Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Uachtair Nollaig – the Ultimate Christmas Cream Cake!

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Uachtair Nollaig - it's a piece of cake!


The first Domestic Goddess, Hannah Glasse, is often credited with the famous recipe that begins ... First, catch your hare. That’s how I feel about Christmas cakes... First, bake in September, then bathe in whiskey for 3 months. Doh! Missed that boat again!

Never mind. Although my mother makes an amazing traditional fruit cake with marzipan and royal icing, it's good to have an alternative for those who prefer something a little lighter. My recipe uses simple ingredients to create a magical no-bake Christmas cake: cream, chocolate, booze and biscuits. I’ve called it Uachtair Nollaig – that’s Irish for Christmas Cream.

It’s delightfully retro – based on the ice box cake of 50s America – and it combines 3 gorgeous flavours that really spell Christmas for me, chocolate, orange and ginger. It is simple enough to get the kids involved. Oh, and I’m warning you now, you will want to lick the spoon, and the bowl, and the whisk.

Warning! Lickability rating: extremely high!

For 10-12 servings you will need...
150g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped or grated
500mls Avonmore Double Cream, well chilled
250g cream cheese
60g icing sugar, sifted
50mls Cointreau / Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
150g Ginger Snaps, crushed
100g Bourbon Creams (or other chocolate cookie) crushed

You’ll need an 18cm (7”) loose-bottomed or spring-form cake tin, about 7cm (3”) deep. You’ll also need a pinch of imagination to decorate. I’ve used chocolate fingers and chocolate flakes.

Decorate with imagination, or chocolate fingers!

1                  Place the chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Place 200mls of the double cream in a saucepan and heat until just bubbling at the edges. Pour onto the dark chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted and combined with the cream. Leave to cool.
2                  When the chocolate and cream mixture has cooled, add the cream cheese, icing sugar, liqueur and orange zest and whisk until thick and smooth.  (An electric whisk  or stand mixer is best for this).Then add the remaining 300mls of double cream and continue whisking until the cream forms stiff peaks when you lift the whisk out. Take care at this stage not to over-whip the mixture or you’ll end up with chocolate butter!
3                  Sprinkle about 1/3 of the ginger snap crumbs over the base of the tin. Cover with a layer of cream. Next add half the chocolate cookie crumbs in a layer, followed by another layer of cream. Continue with another 1/3 of ginger snap crumbs, another layer of cream, the remaining chocolate cookie crumbs, another layer of cream, the remaining ginger snap crumbs and finish with a layer of cream. Smooth the top. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight. It will set solid enough to cut into slices.
4                  Carefully run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the tin. Remove and decorate as desired. For the cake shown, I pressed chocolate fingers to the side and sprinkled with chocolate flakes.
Easy to make, even easier to eat...

Ah, sometimes the simple things in life are the best! Pin It

27 comments:

Cucina49 said...

Your cake is just gorgeous...and I always love seeing your traditional Irish recipes!

Professor Vegetable said...

I love dark chocolate. The cake looks beautiful!

Grubarazzi said...

Oh my goodness. This is beautiful. I'm in love.

bananamondaes said...

Ooohhh YUMM! This looks delicious. What a great recipe. I'm trying it.

WiseMóna said...

I love this photo Hester. The ribbon and the flower - so pretty. We have a Christmas cake recipe but it is a quickie fruit cake/tea cake recipe. Nothing as glamourous as this one, which I am certain the children will love! Hope all is well with you and you are bracing yourself for Christmas!

firefoodie said...

NEVER seen anything like this before, and you make it sound so easy. I just love the choc fingers around the outside, they look a bit like chocolate coated chestnut pailings (!), and do the job just perfectly!

Isabelle @ Crumb said...

Oh goodness, that filling does look very lickable indeed! I've missed the boat on fruitcakes as well this year, so this just might have to be my substitute dessert... at least it's a little more forgiving of procrastination. :)

Ann said...

Oh, buzz, Buzz, BUZZ! This is absolutely amazing! I love chocolate and orange together! Thanks for sharing!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table said...

This is the most beautiful cake I've seen this season! The only problem would be cutting it... because I kind of want to stick my face in it like a 1 year old. :)

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Hester, I love your description about cakes and catching hares. We definitely see eye-to-eye! You've whisked up yet another winner with these flavours: I love an excuse for using some Grand Marnier or something liqueurish. I think the hardest part of your cake is pronouncing it!

Hester Casey said...

@ Jill - thanks Jill. It's cos we're both celtic lasses.

Pronunciation for this cake is:
Oooook-ter Null-eg or there abouts :)

Parsley Sage said...

Ha! Your pronouncer is hilarious :)

I love this Christmas cake! No bake means Parsley Sage can make it!

Lizzy said...

What a stunning cake! I love the edging of chocolate fingers and the beautiful ribbon! Perfect for Christmas~

Juanita said...

Decadent and delightful, with gorgeous presentation!

galit said...

That is such a beautiful cake - I might have drooled over it a little bit :-O

Lilly said...

I don’t think there is a better combo then chocolate and orange! Every time I mixed them together it brings a huge smile on my face. Having a slice or 2 of this cake will do the same =)
Have a great Sunday!

Ps: any results on your pupcakes? They were just too cute!

Angie's Recipes said...

gosh..this looks extremely luscious, rich and addictive!

Ms.Chief loves wigwams! said...

what chance does my diet stand with this decadent cheeky delectable dish!!! Mmmmmm can't wait to make & taste this one. Looks gorgeous .. .mmmmm could just indulge right now!! Love it all, the ribbon , the fingers the flavours.

Hope you're well, enjoying yourself.

Shhhhh don't mention Christmas too much I'm trying to forget about it for a while !!

The Culinary Lens said...

Oooook-ter Null-eg is about how I'd pronounce it. I love the look of this. I was never a fan of the traditional fruit Christmas make.

Gourmantine said...

Hester, your cake is gorgeous! Though I think I would end up not licking the whisks but spooning the cream before the actual making of the cake.... :)

Anca @Bistro Gerard said...

This cake looks divine, Hester! I'll have to think of an excuse to make it before Christmas, I don't think we can wait that long :-)

igloo cooking said...

pero que preciosidad!!! es impresionante!!! que maravilla, un triunfo seguro! besitos

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Oh my goodness, this cake looks simply beautiful Hester!!!! I wish this is our Christmas cake....

Catherine said...

There's always a chocolate cake in our house at Christmas. This year, it'll be your confection of chocolate and orange. Thanks!

Joy said...

Im so drooling. That looks wonderful.

Ciars said...

That's cake looks amazing.. i'm wondering if you could substitute the giner nuts for digestives & the orange for Baileys? hmmm

Hester said...

@ Ciars - sounds good to me. The cream could make the Baileys a little bland, I think you'd need to back it up with something else, maybe Tia Maria or a shot of espresso.