Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Chocolate Marrakesh Express Loaf Cake – Random Recipes #21

Random recipe maybe in the title of this post, but it’s actually a random ingredient we had to select this month for the Random Recipes challenge over at Belleau Kitchen. CT got the joy of sticking his arm in the cupboard and pulling something out – a half used packet of hemp flour! Hemp is a gorgeous green coloured flour, but it has a slight bitter edge and goes off fairly quickly. The whole point of the challenge was to use up things that tend to hang around at the back of the cupboard unnoticed, so the box was truly ticked on this score.

The next step was to enter hemp flour onto Eat Your Books. Not surprisingly, I only had one result and that was for Dan Lepard’s Marrakesh express loaf cake from Short and Sweet. As there was no chocolate in his recipe, I had to adapt it and what with one thing and another, it got adapted more than I’d originally intended.

This is how I made it:

  • Placed a tsp of instant coffee in a large pan and poured 300ml of boiling water over it and stirred until dissolved.
  • Added 150g chopped dried dates and left to simmer gently for a few minutes whilst I added some other ingredients.
  • Added 130g molasses sugar, 1 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup.
  • Stirred and removed from the heat.
  • Added 75g unsalted butter and 100g Maya Gold (G&B dark orange spiced chocolate) – chopped.
  • Grated in the zest of a lemon and then added the lemon juice as I thought the additional tartness would help cut through the richness of the cake.
  • Beat in 2 small duck eggs (medium hens eggs).
  • Sifted in 150g spelt flour, 75g hemp flour and 2 tsp of baking powder.
  • Stirred this in followed by 100g chopped walnuts and 2 tbsp of sesame seeds.
  • Poured into a 2lb loaf mould and baked for 45 minutes at 180C when a skewer inserted in the middle came out more or less clean.

The result was a dense but moist cake with a lovely fruity flavour. Overall it was quite tart and worked particularly well spread with a good layer of butter. It was hard to detect the dates specifically, but the walnuts had their usual delightful crunch. I felt I made the right decision not to include further spices, as there was plenty going on already. The hemp flour gave a distinctive nutty flavour, but also had a hint of bitterness about it. So if you happen to get the munchies on the night train to Marrakesh, CT reckons this is the ideal antidote – inadvertantly revealing some of his dark past.


  1. Foodycat

    19th October 2012 at 8:26 am

    Hemp flour! What an amazing thing to have in your cupboard!

    • Choclette

      19th October 2012 at 7:49 pm

      When I remember it, I often use some in the more robust flavoured cakes as it’s meant to be “good for you”.

  2. Cheah

    19th October 2012 at 9:34 am

    I’ve never come across hemp flour until now. Your random cake looks delicious with the addition of dates, honey and pomegrante syrup.

    • Choclette

      19th October 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Cheah. Hemp flour is a lovely shade of green and is also meant to be quite good for you 🙂

  3. belleau kitchen

    19th October 2012 at 8:48 am

    i’ve never used hemp flour before, so this is a new one for me… but what a loaf! it looks both dense and moist which I adore, bet it would be amazing toasted with jam or honey… or dare I say a slice of cheese? Great Random Recipes entry this month C, thank you so much for playing along xx oh and a great idea to use Eat Your Books too!

    • Choclette

      19th October 2012 at 7:53 pm

      Hah, we tried toasting some today and it got stuck in the toaster and caused an awful mess! I think you might be right about the cheese and will be trying that combination tomorrow. I’m finding Eat Your Books so useful. Between that and your RR, I’m using my cookery books more and more.

  4. mylittleitaliankitchen

    19th October 2012 at 10:40 am

    Lots of flavour packed into this delicious cake. Hemp flour is new to me. Well done Choclette!

    • Choclette

      19th October 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Alida. Hemp flour is a beautiful shade of green, which is quite fun. It’s also meant to be quite good for you.

  5. Janice

    19th October 2012 at 10:15 am

    Oh help, Marrakesh express takes me back to the 70s! I’ve never heard of hemp flour and thought you had made a whole other kind of cake! The things we do for Random Recipes!

