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Recipe: Prince William's Chocolate Biscuit Cake - two ways

Chocolate biscuit cake 
Prince William would be proud, and hungry. (Photo: Associated Press)

Due to reader demand, here's the recipe for the royal wedding's Chocolate Biscuit Cake, said to be Prince William's favorite. Two recipes, actually; the first, via the Chicago Tribune, is from Lady Di's former chef, who said he made the cake for Prince William.

The second, a bit simpler, is from Alison Ladman of the Associated Press, who made the cake in the picture above.

From the Chicago Tribune: This recipe from Darren McGrady's "Eating Royally" cookbook calls for McVitie's Rich Tea Biscuits. "Biscuits" is Brit-speak for "cookies." The biscuits may be purchased at
specialty food shops, some supermarkets and ordered through

   McVitie's digestive biscuits or other chocolate biscuits could be substituted. [ed. note for Western New York readers: English biscuits are sometimes available at Target, Tops or Wegmans stores.]

   If you don't have a 6-inch cake ring or springform pan, substitute with an 8-inch version; however, you should double the recipe to get enough height from the cake.

  CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE (from Darren McGrady's "Eating Royally")

   Prep: 25 minutes

   Chill: 3 hours

   Servings: 8

   8 ounces tea biscuits or cookies

   1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

   1/2 cup granulated sugar

   12 ounces dark chocolate

   1 egg, beaten

   1 ounce white chocolate

   1. Lightly grease a small (6-inch) cake ring or springform pan with butter. Place on a
parchment-lined tray. Break each of the biscuits into almond-size pieces; set aside. Cream the
butter and sugar in a bowl until a light lemon color.

   2. Melt 4 ounces of the dark chocolate in a double boiler. Off the heat, add the butter and
sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Add the egg; continue stirring. Fold in the biscuit pieces
until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.

   3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake ring. Try to fill all the gaps on the bottom of
the ring, because this will be the top when it is unmolded. Refrigerate, at least 3 hours.

   4. Remove the cake from the refrigerator; let it stand while you melt the remaining 8
ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler. Slide the ring off the cake; turn the cake
upside-down onto a cooling rack. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake, smoothing the top
and sides using a butter knife or offset spatula. Allow the icing to set at room temperature.

   Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where it has stuck to the cooling rack,
transfer the cake to a cake dish. Melt the white chocolate; drizzle on top of the cake in a
decorative pattern.

   Nutrition information: Per serving: 491 calories, 46 percent of calories from fat, 25 g
fat, 14 g saturated fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 61 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 124 mg sodium, 3
g fiber.

  Here's another version, from the Associated Press' Alison Ladman:  

  Chocolate Biscuit Cake

   Yield: 12 servings

   For cake:

   1 (7-ounce) package butter tea biscuits (sold in the cookie aisle)

   1 cup heavy cream

   2 tablespoons honey

   1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

   16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 1/2 cups)

   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

   For glaze:

   2 tablespoons butter

   1/4 cup heavy cream

   6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)

   1. Make the cake. Coat a 7- or 8-inch round springform pan with cooking spray. Break up
biscuits with your hands into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces; you want chunks, not crumbs.

   2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup cream, honey and 1/4 cup butter. Microwave
on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until bubbling. Add 16 ounces chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir
in vanilla, then crumbled biscuits.

   3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, using the back of the spoon to smooth the top.
Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any air pockets. Refrigerate for 3 hours or
until thoroughly chilled.

   4. Once the cake is chilled, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat,
combine 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup cream. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add 6
ounces chocolate, stirring until smooth.

   5. Carefully remove the sides from the springform pan (you may need to slide a paring knife
around the inside upper edge to ensure the sides come away cleanly from the cake). Invert the
cake onto a wire rack, then remove the bottom of the pan. Set the rack over parchment paper to
catch drips.

   6. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing it to drip down and completely cover the
top and sides. Allow to firm up, then transfer to a serving plate. Refrigerate leftovers.

   Per serving: 505 calories; 33g fat; 19g saturated fat; 50mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 49g
carbohydrate; 34g sugar; 3g fiber; 80mg sodium; 40mg calcium.



Video: Make caramel pork, easy Vietnamese comfort food

In today's Elements column and cooking video, I present caramel pork, one of the easiest Vietnamese dishes I've tried. It requires fish sauce, which can be stinky but the initial whiff cooks out. My children love it, and you might too.

I used coconut water for braising the pork, but if you don't want to bother, just use water. You'll still get a terrific dish.

Caramel Pork

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¼ cup sliced shallots or onion

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or matchsticked

1 fresh hot pepper, like jalapeno or serrano, minced (optional)

2 pounds pork butt or country ribs, cut into 1 to 1-1/2 inch chunks

1/8 cup fish sauce, or to taste

¾ cup coconut water, or water

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled (optional)

Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

Put oil in heavy-bottomed pot large enough to fit pork chunks in single layer. Turn heat to medium high, and add sugar.

