Arretje nof – the simplest chocolate cake
Isn’t it funny how certain foods can transport you right back into your childhood? When I was a little kid I already loved to bake, but we never really got much further then the standard (but tasty!) apple pie and this Arretje Nof.. Now as far as I have been able to tell, this is a very typical and old fashioned Dutch cake. We used to make it for just about every kids party and I loved making it, as it was soooo simple and soooo good. I hadn’t thought about arretje nof in ages but when I was looking for Christmas desserts I ran into another recipe which reminded me of arretje nof. So I said something to Tom about it and he looked at me with one of those blank stares… “Arretje.. who???”
Turns out he never even heard of this!! So naturally I just had to make it again. It had been roughly 30 years ago that I last made this famous Dutch chocolate cake and I was a little curious where that weird name came from, which is also impossible to translate by the way…
Apparently Arretje is the name of a cartoon character that was invented by the Dutch Oil Factory (Nederlandse Olie Fabriek) later to be known to many as Calve. Arretje, a brave little Turkish boy, born and raised in Baghdad was featured in a series of 5 little booklets around the year 1926 (!) and was a big hit. In those books the company was only referred to with the letters NOF, so before you knew it; Arretje was called Arretje Nof.
I haven’t been able to find out why then this cake was called by that name but my guess is that it might have had something to do with the original ingredients which were deepfrying oil and I am guessing that mr. Calve produced that in those days.
I am happy to report that the frying oil has been replaced by butter, although technically I am not sure how much more healthy that is. This is a delicious cake and Tom had to agree even though he keeps calling it my Ivan Rebroff cake. It doesn’t require any baking; a few hours in the fridge is all you need and you can be sure that kids will absolutely love it (and so will grown ups by the way!) It’s almost like a firm chocolate mousse cake with crunchy biscuits in between. It’s about time that Arretje goes international!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs and 15 mins
- 4 eggs
- 250g sugar
- 125g cacao powder
- 375g butter (melted)
- 275g biscuits
|Let the butter melt very slowly on low heat. Break all the biscuits in small pieces. Line a cake tin with baking paper.|
|Mix the eggs and sugar together. Carefully add the cocoa powder through a sieve into the egg/sugar mixture. Pour in the melted butter. Do this one step at the time to make it easier to incorporate the butter into the mix. As soon as the butter is entirely incorporated into the mix add the biscuits and stir everything together so all biscuit pieces are coated with chocolate.
Put everything in the cake tin
|Put in the fridge and leave to stand at least 4 hours or preferably overnight to become solid enough to cut.|
You cannot substitute the butter in this recipe for oil as it is the butter that makes the cake 'set'. So substituting for oil will mean that the cake will never set and you'll have a liquid cake