What is a Tiffin cake? I admit, until I discovered this recipe, I had never heard of it either. A Tiffin cake is a form of cake-like confection composed of crushed biscuits (most commonly digestive biscuits), sugar, syrup, raisins, cherries and cocoa powder, often covered with a layer of melted chocolate. Unlike regular cakes, Tiffins do not require baking. Instead, following preparation of the mixture, the confection is chilled until set. As a consequence the product may also be known as “fridge cake” or another similar term. It was invented in the early 1900s in Troon, Scotland, by the Cadbury Chocolate company. The name Tiffin comes from an Indian term, back when the English had a large stronghold in India. The word Tiffin was used to denote the British custom of afternoon tea that had been supplanted by the Indian practice of having a light meal at that hour. It is derived from “tiffing”, an English colloquial term meaning to take a little drink.
I didn’t set out to make a Tiffin cake, especially since I had no idea what one even was. I was just looking for something different to add to my Church coffee cart. I like to offer a variety of yummy goodies and nibblies for everyone to enjoy. But once I found the recipe, it was something that just sounded very intriguing to me, and I had to make it. It was a surprisingly big hit too. One lady kept coming back for more and more. That works for me. We all like it when people enjoy the foods that we serve, especially when people come back for more. It makes our day. After all, we are making foods to share.
I did not have enough graham crackers, so my Tiffin cake was a bit more like fudge that what it was supposed to be, but no one complained and everyone enjoyed it all the same, and that is really all that counts.
Just like so many of my favorite recipes, the ingredients were simple, everyday items we all have on hand. I did not add the golden raisins this time around either. I love raisins, especially golden raisins, but I am finding out that a lot of people, Larry included, are just not big raisin fans, so I chose to leave them out; this time.
Chocolate Tiffin Cake
14 oz graham crackers or vanilla wafers, broken into pieces
2/3 cups golden raisins or sultanas
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup cherries, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks
8 1/2 oz dark chocolate or chocolate ganache
1/3 cup + 1 TBSP maple syrup, honey or golden syrup
5 TBSP butter
Generously spread butter all over a 9×13 baking dish then line with parchment paper.
Place the graham crackers into a plastic bag and beat with a rolling pin until they are broken into pieces. You do not want them into crumbs.
Add the cherries, raisins, chocolate chips and pecans and mix together thoroughly.
I already had some chocolate ganache made, so that is what I used. I melted it all down with the butter and maple syrup.
Once everything is melted together, pour it all into the fruit and graham cracker mixture and combine well.
Then evenly spread it out onto the parchment paper.
Cover and refrigerate for about 24 hours and let it all set. Once everything is set, place the whole dish in a bain marie or a warm water bath, so it is easier to remove. Then slice it up however you like. Because mine came out more like a very rich and decadent fudge, I cut my pieces into very small bite sized pieces and put them all in a paper baking cup, making them easier to handle.
I wasn’t sure how these would go over, but as I mentioned above, they actually went over very well indeed. I am already looking forward to making it again, though with more graham crackers, to see how it is actually supposed to turn out. But this way worked just fine too. Life is short. There is nothing wrong with starting off your day with a little dessert first.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.