Tiffin has an awful lot going for it: a type of ‘refrigerator cake’, it’s a traybake that, after melting down the various components and giving it a good stir, is smothered in chocolate, and sits in the fridge until serving, and requires no actual baking at all. It was invented in the early 1900s in Troon in Scotland, and at its simplest, tiffin contains biscuits and raisins or sultanas.
It’s an understandable favourite with children, but if you’re concerned that such a sweet treat may be infantile, fear not: Prince William requested a chocolate fridge cake to sit alongside the more traditional fruit cake at his wedding. McVitie’s were commissioned to provide the fridge cake remembered fondly by Prince William from his childhood for the 600-strong reception.
Use your favourite chocolate to make this – it does, after all, make up the vast majority of this dish, and now is not the time to use up the cooking chocolate that’s been gathering dust in your cupboard. I’ve tried this with both milk and dark chocolate, and I find the dark a little overwhelming. While milk chocolate runs the risk of being too sweet, this is easily tempered by introducing a little cocoa powder.
When it comes to the filling, you need only broken biscuits and raisins or sultanas to satisfy the tiffin gods, but, really, the sky’s the limit. I like to veer wildly into rocky road territory, throwing in glacé cherries, mini marshmallows and – my favourite – whole Maltesers, but you should add whatever you fancy. It goes like this…
Makes: 16 squares
Takes: 15 minutes, plus chilling
Bakes: No time at all
For the base
200g milk chocolate
3 tablespoons golden syrup
75g glace cherries
125g digestive biscuits
75g raisins or sultanas
40g mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping
200g milk chocolate
1/2 tablespoon golden syrup
1. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.
2. Melt the chocolate, butter, syrup and salt together in a bain marie, and stir in the cocoa powder.
3. Place the digestive biscuits in a freezer bag, seal it and break up the biscuits using something heavy, like a rolling pin: you want chunks rather than crumbs. Put the broken biscuits into a large mixing bowl along with the Maltesers, cherries, raisins or sultanas, and mini marshmallows.
4. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir together. Spoon into the tin and press down with the back of a spoon, so that the mixture reaches into the corners and smooth across the top.
5. Melt the chocolate for the topping in a bain marie, and stir in the butter and golden syrup. Spoon over the mixture in the tin, jiggle the tin a little bit to even the level, and leave to set in the fridge.
6. Remove from the fridge and lift out using the baking paper onto a chopping board. Using a large knife, cut the tiffin into 16 squares.