• Chocolate fudge cake (Donna Hay)Source: Donna Hay

This luxurious fudge cake is sweetened naturally with dates and maple syrup, and is even gluten-free.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (509 votes)

There’s no flour in this indulgent chocolate cake – but as you can see, it holds its shape beautifully, and topped off with a rich chocolate frosting, it makes a perfect birthday cake. The secret to the texture is an easy one: a light hand when combing a chocolate-butter-date mixture and a fluffy whisked egg-sugar mixture. “We've got one thick fudgy chocolate-y mix here and one fluffy light-as-air mix,” Hay explains. “So we don't take out all the air bubbles that we put in [by whisking], you just need to add about a third [of the egg mixture].” Gently stirring in a few big spoonfuls of the light, airy egg-sugar mix loosens the other mixture, making it easy to then add the rest.


  • 200 g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (75 g) raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 10 soft fresh dates (200g), pitted
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) maple syrup
  • 6 eggs 
  • ½ cup (70 g) coconut sugar
  • 1 cup (120 g) almond meal (ground almonds)

Fluffy frosting

  • ½ cup (120 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (240 g) fresh firm ricotta
  • ½ cup (70 g) coconut sugar
  • ⅓ cup (35 g) raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a 20cm round springform cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the butter and vanilla in a small saucepan. Using a sifter or sieve, sift in the cacao. Place the pan over low heat and stir with a spatula until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  3.  Place the dates and maple in a food processor and top with the cooled butter mixture. Process until smooth, then transfer to a big bowl, scraping the mixture in with a spatula.
  4. Break the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar and whisk on high speed for 6–7 minutes or until tripled in volume (it’s ready when the whisk is lifted and a thick ribbon of mixture holds its shape on top for a moment).
  5. Add one-third of the egg mixture to the bowl with the chocolate mixture. Using your spatula, gently fold it in to combine. Add the almond meal and the remaining egg mixture and gently fold to combine.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping the sides of the bowl, and bake for 55 minutes or until set (if tested, a skewer won’t come out clean – this clever cake gets fudgier in the middle as it cools). Wearing oven gloves, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the fluffy frosting. Place the cream cheese and ricotta in the (cleaned and dried) food processor and process until smooth. Add the sugar, cacao and vanilla and pulse until combined. Transfer to a medium bowl, scraping the mixture in with a spatula, and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  8. Release the cooled cake from its tin and place onto a cake stand or serving plate. Using a palette knife, spread the top and sides of the cake with the fluffy frosting and slice to serve.


This recipe is from Donna Hay: Basics to Brillance Kids on SBS Food (Channel 33). Stream episodes via SBS On Demand