Nanaimo bars Recipe

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30 min


2 hr
chilling time for the custard

Nutrition per portion

Calories 271 kCal 14%
Fat 16g 23%
  -  Saturates 10g 50%

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


  • To make the base: Put the butter, sugar and cocoa in a small pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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Top Tip

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