The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

From Annabel Langbein

Ask people what’s in this deliciously moreish brownie and they’ll never guess my secret ingredient – dates. As well as making it extra-rich and moist, the dates make it a whole lot better for you than the everyday brownie, adding a healthy quotient of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and essential nutrients such as iron. Some dates are much drier and harder than others so may take longer to soak and become soft.

Prep time: 10 mins + standing

Cook time: 50 mins

Makes: 30 pieces

· 2 cups chopped dates

· 1 tsp baking soda

· ¾ cup boiling water

· 200g finely diced butter, at room temperature

· 4 eggs

· 2 tsp vanilla extract

· 2 cups caster sugar

· 1 cup dark cocoa, sifted

· 1 cup flour

· ½ tsp baking powder

· 250g chocolate chips or dark chocolate cut into small chunks

Preheat oven to 160°C and line a 30cm x 24cm slice tin with baking paper.

Put dates in a large bowl, add baking soda and boiling water and stir to combine. Add finely diced butter and stir until melted. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.

Mash softened dates with a fork to break them up to a creamy consistency. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
Stir in the sugar, then add the cocoa, flour and baking powder and stir until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.

Smooth into prepared tin and bake until it is set in the middle and begins to come away from the sides of the tin (about 50 minutes). Cool before cutting into squares. Stored in a sealed container it will keep for a couple of weeks.

Published in: on June 18, 2013 at 09:42  Leave a Comment  



So this cake/ dessert is a long-time favourite from Strawberry Fare (yummy dessert restaurant in chch). I decided to give it a whirl and the results were tasty but not quite restaurant quality….. I’d suggest doubling the amount of raspberry mixture to get 2 good layers and don’t over mix the white choc mix or it will curdle (oops). Apart from that make sure you have other things to do in between as it takes a while to get through all the layers – but the results are worth it!

Chocolate Sponge
4 eggs separated
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
(gluten free may be substituted)
50g corn flour
25g cocoa
20 mls warm water
Raspberry Mixture
150gm raspberries
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp sugar
20mls water

Dark chocolate layer
300g choc chips
100g Belgian choc
600 mls chilled cream

White chocolate layer
125 g white Belgium choc
75g white buttons
300 mls cream

Chocolate Ganache
150 g chocolate chips
40 g Belgium chocolate
130 mls cream


You will only need a thin layer of chocolate sponge for the base. The recipe below will make a full height sponge so the remainder of the sponge will freeze well or simply cover with whipped cream, berries and drizzle over chocolate ganache for another quick and yummy treat.

Preheat oven to 180.C fanbake.
Line 24cm high sided tin with paper on sides and bottom

Chocolate Sponge
Beat egg whites until thick, add sugar and beat until dissolved. Add yolks, beat again. With beater on low add dry ingredients quickly. Turn off beater and add warm water. Hand mix to finish. Pour the sponge mixture into paper lined tin and bake at 180 for 20 mins, rotate in oven and bake for 20 mins more. When sponge is cool remove paper and cut horizontally a layer about 1.5 cm thick. Re line tin with more paper on the bottom only and place the layer of the sponge back into the tin on the paper.

Dark chocolate layer
Melt both chocolate chips and Belgian chocolate in microwave in 20 sec bursts, stirring between heating, until melted & combined and set aside to cool slightly. In large glass jug microwave chilled cream for 30 secs Pour into beater bowl, beat cream on medium speed until just thickening Quickly beat in melted choc. Turn beater off and finish mixing with spatula. Spread half of the chocolate mixture evenly over sponge and put in fridge.

Raspberry Mixture
Bring raspberries and sugar to boil in a pot. Mix cornflour and water together and add to raspberries, mix well, bring back to boil stirring all the time. Boil for 2 mins, remove from heat and let mixture cool. Spread half the raspberry mixture over choc layer and put back in fridge.

White chocolate layer
Melt both white chocolate chips and white Belgian chocolate in microwave in 20 sec bursts, stirring between heating, until melted & combined and set aside to cool slightly. In large glass jug microwave chilled cream for 20 secs Pour into beater bowl, beat cream on medium speed until just thickening Quickly beat in melted choc. Turn beater off and finish mixing with spatula. Spread half of the white chocolate mixture evenly over raspberry layer and put in fridge.

Spread remainder of raspberry mix over white choc layer and then the remainder of dark choc mix over that.

Chocolate Ganache
Mix together chocolate chips, Belgian chocolate and cream. Microwave for approximately 30 secs and stir until combined and glossy

Pour the ganache over top chocolate layer and put your finished Devils Dream Cake in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Remove from fridge, slide off the sides of the tin and remove bottom of tin and paper. Do this very carefully. Ease your Devils Dream Cake onto a tray or large plate. Cut with very hot large knife. It is important to clean your knife between each cut with a hot damp cloth. This is great served with raspberry sauce, fresh whipped cream and some seasonal berries.

