Christmas Fridge Cake
An Alternative Dessert
Credit: Mary E Park
This is a dessert I have eaten every Christmas since I was little. It was always part of our Boxing day feast at our grandparents' house. It was one of the first recipes I copied from my Mum’s cook book when I was ready to fly the nest. It has become a tradition, in our house, to eat this cake for a very indulgent breakfast the next day. I just love it when the flavours have matured and melded together.
36-48 Sponge Fingers/Boudoir Biscuits
½ pint cream
Should be one to fit here
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First roast your hazelnuts in a dry pan over a medium heat shaking them gently so they don’t burn Burnt nuts do not taste good. Put the hot nuts in a tea towel and roll them about, to remove some of the skin. A few bits left on will not hurt. Now chop the nuts by hand, or in a processor, and leave to cool. Make your coffee, fresh or instant, It doesn't matter which. Lace the coffee with a good splash of Tia Maria, and leave to cool. While the coffee is cooling make your butter cream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and drinking chocolate together till light and fluffy. Now fold in your cooled chopped nuts.
Prepare an 8 inch round cake tin by lining with foil or strong cling film and buttering well. A loose bottomed cake tin makes it easier to removed the finished cake. Now take your sponge fingers and sandwich them together with the butter cream. Add a little more butter cream to one side of the sandwich. You can make up all the sponge finger sandwiches first, or do each one as you need it. I tend to do the latter. Dip each sandwich into the coffee mix and layer these delicious little packages in the cake tin. Keep them all in the same direction, pressing the bare side of each one against it’s neighbour.
When the base of the tin is full add the next layer at right angles to the first. You may need to trim a few so they fit neatly. If you can resist eating the trimmings save them as you may need them for the next row, or to fill in any gaps. If you have extra fingers left over you can finish the cake with a single layer. If you have any coffee left you can drizzle it over the cake. Any remaining butter cream is gently spread on top. Now cling film the cake tin, or place a plate over it, and place it in the fridge for at least 24 hours. When the cake is thoroughly chilled it is then removed from the tin and placed on a serving dish. If it cracks apart just push it back together and re chill, putting it back in the tin if necessary.
To decorate. Whip the cream to a soft peak stage and fold in any flavouring you want. I leave the cream plain as I do not want to detract from the flavour of the cake. Mask the cake with the cream, keeping a little back. Decorate with swirls of cream, mini meringues and crumbled flake. You can serve with a little extra pouring cream if required.
The cream coating will begin to discolour after about 24 hours as the coffee begins to seep into the cream. It will still taste good, but not look as pretty.
It will look perfect on this
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I have nearly always used Tia Maria but, on occasion, I have used rum. You can use what ever flavouring you would like and change the coffee to a complimentary fruit juice. Perhaps you could use orange juice with Cointreau ,and change the nuts to almonds. Personally I would stick with coffee, Tia Maria and hazelnuts. If you want to make sure that it looks good the next day then you can coat the entire cake in grated chocolate. This hides any discolouration caused by the coffee. You can make a deeper chocolate flavour by adding grated chocolate or cocoa powder to the butter cream.
- You can roast the nuts in a hot oven but watch them like a hawk.
- Be careful roasted nuts are very hot!
- Don’t turn your nuts into a powder, you want some texture in there.
- The size of the cake tin you use in not overly important. The smaller the tin the deeper the cake. Do not make it too big. You want to have at least two layers of sponge finger sandwiches, so that it holds its shape.
- Do not leave the fingers in the coffee mix too long, or they will disintegrate. A quick dip and flip is usually enough.