Watch for sugar to start browning. When light coffee color, add garlic, ginger, shallots or onion and hot pepper, if using.

Stir and let cook until garlic and shallots or onions soften, about 5 minutes.

Add pork and stir to combine. Let pork cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring so it doesn't stick.

Add coconut water or water, fish sauce and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a steady simmer. Push eggs into mixture and put lid on pot.

Simmer, occasionally stirring carefully, until pork is tender, 30 to 45 minutes more. If mixture looks like it might dry out, add a little water.

Slice eggs. Serve pork and savory, salty sauce over abundant white rice. Shower with scallions, if using. 


Live chat with The News' food writer at noon today

CSA recipe of the week: Stir-fried lettuce

One of the first crops from local soil will be lettuces, which will probably become salads in most cases. But if there's too much, go stir-crazy and take an idea from Chinese cooks, who toss lettuce briefly in hot oil and season it with a little cooking wine, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil.

I wouldn't make this if you can't serve it immediately, though. Right out of the wok or skillet, it's still a bit crisp. Thirty minutes off the stove and it turns watery and soggy.

Stir-fried Lettuce

1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce

1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Core the lettuce and cut into quarters. Separate into leaves. Wash and dry the lettuce thoroughly.

Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sugar and pepper in a small bowl.

Heat a wok or 14-inch skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the vegetable oil and garlic, and stir-fry 10 seconds. Add the lettuce and stir-fry 1 minute. Add salt and stir-fry another minute, or until lettuce is just limp. Swirl in the sauce and cook 1 minute longer, or until the lettuce is just tender and is still bright green. Serve immediately.

(This recipe is adapted from "The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen," by Grace Young (Simon & Schuster, 1999) via the San Francisco Chronicle.)

Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Goat Cheese with Dandelion Greens, from 'Salad as a Meal'

Here's a savory salad that anchors an "assertive" salad with a nugget of pork-wrapped goat cheese,  from Patricia Wells' "Salad as a Meal," featured in today's Taste section. As the author points out, spinach works fine if you don't want to find dandelions or dislike their bitterness.

Wells writes:

This has been a family favorite ever since we moved to France in 1980. I like to wrap the slightly firm goat cheese in thin slices of smoked meat, such as coppa, bacon, pancetta, or smoked ham. The meat must be sliced as thin as possible so it cooks up quickly, before the goat cheese has time to melt and turn runny. So opt for a firm goat cheese. I like to serve this with an assertive salad, such as dandelion greens, or a sturdy spinach-like green from my garden, dressed with a simple, classic vinaigrette.

Bacon-Wrapped Goat Cheese with Dandelion Greens


1 tablespoon minced mixed fresh herbs, such as chives, chervil, mint, and tarragon

4 small, firm rounds of goat’s milk cheese (2 ounces each)

8 ultra- thin slices smoked bacon, pancetta, or smoked ham

6 cups firmly packed dandelion greens, torn into bite- sized pieces (or use baby spinach)

Classic Vinaigrette (below)

1. Sprinkle the herbs over both sides of each goat cheese round, pressing down lightly so they adhere. Wrap 2 slices of bacon, crisscross fashion, around each cheese.

2. Heat the skillet over moderate heat. Add the wrapped cheese and cook until the meat is browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a layer of paper towels to drain.

3. In a large salad bowl, toss the greens with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat them. Arrange the greens on large salad plates. Place a wrapped goat cheese on top of each salad and serve.

Classic Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons best quality sherry-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons best-quality red-wine vinegar

Fine sea salt

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small jar with a lid, combine the vinegars and salt to taste. Cover with the lid and shake to dissolve the salt. Add the oil and shake to blend. Taste for seasoning. The dressing can be used immediately. (Store at room temperature or in refrigerator for several weeks. Shake to blend again before using.)

(Source: "Salad as a Meal," by Patricia Wells, William Morrow.)

More Ukrainian Easter recipes: Mocha nut torte

All the Ukrainian dishes Francesca Kasa cooks for Easter came from her grandmother's repertoire, Kasa explains in today's Buffalo News Taste section. Here's Francesca's version of Olga Jakubowsky's mocha nut torte.
Mocha Nut Torte
12 egg yolks
12 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup hazelnuts roasted, peeled & finely ground or finely ground walnuts
4 tablespoon plain bread crumbs
Grated zest of one orange or lemon
1 recipe cooked cream (to follow)
2 sticks unsalted butter softened
3-4 tablespoons instant coffe dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Finely chopped nuts or vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
Cooked cream:
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
For torte: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff and set aside. Beat yolks with sugar until very light in color. Add zest and vanilla, then nuts one tablespoon at a time. Mix well. Fold in whites, then bread crumbs. Bake in 2 well greased 8-inch springorm pans for 35-40 minutes.
For cooked cream: Mix egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together well. Heat milk to just under boiling. Temper egg mixture by adding abouut a half cup of hot milk to eggs and stir well, then add the whole thing back into the pan of hot milk. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Cool completely.
For frosting: Beat butter and cooled cream together. When mixed, drizzle in the coffee a little at a time, then cooled chocolate. Frost and fill torte layers with frosting, and press chopped nuts or cookie crumbs along sides.

