I’ve been wanting to make my mother’s biscuit cake for ever. This is a recipe passed on by her own mother, potentially going back even further to my great grandmother that happened to be Hungarian.
You see, I recently learned that Croatian heritage has only been in our family for a couple of generations – my parents and their parents. Prior to that it was Hungary, or when part of Yugoslavia was occupied and later annexed by Hungary. Prior to that, who knows?
It’s quite possible that my grandmother was influenced by Hungary’s own dobos torte, a cake comprised of very thin layers of sponge, chocolate buttercream and caramel.
And then there’s the espresso. Was she creating her own version of tiramisu?
Regardless of where its influences lay, the recipe has been in my mothers hands since she was 16 or 17 – and I had my fair share of it during my childhood.
Time to share the love.
Tea biscuits, or arrowroot-style biscuits are the key here; and they need to be rectangular in shape. And those of you in North America, these aren’t the bready scone-like biscuits you’re familiar with.
They may be crunchy to begin with, but once the biscuits are dunked into espresso and piled 7 layers high with the filling, they soften beautifully – yet keep their shape. This was my chance to borrow a Nespresso machine and use the stash of Gourmesso coffee capsules I was given to do this recipe.
As for that filling, it’s a cross between buttercream and a firm custard – thanks to the eggs that are cooked through it. The cake can sit at room temperature for a little while, but it does soften significantly as the cream warms.
Mum says it’s best if you let the cake sit in the fridge for a few days before serving it. Whilst I can’t dispute that, it still is pretty damn delicious after you’ve let it refrigerate overnight!