Nanaimo bars

(25 ratings)

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Chocolate and custard bars
Chocolate and custard bars
  • Makes: 20

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

    chilling time for the custard
  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Mid-price

Woman's Weekly recipe Nanaimo bars, slices of delicious chocolate and custard cake which are a cult snack in Canada, are the perfect no-fuss treat for kids and packed lunches. Even better, they require no baking - simple!


  • 125g (4oz) butter
  • 2 level tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 level tbsp cocoa
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g (10oz) digestive biscuits, crumbed
  • 60g (2oz) desiccated coconut
For the custard filling:
  • 60g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g (8oz) icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
For the topping:
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 30g (1oz) butter
  • 4 tbsp strong black coffee
  • 18 x 27cm (7 x 11in) traybake tin, lined with Bakewell paper

Once the topping is on, chill the cake out of the fridge, otherwise the chocolate will lose its gloss.


  1. To make the base: Put the butter, sugar and cocoa in a small pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Take off the heat and add the egg, vanilla essence, crumbs and coconut. Press mixture into the tin and level the surface. Chill for at least 30 mins.
  3. To make the filling: Cream the butter until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the custard powder and vanilla, then the icing sugar and lemon juice. Spread this over the biscuit base and chill for 1-2 hours until set firm.
  4. To make the topping: Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Take off the heat and whisk in the coffee until you get a smooth icing. Spread it over the filling. Leave until set. Cut into 3cm (1¼in) wide bars.

Nutritional information per portion

  • Low
  • Med
  • High
  • Calories 271(kcal)
  • Fat 16.0g
  • Saturates 10.0g

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

Your rating

Average rating

  • 4
(25 ratings)

Your comments


Lemon juice makes the middle section taste awful, I'd use milk next time


I agree with sam, these are a Canadian recipe which I discovered in Vancouver 40 years ago but have subsequently lost, so did find this recipe difficult to find. However it is much the same as I remember


They're actually called Nanaimo Bars.

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