Easy Chocolate, Walnut and Date Meringue Cake

It’s in the news again. A new study has just revealed that substituting artificial sweetener for sugar and fruit leads to increased weight gain, cravings for carbohydrate and insomnia as well as a possible link to diabetes.

Torta di noce, cioccolata e dati.
Torta di noce, cioccolato e datteri.

In this latest study, fruit flies were fed artificial sweetener and afterwards, the flies consumed one-third more calories and one-third more food. They also found that artificial sweeteners promoted hyperactivity and insomnia. They concluded that if people eat sweeteners but do not actually get the equivalent amount of calories, they eat more food to make up for it. The increase in consumption of artificial sweeteners also coincided with the dramatic increase in the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Meringue cake with chocolate, dates and walnut
Meringue cake with chocolate, dates and walnut

I have never used artificial sweeteners and I don’t intend to soon. Fake foods worry me but then so does the the idea of eliminating sugar altogether from my diet. I’m wondering whether those who go ‘sugar free’ also behave like the fruit flies of the Sydney University study.

The cake in profile. Dense but light, not lite.

Once a week I make a cake. I get a couple of slices over a few days and the rest gets distributed to the hungry fruit fly visitors and family members. This cake covers any sugar cravings I might have for the week and contains a few healthy elements as well. The other bonus is that it only contains five ingredients and, once the ingredients are chopped, it can be thrown together in minutes. The dark chocolate adds rich notes, the nuts and dates add a healthy density and the lack of flour keeps it light.

The meringue cake just out of the oven.
The meringue cake just out of the oven.


  • 200g dates, chopped
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g walnuts, chopped
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter a 23 cm springform cake tin then line with baking paper on the bottom and sides. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff then gradually add the sugar until they become glossy and meringue-like. Gently fold in the nuts, dates and chocolate. Bake for about an hour. Cool and serve.

No fruit flies on me. The cake with cream.

Tip: The nuts and chocolate can be roughly chopped ( separately) in the food processor. Pulse and stop the machine as you go. The dates need to be chopped by hand.


37 thoughts on “Easy Chocolate, Walnut and Date Meringue Cake”

  1. A beautiful cake, Francesca… sadly, I am not baking much at all lately… Peter and I are on very strict eating plans… (we both needed to lose 20-30kg!)… makes it difficult being a food blogger (and reading delicious posts like this). Saving this for later xx


    1. Oh good luck with the weight loss. 30 kg is rather a lot to lose. I rarely eat cake but make one a week just to appease the masses and have a weekly treat. Avoiding anything labelled lite or food that is in any way processed is my answer. Cheese is something I use in moderation too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, this looks delicious. I don’t use artificial anything either. My husband, on the advice of his doctor, eats cholesterol lowering margarine. He used to tell me that he had run out and could I buy more. I refused, but he buys it himself anyway. I would go without a spread entirely rather than eat that rubbish.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I can too. I have suggested other things, but because his doctor suggested it, he eats it. I use butter or olive oil when I cook and he has such a tiny scrape of the garbage that I don’t worry too much about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I know how good this is, I posted the exact same recipe a few years ago!it was a cafe darling in the 90s. I have to comment about your plate too, I have an oddball collection I use for “best” including some of that exact same pattern. I don’t start me on replacement foods….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh really? I must find yours and do a link up. Those plates turned up on the hard rubbish. My son found them and I cleaned them up. I used to have some- he must have remembered the pattern

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t think I ever tried (knowingly), used, bought or considered artificial sweetener. Much prefer the moderation approach. This looks like a recipe to keep close at hand. Wish we still had hard rubbish collections, many happy memories of great finds. Maybe I should seek out areas having them and do a ‘tour’. 🙂


    1. My youngest son lives in an area where people just stick things out any old time- he is well trained in the art of scavenging, as are all my children. Our hard rubbish has gone now- you have to book it in once a year. But some councils still have them and touring with a like minded scavenger is the go.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve just made your ricotta, lemon, almond cake,Francesca, and I’m happy to report I didn’t stuff it up! It’s yum!! So this chocolate walnut cake is next on my list. I love to cook – and eat – but l’m not a confident cook – so when something is successful I feel a foot taller. I like Michael Pollan’s mantra “eat food, mostly plants, not too much” – but i’m sure he would approve of cake as a treat – and the ricotta lemon, almond recipe would surely count as healthy, happy treat. Mr Tranquillo is such a sport posing for that lovely bean soup post – it’s a lovely composition and we’ve just been given quite a lot of kale and tomatoes so bean soup is a project for the weekend. Many thanks for the pleasure, Francesca.


    1. Hi Jan, so pleased that the lemon ricotta cake went well for you. I love that expression of Michael Pollans- must adopt it, its so fitting really.
      Mr T is a kindly soul to go along with my mad schemes – once I get an idea in my head, that’s it! Kale and tomatoes- lucky one, sounds like a good base for a ribollita soup.


  6. Yum. Even though I need to watch my sugar intake ordinary moderation is sufficient, life is too short to not enjoy good cake or sweet things. I like your balance, bake sensibly using good ingedients and share 🍰

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I will definitely try this cake when I get home again. It sounds and looks delicious. My problem with making cake is not many others around to help eat it. Hubby is away a lot and so there I am with half a cake to myself!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You could eat this cake Ardys. I have the same problem with cakes- but I still try to make one each week. I often send half home with my son, or if Mr T is working physically, he tends to eat more. Nice when you know someone’s coming around.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I gave up on the sugar free fad when I realised dates were banned. Seriously? Life is too short. Today I read that alcohol causes cancer – I’m taking my chances with that one! Eating good food with a healthy provenance that hasn’t been messed about with too much is what it’s all about for me. So I’ll take a slice of this cake please.

    Liked by 1 person

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