Birthdays deserve to be celebrated with something sweet. It’s generally cake but I didn’t want the typical frosted cake for mine. Our daughter had planned to bake one for me but she was a bit unwell. So I decided make myself a Bolo De Bolacha Maria.
Bolo De Bolacha Maria loosely translates as Cake of Maria biscuits, and is a biscuit cake. It is not your typical oven baked cake but a no-bake refrigerator cake. The Portuguese brought their cuisine with them to Goa. These took on Goan identities when the local Catholics adopted and adapted them. The Bolo De Bolacha Maria is one of them. This Marie Biscuit Cake is similar to the Italian Tiramisu. It is made of alternate layers of Marie biscuits dunked in coffee and a creamy buttercream.
The Marie biscuit was created by a London bakery in the 1870s to commemorate the marriage of the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia to the Duke of Edinburgh. It became popular throughout Europe and later in its colonies too. They’re called Maria biscuits in some parts of the world including Portugal. Marie biscuits are tea biscuits which means they don’t become soggy when dunked in tea. They’re also not very sweet and very mild flavoured. It is a very popular tea time biscuit in India, and we also make quite a few desserts with them.
We in India, tend to tease the Parsis about their love for eggs. It seems the same with the Portuguese and their Sobremesa or desserts. Most Portuguese desserts tend to depend very heavily on eggs and the traditional version is no different. The Goan version of this cake is usually egg free. I make that version but with a whipped buttercream. The buttercream can be flavoured with just vanilla extract, or you can add a little unsweetened cocoa powder. These are the usual flavours used, but you can use anything that works well with coffee.
You can make this cake free form, which is without a cake tin. You stack the biscuits one on top of another in a circle with one stack of biscuits in the centre also. It will look like a free standing flower shaped cake. I prefer to make it in a cake tin as the cake will never accidentally tilt over! I would suggest using thin layers of buttercream so you don’t get an uncomfortable large mouth full of buttercream in every bite of cake. However ensure that the biscuit layers are adequately covered.
My version is an 8” cake that is 6 layers of biscuits. This refrigerator cuts into about 12 slices.