Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Chocolate refrigerator cake (or tiffin, as we know it in our household) - what's not to like? It's dangerous for me to have this in the house because it's so tempting to nip to the fridge for an extra square (it goes SO well with a cup of tea), yet sadly it's hugely calorific. Luckily, this week I had a good excuse to make it because it was my birthday. And we all know that calories consumed on our birthdays don't count, don't we?

Before I had my kids, one of the things I looked forward to doing with them was baking. I have fond memories of baking cakes with my maternal grandmother and I have even more respect for the endless patience she showed my 5-year-old self now that I realise just how stressful baking with small children can be! My solution is to keep it simple by getting my kids to help with recipes that don't require precision or a light touch. Chocolate refrigerator cake is ridiculously simple to make - as the name suggests, it doesn't even need to be baked. The children can weigh the ingredients, crush the biscuits, cut up the fruit with scissors (obviously with assistance), stir everything together and press it into the tin. Oh, and lick the bowl!

The fact that this ended up looking festive (thanks to the white chocolate star sprinkles) was a happy coincidence but, as it happens, it would make a great Christmas gift. It keeps incredibly well and I've actually sent a slab of it through the post as a present on more than one occasion. It would look super pretty cut into small squares, then packed in a clear cellophane bag and tied with ribbon.

  • If you don't have a square tin, you can use a traybake tin - just make sure that it has a similar surface area.
  • To stop the golden syrup from sticking to the spoon, place the spoon in a cup of boiling water for a minute or so before using. The syrup will then slide off the spoon very easily.
  • I like to include almonds in this recipe, but they're completely optional. Aside from the allergy risk, they can be a choking hazard for small children. If you choose to leave them out, just replace with an equal weight of dried fruit.
  • This is an incredibly versatile recipe - you can use whatever biscuits and dried fruit you fancy, as long as you keep the overall weight the same.

Chocolate refrigerator cake

Makes 16 squares
100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp golden syrup
180g dark chocolate, broken into squares (I used Cadbury's Bourneville)
200g digestive biscuits
50g glacé cherries, quartered
25g dried apricots, chopped
25g raisins
25g almonds, chopped (optional)
220g milk chocolate, broken into squares (I used Cadbury's Dairy Milk)
white chocolate star sprinkles, to decorate

Grease and line a 23-cm square cake tin.

Place the butter, golden syrup, and dark chocolate in a small saucepan over a very low heat (I use my hob's lowest setting) and melt gently, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, place the biscuits in a strong plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. I like to leave some chunks and not completely pulverise the biscuits into crumbs.

Put the crushed biscuits, dried fruit and almonds into a large bowl and pour over the melted chocolate mixture. Stir well until everything is completely coated in chocolate. Tip into the prepared tin and, using the back of a spoon, press down to cover the base completely. Transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 10 minutes.

Melt the milk chocolate, either in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate into the tin and spread it out to form a thin layer over the biscuit base. Scatter over the sprinkles.

Return the tin to the fridge and chill until set. Remove the tiffin from the tin and cut into squares using a large heavy-bladed knife.

Images and text © Louisa Smith

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