Friday, February 14, 2014

Love is ... sharing your Baileys Chocolate Biscuit Cake

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St Valentine mightn’t have been Irish to begin with, but we’ve certainly adopted him. His relics lie in the Carmelite church at Whitefriar Street, Dublin. If you want to pop in to visit, you may have to elbow your way through the growing crush as the resting place of the Hallmark saint grows in popularity with loved-up couples. Although... according to that great bible of civilization, Wikipedia, there are about eleven St Valentines and it is not known which one inspired the retail frenzy.
Valentine’s Day would try the patience of a saint. Ok, who doesn’t like to know they are someone’s someone special... But... if this commercial outpouring of love is confined to romantic love... and then to just one day of the year, well, it’s a teeny bit exclusive, isn’t it.
For me, love is in the every day things.  It’s in the whole-hearted, rib-cracking bear-hugs from my godson; in the slightly soggy, pre-licked crisps offered by my three-year-old niece when you know she really, really, really wants them herself (“Thanks honey, but you have them, I insist! No, really – I insist”.
I asked friends and family what love meant to them. It turns out, it isn't in the grand gestures. Love is... in having the washing up done for you; in getting a cup of tea... just the way you like it... brought to one’s boudoir. Love is in chocolate; in a tiny posy of primroses; in a bunch of daffodils (preferably not ones stolen from the local park); Love is in a ‘Thank you for feeding me’ lick from a four-legged friend (awwww); it's in a crayoned picture of you looking like a happy witch; in a warm hand that reaches for your cold hand; in sharing a bag of salty, vinegary chips; Love is in cupcakes, hot from the oven; in a hug, just when you need it; it seems that love happens in lots and lots of small ways, - funnily, many of them food-related.
Dear St Valentine, when it comes to love, with all your kitsch hearts and overpriced flowers you are in the ha’penny place. But, seeing as you are now adopted Irish, here is a nod in the form of my Baileys Chocolate Biscuit Cake - for grown up friends and family. (If you are making these for kids, swap the cream liqueur for double cream).
For 1 boozy Baileys Chocolate Biscuit Cake, (or many tiny bites) you will need...
150g Marietta biscuits (or any Rich Tea type biscuit)
150g Digestive biscuits
100g dried sour cherries or dried cranberries (or a mixture of the two), chopped
50g toasted almonds, chopped
50g toasted walnuts, chopped
150g good quality plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
150g good quality milk chocolate
150mls Baileys (or a similar Irish Cream Liqueur)
100g butter, melted
25g runny honey (something floral, but not overpowering)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

50g each of dark chocolate and white chocolate for drizzling over the finished cake (optional). Oh, who am I kidding! Since when has  extra chocolate been optional?

Method

Chop the biscuits into bits about the size of a 2c coin (or a penny) and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the dried fruit and the nuts. 

Place the chocolate in a heatproof (preferably non-metallic) bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t sit in the water). When the chocolate has melted, add the butter and stir gently together with a wooden spoon or spatula to avoid filling the chocolate with air bubbles. We’re not making mousse today. 

When the butter is incorporated, add the cream liqueur (or double cream if you are going for an alcohol-free version) and stir until you have a smooth, shiny lake of chocolate-y deliciousness. (It will be alarming liquid at this stage but keep the faith - it will set later in the fridge.) Finally, stir in the honey and the vanilla extract. Tip the mixture into the bowl of biscuits. Stir until every last morsel is coated with boozy chocolate lusciousness. 

Transfer to a loaf tin (if you want slices), a mixing bowl or round cake tin (if you want wedges) or a shallow pie dish or similar if you want little squares or bars,  before covering and placing in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can line your chosen container with cling film if you wish but I find it just as easy to pop the container in a tray of hot water for a minute or so to melt the edges a little before turning out onto a serving tray. 

It would be utterly decadent to drizzle this little treat with even more chocolate...


 Cut into squares, wedges or bars. Share.
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14 comments:

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

I have eaten something similar here in Australia but I've never tried making it myself. I think I shall. :)

I have always said the sexiest man on the planet wears an apron and is unloading the dishwasher.

Magnolia Verandah said...

What a great post and what a goooood Baileys cake. Definitely pinned!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Hester, what a lovely treat for Valentine´s Day and what a fun tribute! I have never seen a Baileys Biscuit Cake before but it looks very pretty and the ingredients for this sound just wonderful!
Have a lovely weekend!

Rosemary Wolbert said...

I thought I'd seen all the Valentine chocolate recipes I'd cared to -- until I saw this. A keeper. Definitely something to share 28595668, love.

Hester said...

@ Maureen - I'm with you there, Maureen :)

ray said...

Love comes in many ways and sometimes you wouldn't even notice it. This is a nice post Hester and I enjoyed reading it. Now I'm getting emotional. I need a hug. Anybody? Anyone? Hello! :(

Okay, I hope you had a wonderful Valentines Day and a lovely weekend. :)

Hester said...

Aw Ray, sending you a virtual hug, Hester x

Jill Colonna said...

I had no idea that the relics of St Valentine were in Dublin! You're too right, Hester - love is getting that cuppa the way you like it ;-) Just working on the rest. I'll never get him to wear that apron or cook but love him still the same.

Beautiful biscuit cake and with Baileys just makes it extra special.

motherrimmy said...

Hester I was a bit and under the weather and
behind on catching up with my blogging buddies. I wish I would have seen this sooner. This is by far your best post. Absolutely lovely and completely true. :)

dentistvschef said...

Preety damn delicious sweet bites!!!

Simply Life said...

oh wow! what a wonderful dessert!!

Liz Berg said...

All the fabulous textures, flavors and booze make for one amazing cake! You've outdone yourself this time!!!!

Silvia said...

Hi my name is Silvia, I'm from Italy and I'm new follower! Your blog looks very nice and I will try some recipes...ths cake will be the first! I love Ireland, Irish people and Irish Food!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Hi Hester! This biscuit cake looks yummy! It looks very pretty from the side of the cake too. :)