Will looked horrified. ‘What kind of monster could possibly hate chocolate?’
– Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel.
Back in July, my friend, Becky, who also edits for me, asked me to make my Chocolate Refrigerator Cake. This cake, which is scrumptious, is one of my favourite things to make both here in Korea and at home in Ireland. It’s decadently full of dark chocolate, shredded coconut and banana chips, and it’s packed to the brim with nuts and dried fruit. The first time I made it I used Usbourne’s Beginners Cookbook . It was for a Cake Bake that we used to host once a month, in my department, in my old company. It was a major success and many people asked for the recipe.
When I made it here in Korea, I didn’t have that cookbook, so instead I relied on this BBC Good Food recipe instead for inspiration which, to be honest, I still use for some of the measurements in the chocolate mix. I don’t like apricots so instead I would substitute whatever other dried fruit I had on hand. In the last 2 years, I have made this cake for my friends, students and co-workers more times that I should probably admit to, considering I’m supposed to try and watch my cholesterol levels! So, since I started making this cake I’ve come up with a version that works best for me, and it’s that version I will share with you today. However, I also recommend both versions I have referred to above (minus the apricots!) and I hope no matter what version you decide to go with, you get as many compliments for the dish as I have received.
Maggie’s Chocolate Refrigerator Cake
Serves up to 40
- 225g/8oz chocolate digestive biscuits/Graham Crackers, crushed.
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup shredded coconut (optional – toast the shredded coconut)
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
- ½ cup chopped mixed nuts – (walnut, pecan and almond) (optional – toast the nuts)
- 5-8 banana chips, chopped
- 1 tsp dates, chopped
Chocolate mix ingredients
- Around 1½ -1¾ cup (or 250-275g) dark/plain cooking chocolate, chopped**
- ¼ – ½ cup (or 25 – 50g) white cooking chocolate, chopped**
- A little less than ½ cup maple syrup
- 7 tbsp butter
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
- Line a baking dish (around 11x7x1.5 inches) with cling-film/saran wrap. Leave enough over the sides that you can cover the cake. Set aside.
- Set up a double broiler with the chocolate, butter, maple syrup and spices. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and everything is well combined.*
- Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients together in a big, heat proof bowl. Set aside until the chocolate is ready.
- Once ready, mix the chocolate, in batches, into the dry ingredients. When everything is covered with chocolate-y goodness, transfer to the baking dish.
- Flatten the mix and smooth it out with a spatula or the back of your spoon.
- Leave to cool and once cooled, if using, add the chia seeds and cover with the excess cling-film. Pop it into the fridge for 1-2 hours minimum.
- Serve with a nice cup of tea.
*Be careful not to let any water in – I did that once and had to dump everything!
**For a richer version use less white chocolate. As long as you have 300g of chocolate you should be good.
Make ahead: When I made this recipe on Wednesday, I prepared all the dry ingredients when I woke up. I put that mix in a plastic bag and put it aside until I got home when I finished everything else off. You can also make and keep in the fridge up to 3 days.
Freezing: You can freeze this dish for up to a month. Just pop the cake tin in the freezer once set. Another option is to cut into bite-size pieces and divide into freezer bags for those days when you need a wee bit of chocolate!
For a smaller crowd: You can, quite easily, halve the recipe or cut the cake into larger pieces.
For a large crowd: As mentioned above, this can serve up to 40. You just need to make small, bite-size pieces. This option works really well when I make cakes for my students—one batch serves around 40 (and I think I’ve made it go further on occasion) which is nice for get-togethers with family and friends.