How to make chocolate dessert cake

17 Nov


So the internet is awash with chocolate cake recipes. Dark chocolate cake. Flourless chocolate cake. Fudgy chocolate cake. Full fat with whipped cream chocolate cake. Low fat chocolate cakes. Mud cake. Chocolate and fruit/nuts/booze/ cake.

In my time I have baked and eaten many, many chocolate cakes. Many are not worthy of the time or calories. Often they are insipid. Or dry. Or forgettable.

This is the chocolate cake that you have been waiting for.


It is rich without being heavy. Moist without being wet (if you know what I mean). Best of all it is a super cinch to make. Not an overly attractive cake it is a true example of substance over style. It is an after-dinner cake for those with a sophisticated palate. Having said that Miss-only-just-turned-7 took a piece in her lunchbox recently and raved about it. So it is an intergenerational winner, obvs.

Serve it with cream. Ice cream. Custard. Or pair it, like I did, with another simple yet luxurious recipe: salted caramel sauce. Link is here:

This is an AWW recipe from many moons ago, found in my beloved Quick Mix Cakes book. I reduced the sugar.



1 cup chopped dried dates (use scissors as it is quicker than chopping)

250grams butter, diced

1 ¾ cups water

1/3 cup cocoa

1 2/3 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

¾ cup caster sugar

IMG_0256 IMG_0258


Grease a 19x29cm slice pan an cover with non-stick baking paper, extending 5cm above the top.

In a large saucepan mix together dates, butter, water, sugar and cocoa. Bring to the boil while stirring; ten simmer uncovered for five minutes.

Set aside to allow to cool to room temperature.

Stir flour and bicarb into mixture.

Pour into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Stand in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool.


65 Responses to “How to make chocolate dessert cake”

  1. Heidie Makes November 17, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    This looks so good, great post, I’m now super hungry! 😀

    • thehungrymum November 17, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks! I’m hungry, too #hungryByNameHungryByNature

  2. Frugal Hausfrau November 17, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    This looks scrumptious! I love the idea of the dates in this, and it looks so moist, simple and beautiful! The salted caramel sauce sure doesn’t hurt, either! 🙂

    • thehungrymum November 17, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      You are my number one cheerleader, Ms Frugal! Thank you! I’m actually not a fan of dates but they really work in this cake.

      • Frugal Hausfrau November 17, 2014 at 11:34 am #

        I love dates! I bet they just dissolve into nothing more than a moist, deep, rich flavor in this cake, though.

  3. moniquetheurbanmum November 17, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Superb; I love cake recipes with dates…they are so moist. Also really great that it seems like a slice/cake – brilliant for lunchboxes; picnics; and after dinner x

    • thehungrymum November 17, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks! This is a really versatile cake – I have sent it in lunchboxes, taken it to work to share with friends for morning tea, served as dessert… it always works!

  4. chewtown November 17, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    It really does sound like the perfect chocolate cake! Definitely want some of that sauce too.

    • thehungrymum November 17, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      It is the hardest working cake in my kitchen 🙂

  5. My Kitchen Stories November 17, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Yes its a goody . I know that cause it’s got dates in it . Very good looking cake there Mumma!

  6. My Kitchen Moments November 17, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Oh this chocolate cake looks and sounds delish!!

    • thehungrymum May 11, 2015 at 7:49 am #

      I’ll let you in o a secret – it really is!

  7. fashionforlunch November 17, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    so nice!

  8. docellen November 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    This cake looks easy and delicious. I agree about having lots of bad chocolate cake — I always order chocolate cake for dessert when I am out to dinner hoping I will finally have a great piece of chocolate cake, but this is never the case!. Insipid is the perfect word. I can’t wait to make your cake for my family. Thanks for sharing.

    • thehungrymum May 11, 2015 at 7:52 am #

      Easy & delish is my baking motto – ain’t got time for faffing about with complicated recipes and lots of steps! I now ask if desserts are made in-house before ordering – if not I don’t bother – bad cake isn’t worth the calories!

  9. Fourth Generation Farmgirl November 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    This looks so good! My husband LOVES chocolate, and this sounds like just the dessert for him. I will definitely try it soon. Great pictures, too! : )

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 7:52 am #

      Awww, ta! I hope you get a chance to make it for hubby (and ensure you sneak a slice, too!)

  10. MyKabulKitchen November 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    You wont believe it but one winter break I tried 8 different chocolate cake recipes and was unhappy with ALL of them until I finally tried a recipe from “Two Peas in a Pod” but I am excited to see your use of dates so I will have to try this one out as well 🙂

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 7:57 am #

      Eight! Wow, what a committed baker you are. It is so annoying when cakes are a let down, isn’t it? I love Two Peas in a Pod – their blog is so inspiring. Hope you love this cake.

