How To Make The Queen's Favourite Chocolate Cake

Royal chef Darren McGrady says HRH loves this cake so much she has leftovers packaged up & taken with her while travelling.

The queen watching a chocolate cake be made.
Pool/Tim Graham Royal Photos/Getty

Baking has been the perfect wholesome antidote to the monotony of lockdown since the very beginning (here’s looking at you banana bread). Not only is baking seriously comforting, but it makes tea breaks that little bit more interesting when you’re working from home. If you’re fed up with the usual cake recipes, you can now make afternoon tea fit for royalty with the Queen’s favourite chocolate biscuit cake recipe, and it's super simple, too.

It's not hard to see why the Queen likes to tuck into her favourite chocolate biscuit cake for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace. Reminiscent of the chocolate fridge cakes from childhood, or even the marshmallow-filled Rocky Road, the sumptuous dark chocolate and biscuit-filled cake is the perfect combination of crunchy texture and sweet fudge-style chocolate, thanks to the addition of Rich Tea biscuits. A layer of decadent chocolate icing is a finishing touch that would make even Nigella proud.

“This chocolate biscuit cake is Her Royal Majesty the Queen's favorite afternoon tea cake by far,” chef Darren McGrady, The Royal Chef and former personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, told Today Food. “This cake is probably the only one that is sent into the royal dining room again and again until it has all gone.”

Apparently HRH is such a huge fan of the chocolate biscuit cake recipe that she has been known to finish the whole thing or, if not, ask that leftovers are packaged up to finish if she is heading out of London for the weekend. “If there is anything left when she has it at Buckingham Palace, it then goes to Windsor Castle so she can finish it there,” says McCrady. “ I used to travel on the train from London to Windsor Castle with the biscuit cake in a tin on my knee. It was half eaten.”

The monarch isn’t the only royal who has taken a liking to the delicious chocolate biscuit cake. Prince William is also a big fan, having first had a taste for it at high tea with his grandmother and loved it so much that he served it as a second “Groom’s cake” at his wedding to Kate Middleton, says McCrady.

Fortunately, McCrady shared the simple recipe for the Queen’s favourite chocolate biscuit cake on his website, so you can have a go at home.

Former Royal Chef Darren McCrady's Recipe For Creating The Queen's Favourite Chocolate Biscuit Cake


For the cake:

  • 1/2 teaspoon butter, for greasing the pan
  • 8 ounces Rich tea biscuits or sweet cookies
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 egg

For the icing topping:

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, for coating
  • 1 ounce chocolate, for decoration


For the cake:

  • Lightly grease a 6-inch-by-2½-inch cake ring with the butter and place on a tray on a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Break each of the biscuits into almond-size pieces by hand and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar until the mixture starts to lighten.
  • Melt the 4 ounces of the dark chocolate and add to the butter mixture, stirring constantly.
  • Add the egg and beat to combine.
  • Fold in the biscuit pieces until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake ring. Try to fill all of the gaps on the bottom of the ring because this will be the top when it is un-molded.
  • Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  • Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it stand.

For the icing:

  • Meanwhile, melt the 8 ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler or saucepan on the stove top over low heat. Slide the ring off the cake and turn it upside down onto a cake wire.
  • Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and smooth the top and sides using a palette knife.
  • Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature.
  • Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where the chocolate has stuck it to the cake wire and lift it onto a tea plate.
  • Melt the remaining 1 ounce of chocolate and use to decorate the top of the cake.