Isn’t it annoying when someone casually tells you that they “just threw together” an elaborate 5 tiered multi-flavoured cake? Even though I’ve done enough baking for people to think that I’m whipping up desserts with ease, the process still feels like I’m dismantling a live bomb. All that business about careful measuring and adding eggs one at a time and compulsory folding of batter clockwise and WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T OVER MIX and pulling the cake out of the oven at exactly the right second gives me the sweats. I even have a timer with big flashing digital numbers counting down to add to the drama. I completely understand why people just end up buying a cake from Coles. Okay maybe not from Coles. But what kind of childhood did you have if you never had a dirty $5 Coles chocolate mud cake for your 8th birthday?
The good news is that this refrigerator cake needs no baking, only a little melting of butter and chocolate, and if you don’t like using the stove you can also do it in the microwave. I guess it’s a good recipe to tackle if your culinary skills amount to pouring boiling water on 2 minute noodles, or if you want a fun and safe rainy day project to do with your kids. Not my kid though, he/she will most likely be forced to attempt a croquembouche as their introduction to baking. I’m totally going to be one of those high achieving Asian tiger mums in the kitchen. I feel sorry for my kid already.
Anyway, you can literally fling whatever you like into this cake, put it in the fridge et voilà! And it looks pretty damned fancy when you slice it up. Not so much pre-slicing, but how exciting is it to see what the hell might happening on the inside?
Not even the proportions of the ingredients are that important – I mean stick to it generally, but it’s not an exact science. If you don’t have any scales or measuring cups, just eyeball it or use your hands to measure approximate cups. Make sure you include only things that you love to eat, otherwise you’ll be picking out the bits you don’t like. I added pistachios because the original recipe asked for them and they’re so green and pretty, but you know what? I don’t like them much in this cake. I had to eat around them. For some reason I ate around the prunes too, so clearly I did not properly think my ingredients through on this occasion.
Other ingredients you could consider using are crushed Oreos, Maltesers, chopped up jelly snakes, toffee pieces and popping candy which will make your cake decidedly less sophisticated but secretly far more enjoyable.
adapted from jamieoliver.com
200g digestive biscuits broken into small pieces (I used Arnotts Marie biscuits)
1 cup roughly chopped pistachio nuts
1 cup roughly chopped prunes
3 ready-made meringue nests, smashed up
150 g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
500 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
Cocoa powder, to dust
Put the butter, golden syrup and chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) until melted. Or place the bowl into a microwave and heat on short bursts until melted. Stir until smooth. Mix in broken biscuits, pistachio nuts, prunes and smashed meringue until coated in chocolate.
Line a loaf tin with cling wrap to make it easy to remove the cake later, leaving plenty of extra cling wrap at the sides to fold over the top. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the tin as evenly as possible and press down to ensure there are no pockets of air. Put into the fridge for a couple of hours until firm. Remove the cake from the tin using the cling film (you might need to sit the tin at room temperature to help remove the cake). Slice and serve. This cake can be kept in an airtight container for a few days and actually improves in flavour after a few days.