    • Choclette

      19th October 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Ha ha Janice, a whole other kind of hemp cake should be taking you back to the 60s 😉

  6. Astra Libris

    19th October 2012 at 10:33 am

    This sounds amazing!! I have a packet of hemp flour in my pantry as well… 🙂 Thank you for supplying the perfect recipe solution!

    • Choclette

      19th October 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Oh, I’m pleased to hear that I’m not the only one, but it comes as no surprise to me that it should be you 😉

  7. Victoria

    19th October 2012 at 11:37 am

    i actually bought hemp flour to make some of his recipes…and barley flour..never have used them yet! i am inspired

    • Choclette

      19th October 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Oh do use them up if you can. Hemp flour gets more bitter the older it gets – I’d kept mine too long and the cake was not so good for it. I love using different flours, but haven’t used barley yet. Do let me know what you make with either / or and how it turned out.

  8. Suelle

    19th October 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’ve looked at this recipe several times, but don’t really want to buy hemp flour just for this. What else have you made with the flour?

    I’m sure adding chocolate improves anything! 😉

  9. Green Dragonette

    19th October 2012 at 1:41 pm

    So the question is what did you originally buy that hemp flour for??

  10. Katie

    20th October 2012 at 8:59 am

    That looks really tasty but quite unusal. Not tried hemp four before. Love how its been chocolated as always 🙂

  11. Janine

    20th October 2012 at 11:01 am

    The cake looks incredible. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as hemp flour!

  12. Chele

    20th October 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I’ve never come across hemp flour before, sounds like it would make a lovely earthy loaf of bread too. Great adaption of the recipe to include some chocolate in it too ;0)

  13. A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate

    20th October 2012 at 11:33 am

    Seems your fiddling with the original recipe worked well it looks delicious!

  14. Poyma

    20th October 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Amazing! Looks scrumptious!

  15. celia

    20th October 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Still illegal here, I think. What an interesting ingredient!

  16. Phil in the Kitchen

    20th October 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I did try hemp flour once but it was too bitter for the recipe that I used. Your recipe sounds much better with the honey, pomegranate and molasses sugar to balance that bitter edge. I’ll really have sweep the cobwebs from the corners of my mind, put on my striped djelleba and try again.

  17. The Caked Crusader

    21st October 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Wow – it looks almost juicy!

  18. Caroline

    21st October 2012 at 5:04 pm

    That looks deliciously moist and dense – you can always rely on a Dan Lepard recipe when you’re looking for something out of the ordinary!

  19. Karen S Booth

    23rd October 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Glad to see you used Yorkshire hemp flour! This looks absolutely divine and so moist too! Karen

    • Choclette

      26th October 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Karen, thank you. I didn’t think. I could have used this for the Best of British Yorkshire challenge – doh!

  20. Stacy

    26th October 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Like many of the other commenters, I have never used hemp flour but I am intrigued. Will have to look for it next time I am shopping. Do you have to buy it at a specialized shop or your local grocery store?

    I love Eat Your Books and love it especially for these challenges! How did we manage without it? Your loaf cake looks wonderful!

    • Choclette

      26th October 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Stacy, I bought mine in a health food shop. I suspect you won’t be able to find it at the supermarket. Glad to find another fan of Eat Your Books. I use it all the time now.

  21. little macaroon.

    30th October 2012 at 11:44 am

    Gorgeous photo! This round up is the worst idea for my diet, I want to make so many cakes!

  22. Ruth Ellis

    30th October 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve seen hemp food in the health food shop I go to many times, and been intrigued, but always left it no the shelf since I had no idea what to do with it – now I know! It looks delicious :o)

  23. Vanessa @ Cakes and Teacups

    30th October 2012 at 4:46 pm

    This sounds and look really nice..I love the word moist in a cake, you had me at moist. I’ve not tried duck eggs before in a cake this is different. I may have tried it hard boiled in a soup but can quite remember if it was duck eggs. Anyway your cake looks scrumptious! : )

  24. Please Do Not Feed The Animals.

    30th October 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Wow – I’m surprised you got any recipes when searching for hemp flour – that’s quite amazing really!

  25. Katharine

    31st October 2012 at 12:36 pm

    This looks fantastic – moist, spicy and fruity – wonderful!


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