Gay Cook’s Nanaimo Square birthday cake

Nanaimo Bar birthday cake

Gay Cookby Gay Cook

This is a birthday cake I made for my grand-daughter’s ninth birthday with a request for nanaimo squares. So I built them on top of a chocolate almond cake. The lit candles were set in the squares so she could blow them out. It was a success!! 

Nanaimo Squares

 These are the classic Canadian squares that I made into my nine year old granddaughter’s birthday cake, which she requested. I baked a chocolate cake for the base then built up the tier of squares with lighted candles to finish off the birthday cake. It was a winner for her birthday party. I made two changes to the original recipe by request. I left out the coconut and chopped nuts in the base.

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) butter
  • 1/4 (60 ml) sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) cocoa
  • 1 large, roam-range egg
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
  • 2 cups (500 ml) graham cracker crumbs
  • Butter 9X9-inch (20×20 cm) pan
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) room temperature butter
  • 2 cups (50 ml) icing sugar                                                                                                
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) custard powder
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) hot water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
  • 2 sq. unsweetened chocolate

1.   In saucepan, melt butter then stir in sugar with cocoa. Remove from stove and beat in egg, vanilla and graham cracker crumbs. Press mixture into bottom of buttered pan. Chill.

2.   In mixing bowl, combine butter, icing sugar, custard powder butter and hot water. Beat until smooth. Spread over chilled mixture. Return to refrigerator. This sets quickly.

3.   Gently melt butter and chocolate. Spread over top. Chill.

4.   Cut into small cubes or bars.

 Chocolate Almond Cake

  •  1/2 cup (125 ml) almonds with or without skins 
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour or cornstarch (gluten free)
  • 6 oz (150 g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) whiskey, brandy or strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 roam-free eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • Pinch salt

1.   Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan and butter the sides.

2.   Spread almonds on bake sheet and roast 10 – 12 minutes and nut aroma rises. Pulverize the nuts in a food processor to make 1Ž2 cup (125 ml). Combine nuts with the flour or cornstarch. Reserve.

3.   In small saucepan, melt butter over low heat and stir in chocolate to melt; stir until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in whiskey, brandy or coffee until mixture is smooth. In beater, beat the sugar and yolks until thick and lemon colored. Stir in chocolate mixture and the almond/flour mixture.

4.   Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gently fold in chocolate and nut mixture using a spatula for folding until evenly mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. To test doneness, lightly press finger on the centre top; it should be soft but firm. Let cake stand 10 minutes; then unmould onto cooling rack to cool. Spread on glaze allowing it to drip down the sides; use a spatula to smooth top and sides. Decorate the sides with slivered almonds and place fresh raspberries around the top edge.