  11. sarahgiebens November 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Sounds fantastic 😀

  12. trixpin November 17, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Very yum! I like the idea of using dates – I bet they make it super moist. And I reckon that with that sauce it actually looks very stylish 🙂

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 7:54 am #

      You’re right – the dates really do keep it so moist for ages. The sauce is the icing on the cake, as it were x

  13. apsara November 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    very unique recipe with no sugar!

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 7:57 am #

      There’s sugar in there 🙂

      • apsara November 19, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

        Yes, that’s true. 🙂 But it’s loaded with dates, I love it!

  14. cheergerm November 17, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Noice one Mrs H. Great inclusion of dates and knocking back the sugar. 😊

  15. Lilly Sue November 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    This looks like the perfect chocolate cake! Yum! You are so right that many can be so unforgettable but chocolate cake really should be simple and straight forward 🙂

  16. Gingerbread Jenn November 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    You have to stop doing this to me, you’re like my favourite person.

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 7:58 am #

      Hehehe! I’m on a mission to make everyone as hungry as me 🙂

  17. Horst November 18, 2014 at 1:33 am #

    Ahhh…dates… the jewels of Persia!
    You should try them on their own. Delicious!

    • thehungrymum November 18, 2014 at 9:10 am #

      Thanks Horst! Jewels of Persia, eh? V poetic 🙂

  18. Sammie November 18, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    A cake that is gorgeous in it’s simplicity! Sounds like a winner to me and to your little one!

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 7:58 am #

      Cheers Sammie – it is all you need and nothing you don’t.

  19. Liz November 18, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    what fun 🙂 Love that there are dates in here. Looks delicious and yes, we’re always searching for that perfect chocolate cake recipe. Yours just could be it!

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 8:01 am #

      Oooh, the pressure! Hope it lives up your expectations 🙂

  20. hotlyspiced November 18, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    I love how the cake has no sugar and is made with natural sugars from the date. I think it’s a great looking cake and that it would go so very well with a lovely pour of custard xx

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 8:00 am #

      There is sugar, I just reduced the amount from the original 🙂

  21. glutenfreehappytummy November 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    sounds positively perfect!!

  22. MealsWithMel November 18, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Yum this cake looks delicious!!!

  23. Margot @ Gather and Graze November 19, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    Always keen to try a new chocolate cake recipe! 🙂 I’m intrigued by the use of dates, which must add a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the flavour, without being overpowering. Another one of your delicious cakes I’m going to have to try HM… thanks so much for sharing!

    • thehungrymum November 19, 2014 at 8:00 am #

      Thanks Margot. It isn’t ‘date-y’, despite the dates, they sorta mush down and meld into the background while remaining moist. That doesn’t sound great, does it…?

  24. milkteaxx November 19, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    ooh the addition of chopped dates to make a nice chocolate cake sounds brilliant!

    • thehungrymum May 23, 2015 at 6:50 am #

      It doesn’t taste overally date-y, just adds a lovely moistness. Hate that word but it really does 😉

  25. kitchenriffs November 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    Oh, wow! This looks incredibly good! Terrific cake — thanks.

  26. Carolyn Page November 21, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    Yum! 🙂
    As are your images… 😉 😉

    • thehungrymum November 21, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      thanks Carolyn 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.

  27. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    Oh my, I love the chocolate in there and sweetened by pure goodness 🙂

  28. nepaliaustralian November 23, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    My husband will be over the moon if I can do this for him, Will try soon. Thank you 🙂

  29. annaethain November 24, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    That sauce looks amazing! SO glad l have discovered your blog 🙂

    • thehungrymum April 20, 2015 at 2:38 am #

      thanks! Hope you find something to make you hungry 😉

  30. Fran @ G'day Souffle' November 24, 2014 at 3:07 am #

    If ‘Miss 7’ likes this cake, it must be good!

  31. Sophie33 November 24, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Waw! A fantastic cake & that salted caramel sauce looks reammy awesome too! I love your inviting amazing pictures too! Another must make! yummmmmm!

    • thehungrymum November 24, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      So many kind words 🙂 Thanks Sophie, hope I’ve made you hungry!

      • Sophie33 November 24, 2014 at 9:30 am #

        ooh yes, but it is breakfast time over here!

      • thehungrymum November 24, 2014 at 10:11 am #

        hehehe! Cake is a great way to start the day #badInfluence

      • Sophie33 November 24, 2014 at 10:50 am #


  32. Carlee April 27, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    That looks delicious! I love chocolate, but chocolate cake is usually just meh! I am going to have to give this a try!

    • The Hungry Mum April 28, 2016 at 12:03 am #

      Cheers Carlee – this is really moist and dense, which is my kinda cake x

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