I don't know about you, but our family avoids using the oven in the summer because the last thing you need during a heatwave is more heat! This was especially true during our summer vacation in Jordan, where growing up, there was no AC and we all crowded around the fan for what little cold air it blew our way. But, with all of the gatherings and free time, we constantly wanted to make desserts and so everyone in Jordan and the Middle East, in general, would switch from warm and comforting desserts to quick and easy cold desserts you put together and stick in the fridge to set. These are some of my favourite desserts and out of all of them, I think my absolute favourite had to be lazy cake! It was easy, fast and delicious with, as you can tell by the name, little to no effort!
Lazy cake was one of the few recipes my grandmother would let us make unsupervised, as it really could not have been easier to make, and even better, there were barely any dishes to clean afterwards. We would mix all the ingredients together, pour it onto some aluminium foil and roll it up into a sausage and keep in the freezer for a couple of hours – overnight if we were super patient, which we rarely were! Variations of this cake, and I do use the word "cake" very loosely here, are made across the Middle East, and it is known in Turkiye as "mosaic cake". It is actually the perfect name for it because when you cut into the cake, the cookies look like little mosaic tiles.
Making this could not be easier. I like mine to be mainly cookies held together by the chocolate mixture, but you can definitely tweak the ratios to your liking and use fewer cookies. I also do not like mine to be very sweet but, again, you can add as much sugar as you like. If you have trouble finding ishta, you can use extra thick double cream, but it would need a little more time to set in the freezer. Traditionally, the mixture is poured onto a piece of aluminium foil and wrapped up into a log, then cut into rounds to serve, but I like to press it into an aluminium-lined loaf tin for a bit more shape. Leave it for 2-4 hours or overnight and enjoy this crunchy chocolatey dessert that is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth without overheating!
350-450 g tea cookies (Rich Tea or Marie cookies work great)
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar or to taste
1 tbsp butter, room temp
1 can ishta
1 cup milk
- In a large bowl, break up your cookies into medium to small pieces, about the size of hazelnuts or almonds. The number of cookies you use and how small you break them is according to preference, I like my cookies to be chunky and crispy, so I keep them in the bigger size and use more of them.
- In a pot, melt the butter and add the sugar, cocoa powder and milk and mix until fully incorporated and melted.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the cookies and mix well, then add the ishta and mix until incorporated.
- Pour mixture onto a lightly greased sheet of aluminium and either roll into a sausage or place in a loaf tin and cover well, making sure all of the cake is covered. Freeze for 2-4 hours or until it holds together. Slice and enjoy!