(Source: Francesca Kasa)

Recipe: Shrimp salad from 'Salad as a Meal'

Here's a simple but elegant shrimp salad from Patricia Wells' "Salad as a Meal," featured in today's Taste section.

Wells writes:

Think of this as a modern shrimp cocktail, enlivened by a touch of fresh chives or cilantro. Protein-rich and a snap to prepare, this recipe comes from Raoul Reichrath, chef and owner of one of our favorite haunts in Provence, his Michelin- starred Le Grand Pré, in Roaix.

SAAM_Raoul's Shrimp 

Raoul’s Shrimp Salad

1/2 cup tomato juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Several drops Tabasco sauce

Fine sea salt

1 to 2 red bell peppers, trimmed, seeds removed, cut into 1/4- inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 celery ribs, cut into crosswise slices (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 pounds (25 to 30) cooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup minced fresh chives or cilantro

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and salt. Taste for seasoning. Add the red peppers and celery. Stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors develop.

2. Toss the shrimp with just enough sauce to lightly and evenly coat the ingredients. Add the chives and toss to blend. Taste for seasoning. Mound the shrimp salad on plates, and serve.

(Source: "Salad as a Meal," by Patricia Wells, William Morrow.)


More Ukrainian Easter recipes: Mushroom stuffed eggs

Of all the Ukrainian dishes that Francesca Kasa cooks for Easter, as explored in today's Buffalo News Taste section, these mushroom stuffed eggs are among her favorites. The dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid adds lots of flavor, she said.

Ukrainian Mushroom Stuffed Eggs
12 hard boiled eggs
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, washed and grated on shredder side of box grater
1 tablespoon dried mushrooms, reconstituted in a little hot water, then chopped finely (reserving liquid)
1 small onion, grated finely
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoon butter or oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt & pepper to taste
Snipped  fresh chives or freeze dried chives, for garnish
Saute mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme in oil and reserved mushroom liquid at high heat until mushrooms have released their water and all liquid is mostly evaporated, resulting in a mixture resembling a chunky jam.

Cool completely. Slice eggs in half and remove yolks to bowl, reserving halved whites. Mash yolks with mayo and mushroom mixture, blending well. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a teaspoon and your hand, mold some of yolk/mushroom mixture over top of whole egg white, smoothing it so that it resembles the shape of a whole egg. Arrange on serving platter and sprinkle each egg with some  chive. Chill completely before serving.

(Source: Francesca Kasa)

CSA recipe of the week: Thai-style Radish Salad

Here's an Asian spin on using radishes, from the recipe blog of Native Offerings, a CSA farm in East Otto.

The author, "The Vegephile," wrote: "I imagine that other vegetables would work here, in combination with the radishes or on their own. Carrot, turnip, celeriac." I'd bet slicing the radishes thinly on a mandolin or carefully with a sharp knife would also work well.

Thai-style Radish Salad

1 bunch radishes, greens removed, radishes trimmed (about 8 oz)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, chopped, or 1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 fresh hot pepper, preferably Thai, seeded and minced; or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar or agave
2 tablespoons finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts, for garnish
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Shred the radishes on a grater or finely chop. Transfer them to a large bowl and add the garlic, scallion, hot pepper, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar; toss to combine.

2. Taste and adjust the seasoning; the mixture may need more fish sauce, lime juice, and/or sugar. Garnish with the peanuts and cilantro and serve.

Online chat with food writer Andrew Galarneau at noon Friday

I'm hosting my first online chat at at noon tomorrow. That's Friday, April 15.

What should we talk about? Beats me. I've never done this before. But when people find out I'm The News' food writer they usually have something to ask.

I'm not the restaurant reviewer, I tell them; Janice Okun remains the newspaper's restaurant critic, though I write about blue-collar places once a month in Gusto's Cheap Eats column. But I have my opinions, like everybody else.

I got a chance to interview food television superstar Paula Deen recently; my story about her will be on the Gusto cover tomorrow. She'll be at Shea's on April 20.

Questions about cooking, local restaurants and anything foodish are welcome.

Note: You can participate without going through the identity verification process, required for leaving comments elsewhere on

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