My Little Chequered Kitchen

Simple Desserts

Easy go-to chocolate cake …

Chocolate Cake 1

Everyone needs their own go-to chocolate cake recipe.  One that you almost know how to cook without following the recipe, and one that is easy to make, never fails, and covers all bases.  This recipe is my go-to chocolate recipe.  It’s not too moist, not too dry, incredibly simple to throw together, and seemingly impossible to get it wrong.  You can cut it in half and fill it with jam and cream, or slather the whole thing in sickly sweet butter cream icing.  Annabel Langbein drizzles hers with chocolate ganache.  My favourite, however, is simply dusting it with icing sugar and eating it as is.  Each to their own I say …

Chocolate Cake 4

You can easily make this cake using simply a wooden spoon and a large mixing bowl. But I like to throw everything into the food processor and blitz for a couple of seconds and then voila it’s done. Just make sure that the butter has been properly incorporated in the mixture.  If you butter isn’t soft enough, then you might want to break it up first into smaller pieces before adding to the rest of the ingredients and blitzing.   

If you’d like to see the original recipe on Annabel Langbein’s website, including a video watching her make it, then click here.  Interestingly enough, when I met Annabel in Amsterdam earlier this year, she told me that this recipe (The Ultimate Chocolate Cake) is one of her most popular and sought after recipes.  Once you’ve made it, you’ll understand why. 

Chocolate Cake 3


“The thing about cooking is … just to remember its about giving pleasure to people its not about being judged.” 

- Nigella Lawson, College Tour 2013, Amsterdam

Chocolate Cake 2


Easy go-to chocolate cake
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
1 cup milk or unsweetened yoghurt
3 large eggs
1½ tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour (tarwebloem)
4½ tsp baking powder (bakpoeder)
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda, sifted
200g butter, softened
1 cup boiling hot coffee
Pull out your butter well in advance so that it softens in time.
Heat oven to 160°C.
Using a 30cm round cake tin or 2 x 20cm round cake tins, grease the sides and line the base with baking paper.
Put all the ingredients into a food processor (preferably in the order as listed so that you don't scramble the eggs with the boiling hot coffee) and blitz until the ingredients are combined and the butter is fully incorporated (if your butter isn't soft enough then you can break it up into small pieces before blitzing). If you don't have a food processor, then you can mix the ingredients together by hand in a large bowl.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin or tins.
Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a cake rack.
You can dust the cake with icing sugar and eat while sill warm or leave it to cool completely before icing. This cake will keep for about a week in a sealed container in the fridge. You can also freeze it uniced.
Eet Smakelijk!!
Monique xx
Approximate WeightWatchers Propoints Value per slice: 6 (when making two smaller cakes)
Adapted from The Ultimate Chocolate Cake
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Decadent Chocolate Self-Saucing Puddings …

If I combine the words “childhood, winter, food”, I come up with “Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding”.  This wasn’t something reserved for birthdays, Christmas, or any other special occasion.  This was a good, hearty pudding that Mum would make for my two older brothers and I a few times every winter.  It’s incredibly simple to make, and nowadays I often rustle it up impromptu after the dinner mess has been cleared up, and mostly at the spontaneous request of Meneer Prins.


There are many recipes out there for Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding.  I personally like this combination of ingredients inspired by Alison Holst’s slow cooker recipe as it contains a relatively small amount of fat, plus using oil rather than butter means that it’s just as good when reheated the following day (in fact it might taste even better!). It makes a wickedly fudgy yet light cake, and the real chocolate gives it a richness and decadence.  


If I do know that I’ll be cooking this ahead of time, then I’ll throw it in the slow cooker for a couple of hours on high.  But the problem is that I normally never plan to make this pudding, and so more often than not I’ll bung the mixture into individual dishes as pictured.  The advantage of this is that you’ll get a nice crunchy top to the fudgy cake underneath, as well as a fair share of the sauce. In the oven at 180 degree celcius, these little beauties only take about 25-30 minutes.   

