it's up on my blog ;o)


Queen Bitch said...


Right. It's official. Screw the U.S. I'm moving in with you when I graduate.