29 Mar 2011, Posted by admin in EAT + DRINK, 0 Comments
In today’s LA Weekly, I revisit an earlier interview with Darren McGrady, former private chef for Princess Diana a swell guy who donates 100% of the proceeds from his cookbook to charity. This week he shares his recipe for chocolate biscuit cake, a classic British concoction of crushed wafer cookies suspended in a chocolate-butter mousse, then chilled and covered with more chocolate [SCRATCH THAT, turns out his publisher has suddenly recalled the recipe, even from McGrady's own blog -- ah, another bloody $$-driven American company].
At any rate, it happens to be the Queen’s favorite, and the cake that Prince William chose for his groom’s cake. As for where that groom’s cake tradition started, I’ll leave it to the British tabloids and the librarians at the Food Timeline to battle out, but my money is on the latter. Here’s the original story:
If you enjoyed a tabloid-free weekend, let us break your fast with the latest Royal wedding reception menu gossip: Prince William has chosen a groom’s cake made of tea biscuits and chocolate.
A groom’s cake? Though groom’s cakes are more common in the American South than in England, an article in The Telegraph calls this a “US-style groom’s cake” yet also makes a point to scold those of us who might point to “the choice of cake as evidence of the Prince looking to the States for inspiration. In fact the ‘groom’s cake’ has been a tradition in Britain since Victorian times, although few couples bother today.” Now you know.
Well, we are happy to “bother” with testing the recipe from Princess Diana’s former chef, Darren McGrady, who happens to now reside in the South. As McGrady tells us in Eating Royally, his cookbook chronicling his time in the Royal kitchen, this is also the Queen’s favorite cake.
A chocolate biscuit cake is not a traditional cake in the fresh-from-the-oven sense. It’s essentially a chilled chocolate-butter mousse speckled with crushed cookies, then glazed in chocolate. “I used to prepare it for both [Prince William and the Queen] when they had tea together,” explains McGrady via his blog. “The Queen would request the cake in the menu book for Sunday tea when she knew her grandson would be joining her from Eton.”
McGrady says when afternoon tea included the chocolate biscuit cake, the staff knew not to dare touch the leftovers (it keeps well for several days in the fridge). “Her Majesty loves this cake so much she takes a mental picture of how much she is sending back to the kitchens each day,” continues McGrady. “I remember her on one occasion instructing her page to call the kitchen to ask who had been eating her cake.”
Might be wise for Kate to just stick to a slice of her own wedding cake on the big night.
– Reprinted by permission from “Prince William’s Groom’s Cake Revealed+ The Royal Family’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake Recipe” by Jenn Garbee on LA Weekly’s Squid Ink food blog.