When I go to a restaurant I always look at the desserts in the menu. Even if I don’t plan to order one, I do my little check and make my conclusions. But especially in my country so many times when I decide to have a dessert
which happens way too often, I find a very uninspired selection. For example a dessert called “Homemade Biscuit Cake with Mascarpone” is present in innumerous restaurant menus here. I guess the reason for this “biscuit cake addiction” is that lots of people enjoy eating sweets that remind them of their grandmothers’ desserts. But what does “homemade” mean? Made in the house of the pastry chef?…
I have tried 2-3 times such pieces of the traditional confectionery (as the name implies) but they never fascinated me too much. In my opinion most of these restaurant cakes are way too sweet and heavy. The combination of chocolate spread (Nutella or other similar) + mascarpone + biscuits is always tasty, but do you need to feel like a fat ball after eating a piece? Not necessarily.
I used to make biscuit cakes with an instant pudding mix (which is practically cornstarch with flavouring) cooked in milk. Pudding is not as incredibly tasty as mascarpone but this is the traditional cake of my grandmother and of many other Bulgarian grandmothers. Of course I like mascarpone and all food that comes from Italy, and I am also very open to new ideas in the kitchen (especially when they are related to desserts). For that reason I decided to make a little experiment: to prepare three biscuit cakes combining pudding, mascarpone, chocolate and jam and to evaluate the result.
The three icebox cakes were made with the same ingredients and the same cookies. The main difference were their fillings: ingredients and proportions.
Cake 1: Vanilla pudding and chocolate
Cake 2: Pudding, mascarpone and blueberry jam
Cake 3: Pudding, mascarpone, chocolate and blueberry jam
On the next day I did my formal “cake tasting” with the participation of three people (me, my better half and my mom). It was followed by an informal one (the neighbours of my mom).
Results from the first tasting:
– All the cakes were delicious.
– All the cakes had creamy texture, not excessive sweetness and nice biscuit taste.
– Surprisingly there was not a big difference in the tastes of the three cakes, however Cake 3 had slightly richer taste and consistency
– It was not easy for the participants to make a choice which cake they liked most, therefore a winner was not selected.
– Cake 1 was not as creamy as the others due to the lack of mascarpone. However the white chocolate in the pudding made its taste sufficiently rich.
The informal tasting had only one result: “Very tasty, especially one of them”. I am still trying to find out the winner here 🙂
Conclusion: these biscuit cakes are incredibly easy and quick to prepare. They are also very delicious. I recommend you to make them and to taste a piece of each one at the same time: you will have quite a delightful moment.
If you want to check some more ice box cake recipes, here is a short selection:
Triple taste icebox cake
- 300 g rectangular plain cookies , or graham crackers
- 100 g rectangular cocoa cookies
- 1 pack instant vanilla pudding mix, for 500 ml milk
- 700 ml whole milk, 500 ml for the pudding and 200 ml to soak the biscuits
- 3 tbs sugar
- 50 g white chocolate
- 500 g mascarpone
- 3 tbs confectioners sugar
- 4 tbs blueberry jam
- 4 tbs chocolate spread, Nutella or similar
- Combine the pudding powder with 1 tbs sugar and 100 ml milk. Bring 400 ml milk to boil together with 2 tbs sugar. When it starts simmering remove the pan from the stove and add the pudding mix. Stir well and return to the fire for few more minutes. Whisk continuously to avoid burning. When the pudding gets thicker, remove the pan from the stove and add the white chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts in the pudding. Cover the pan with a lid and let cool for about half an hour before assembling the cake (don’t leave it too long because it will get very thick).
- Combine mascarpone with confectioners sugar and mix until homogeneous.
- In a rectangular pan arrange 1 layer cocoa cookies, lightly soaked in cold milk. Cover with 1 tablespoon Nutella (you can heat it a bit for easier spreading). Spread evenly from the prepared vanilla pudding on top. Arrange a second layer, this time with plain cookies/ crackers soaked in milk. Cover with some more pudding. Continue with another layer of soaked cocoa cookies, then chocolate, pudding and a forth layer of plain cookies. Spread evenly some more pudding on top.
- Combine the sweetened mascarpone with 2-3 spoons of the pudding (just to dilute the mascarpone a bit as it is very thick and not easy to spread).
- In a rectangular pan arrange 1 layer white plain cookies soaked in milk. Cover with 1 tbs blueberry jam. Spread half of the remaining pudding on top. Arrange another layer plain cookies and spread some mascarpone mix on top. Place a third layer of soaked cookies, then blueberry jam and the rest of the pudding. Finish with a fourth cookie layer and cover with some mascarpone mix.
- In a rectangular pan arrange 1 layer white plain cookies soaked in milk. Cover with 1 tbs blueberry jam and spread 1/4 of the remaining mascarpone on top. Continue with another layer of cookies, cover with chocolate spread and another 1/4 of the mascarpone mix. Arrange 2 more layers the same way (one with jam on top and one with chocolate).
- Let the cakes stay in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.
- I made the 3 cakes in one big pan because I didn’t have small ones. I divided the pan in three parts and arranged the cakes one next to another. If you decide to do the same, first estimate how the biscuits should be arranged, considering their size and the pan size.
- About 1/2 of the pudding should be used for Cake 1. If your crackers/ cookies are relatively thin, you can make 5 layers instead of four. Spread chocolate over some of the layers but not on all.
- You can use graham crackers for this recipe and skip the cocoa cookies/ crackers. Any kind of hard, rectangular cookies are suitable for this recipe.