Decadent Chocolate Self-saucing Puddings
Serves 6
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1 cup flour (tarwebloem)
1 1/2 tspn baking powder (bakpoeder)
1/2 cup sugar (kristalsuiker)
1/4 cup cocoa (cacaopoeder)
1/4 tspn salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or even better, canola oil)
1 tbspn vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or chopped up dark chocolate)
for the sauce
1 cup brown sugar (basterdsuiker)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (cacaopoeder)
2 cups boiling water
Turn the oven on to 180 degree Celsius.
Start boiling your water.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
Whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, oil, vanilla) in a separate smaller bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients and the chocolate chips into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined.
TIP: As in all cake batters that contain flour, if you mix it too much, then you overwork the gluten in the flour which will make the cake tougher.
Spoon the batter evenly into four individual ovenproof dishes that are sitting on an oven tray or roasting dish (makes it easier to pull them in and out of the oven).
To make the sauce, combine the boiled water with the cocoa and sugar and pour gently over the top of the batter.
Chuck your puddings into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to check if they are cooked - the skewer should come out clean. If it's covered in wet batter, then it needs to be cooked a little longer.
When ready, dust the puddings with some icing sugar (poedersuiker) and serve.
Eet Smakelijk!!
Monique xx
Approximate WeightWatchers ProPoints Value per serve: 15
Adapted from Alison Holst
Adapted from Alison Holst
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Forest Fruits Macaroon Tart …

Fruit of the Forest Coconut Tart Border

I just love having friends over for lazy Sunday afternoons follwed by dinner.  For me it’s the perfect time to entertain.  After devouring a good ol’ Roast Lamb (imported from New Zealand no less) with roasted potatoes and kumara (sweet potatoes) we then got stuck into this incredible tart, which is fast becoming a staple favourite of ours.  If you are a coconut lover, then read on!

This tart can be as difficult or as easy as you want to make it.  If you use pre-made Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (or a bought sweet pastry shell) then it’s seriously one of the most easiest tarts you could think of making.  However, I’m never satisfied with bought pastries (unless I really am in a hurry) and so I recommend that you try making the pastry as well.  My own family recipe for Sweet Shortcrust Pastry which was handed down through the generations will follow in a later blog.

The secret to this tart is the coconut macaroon filling, which I found in “The Best of Annabel Langbein – Great Food for Busy Lives” (Available on Amazon).  There is no butter or eggs in this macaroon recipe, only sugar melted in cream with coconut added thereafter.  It makes for an easy-to-make and deliciously light and moist macaroon filling.  Moreover, a macaroon filling is also incredibly versatile.  My favourite is mixing it with different berries, especially juicy blackberries and raspberries. But it would be equally delicious with summer fruits or any fruit combination.  I’m keen to learn what your favourite fruit combination is!

Forest Fruits Tart

Forest Fruits Macaroon Tart
Serves 16
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3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cream
1 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
3-4 cups of fresh mixed berries (or other fruit of your choice)
1 partially-baked Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Shell
Pour the sugar and cream into a medium-sized pot and warm on the stovetop over a medium heat. Keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved (you can tell if the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers to see if it's smooth and all the grittiness has disappeared. But be careful as the mixture can get hot). You should find that the sugar dissolves fairly quickly.
Next, take the pot off the heat and leave to cool (10 minutes should do the trick).
Once cooled mix the coconut into the sugar and cream.
Finally, mix in the fruit until it is just combined and spoon the mixture into the prepared pastry shell.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
This tart is best eaten once it has cooled. Serve with whipped cream on the side.
Approx. WeightWatchers ProPoints (per serve): 8
Adapted from Annabel Lanbein's Macaroon Berry Tart from her cookbook "The Best of Annabel Langbein - Great Food for Busy Lives"
My Little Chequered Kitchen