[categories Chocolate, Dessert]

Published in: on October 24, 2012 at 15:00  Leave a Comment  

Orange and Almond Cake

Here’s a modified version of a recipe from the book ‘Better Cooking: A Year in the Kitchen’. A not-too-sweet cake for the citrusophiles among us (althought the orange flavour is pretty mild). A tangy Cointreau syrup may make this even better.


  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 120 g ground almonds
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 140 ml olive oil
  • Juice and finely grated rind from two large oranges
  • 80 g blanched almonds

Heat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line with baking paper a deep, round tin (about 20 cm diameter). Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and combine with the ground almonds and sugar.

Add the eggs, oil, orange juice and zest and mix until combined and smooth. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth before decorating with the blanched almonds. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Stand on a wire rack before removing cake from the tin. Serve with lashings of thick cream or good vanilla yoghurt and wash down with a nice cup of tea.

[categories Orange, Almonds]

Published in: on October 10, 2012 at 20:43  Leave a Comment  

German Christmas chocolate cake with rum

or “Gewürzschnitten”

Although confusing enough for a Northern Hemispherer the weather is becoming less and less Christmassy, a Christmas cake still seemed appropriate. It took a long time for more than 2 hungry cake clubbers to arrive, and even then with several Germanic expats there was lots of cake left, to the delight of the German partner of the baker.

Ingredients for a huge cake (photo shows approximately 1 fifth of the total cake …):

· 300 g melted chocolate (preferably dark)

· 300 g butter

· 300 g sugar

· 8 eggs

· several tablespoons of a mixture of: cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, ginger, cardamom and a whiff of white pepper.

· 250 g flour

· 1 tablespoon baking powder

· rum

· 200 g chocolate for the icing

· icing sugar

Melt chocolate and butter and combine in a large bowl with sugar, eggs, rum (a good shot), spices, baking powder and flour. Mix thoroughly.

Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at ~175-200 Celsius for 25 minutes.

Take cake out of the tray straight away and while it is still warm melt more chocolate and pour over the cake. When ready to serve dust with icing sugar.

Photos courtesy of Amy!

[categories Chocolate, Alcohol, Slice, Spice]

Published in: on October 2, 2012 at 07:45  Leave a Comment  

Zuger Kirschtorte

Katarina treated everyone to a boozy experience with Zuger Kirschtorte, a beetroot pink delight that tasted exquisite. The 200 ml of kirsch that made the flavour so good undoubtedly contributed to some inspired work in the hour or two after morning tea, but cake clubbers who went back for seconds (and there were many) would probably benefit from a pint of rehydrating water afterwards. Katarina confessed that several hours hard work went into this creation, for which she earns the Most Hardworking Baker Award, as well as being a contender for Most Lurid Cake of 2012.

It is with relief that we are able to link to the recipe for Zuger Kirschtorte in English, at, else you would all have been translating from Swiss German. (This is easier before you have finished the bottle of kirsch.)

Nut Layer

4 egg whites
1/2 cup powdered sugar (125g)
1/2 cup hazelnuts , ground (100g)
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold in half (1/4 cup) powdered sugar.

Combine the remaining sugar, nuts and cornstarch, then fold this into the stiff egg whites.

Bake two layers from the mixture, using a spring form. at 350F for 10-15 minutes. Trace 2 circles on parchment using the 9 or 8” spring form Place the parchment on a baking sheet, then divide the batter between the 2 circles and lightly smooth to the lines of the circle then bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes. This is like a large macaroon and should be dry when done.

Biscuit Layer

3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/3 cup powdered sugar (75g)
1/2 cup flour (50g)
1/2 cup cornstarch (50g)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 lemon , the zest of

In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with 3 Tbsp warm water until creamy then add ¼ cup of powered sugar.

In a medium bowl beat the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup sugar until stiff.

Fold the egg whites into the yolks and add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and lemon zest to make a batter.

Using the same sized spring form as for the nut layer, grease or line with parchment then add batter.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.

Butter Cream

2/3 cup butter (150g)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (150g)
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons kirsch

Beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and egg yolk and lastly the Kirsch. Divide into 3 portions.


4 tablespoons kirsch
1/2 cup hazelnuts , chopped (125g)
1 cup powdered sugar (100g)

Let all the layers cool.

Spread 1/3 of the butter cream on the nut layer. Stack the biscuit layer on top.

Sprinkle the biscuit layer with Kirsch then spread on the next 1/3 butter cream .

Lay the second nut layer on top.

Spread the remaining butter cream on top and on sides.

Sprinkle the sides with nuts and decorate the top with powdered sugar.

Published in: on January 26, 2012 at 14:53  Leave a Comment  


After a little shake up on 4th September consisting of an unexpected 7.1 earthquake under Canterbury followed by one or two mild aftershocks, Cake Club was momentarily postponed due to the site tea room being inconveniently closed for business. Fortunately the building was cleared for use during tea breaks and the hungry clubbers bounced back quickly, rearranging sugar-time for a different day. Gareth provided Baklava to console those with less than perfect brickwork and newly installed sand (and silt) pits in their living rooms, and this very sweet treat went very well with water boiled carefully for three minutes before turning into tea. His report will follow shortly.

Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 20:06  Leave a Comment