gluten-free chocolate, chilli and blueberry slice recipe & the big three O

So my birthday has come and gone. I’m 30. It’s funny, most birthdays pass without me giving them much thought, I’m not usually one to fret and think about getting older. But here’s the thing, I remember my own mother turning 30. I remember her party, I remember the band that played up at my Dad's shoe workshop that night at the top of our driveway, I remember my mum drinking her rum and Herbal cola and us kids freaking out seeing her drunk (poor mum, after having four kids by 27, it was probably her first night “out” in years!) I remember my friends being there too.

Does that mean I am an actual real grown up? That I am old enough to remember my Mum being my age?

With one sick child and another going stir crazy being cooped up indoors there wasn’t a whole lot of celebrating going down yesterday. It’s Father's day on sunday, so we thought we’d wait till then to eat cake. But me being me I had to at least make something lovely and sweet to eat with the kids for afternoon tea. Chocolate and chilli is for me a match made in heaven. Bitter dark chocolate with a touch of heat from the chilli just tickling your tonsils is just what the day needed.

I came across are recipe for chocolate, chilli and cherry slice in a little Women’s Day cookbook I picked up years ago from a supermarket in Australia. You know those little cute books they sell at the checkout? I’m a sucker for them, mostly just the baking ones….especially if they have a cute little pile of pink iced slice on the cover! I’ve been meaning to make it for years. Here I’ve adapted it to be gluten-free but if you eat wheat, just use 3/4 cup of plain or spelt flour in place of the rice and tapioca flours. I also used blueberries in place of the cherries as this is what I had at hand. But I reckon this would work with any berries. Blackberries, boysenberries or raspberries would be my pick.

The chilli in this is subtle; you don’t really know it’s even there until you finish your mouthful. What you are after is that slight tingle in the back of your mouth that walks its way up and around to the top, hanging out there for a bit in a lovely understated kinda way. I’m a real chilli freak so I love this feeling (I could have even gone for more of a kick, but knowing the kids were eating it too I held back), but if you aren’t so keen, leave the chillies out altogether and I’m sure it would still be delicious. Something I discovered is that while it was pretty moorish about 30 mins after being pulled from the oven, it was even better cold the next day, after chilling out in the fridge overnight. By this stage it had turned from being a soft, moist, crumbly brownie-like-slice, to a dense, super-rich fudgey loveliness.

Next time I make this I am going to play around with spices and chilli powder in place of the fresh. I think you could get more of the chilli heat without the actual chilli flavour using chilli powder, and a touch of cinnamon. I'm also thinking black pepper would be a lovely addition. I assume this would keep for about 5-7 days in the fridge but ours didn't make it past the second day! I have plans for a super special belated birthday cake for myself…. (sad I know, but I really don’t mind) so all things going to plan I will post that recipe early next week. Have a lovely weekend all and Happy Fathers Day for Sunday Papa. xx

chocolate, chilli and blueberry slice recipe
This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be dairy-free by using margarine in place of butter and by making sure you use a good quality dark chocolate that’s dairy-free. I used trade aid dark chocolate. As I’ve mentioned before, get to know your chillies. I used 1 whole long chilli, but you may want to go for less or more depending on how hot your chillies are and how hot you want the end result. If you eat wheat, substitute the rice and tapioca flours for 3/4 cup plain flour or spelt flour.  Makes about 20 slices

  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125 g butter or dairy-free margarine
  • 1/2 cup (100g) muscovado sugar (or use soft brown sugar)
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen/fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup (75g) almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) fine brown rice flour 
  • 1/4 cup (25g) tapioca flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • cocoa powder for dusting

    Preheat your oven to 150 C/300 F. Grease a 20 x 20cm slice pan and line the base and sides with baking paper, making sure about 2cm of paper extends up and over the edges of the pan.

    Melt chocolate, butter, sugar and chilli together in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and set aside for 10 mins to cool slightly. Gently stir in flours, almond meal and eggs until combined. Fold through blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth off the top with the back of your spoon/spatula.

    Bake 35-45 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool in the pan before dusting with cocoa powder and cutting into small squares. Or if you have some serious restraint, hold off eating until tomorrow when it's even better.

    NB If using fresh berries I’d say they would take about 30-35 mins. If using frozen like I did, allow a little longer – mine took 45 mins to cook.


    1. Hey Em I think I remember the party you speak of and I’m sure my parents were probably pissed too. That thought weirds me out too that I remember my parents being my age!
      Holy cripes this slice looks good! Everything you post does! Haven’t managed to make any of it yet because I don’t have the right ingredients and whenever I’m at the shops I can’t remember them! But this one I want to make the extra effort for! Yum!
      Wanted to come see you this weekend with Ned (he’s djing) but I’m working in Hokitika. Dang it! Belated celebration next time I’m down! xx

      • Haha yep you were the friend I was thinking of that was there at the party! From memory we were all freaking out at our parents for being drunk! Poor parents! You should be able to get all the ingredients for this one at the supermarket, and you can just make it with plain flour (3/4 cup) in place of the gluten free flours I used. Ground almonds are just from the super-duper. Can’t wait to see you next time your down xxxx

    2. After reading your blog yesterday, I was quietly confident that one (and possibly slow Sunday rainy) day that I would return to your delicious chocolate slice recipe, dust off my apron and bake – as I self-proclaimed.
      … and then the perfect- albeit hasty, occasion presented itself :)
      I had Dad over for Father’s Day Sunday lunch and unexpected visitors popped over to visit the boyfriend-on-the-couch-with-broken-leg. A full lounge of guests.
      After a quick trip to the shop to purchase chocolate- an ingredient that never sits in our pantry long with my chocoholic other half, I whipped up a batch.
      I had only boysenberries in the freezer, so after a quick substitution, coffee and slice was served.
      It was hit all around.
      My guests were all impressed by your efforts and are sure to dabble into your recipes too.
      I also thank you for your inspiration, and I love reading your blog.
      Keep up the good work Emma.
      Mrs Quinn would be proud!

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  • Reply
    September 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

    love, love, LOVE the look of this recipe!
    What difference do you think the tapioca flour makes? You see, I have all the other ingredients except that flour. Do you reckon if I substituted the tapioca for corn starch this recipe would still work?

    Cheers x

  • Reply
    September 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I hope you don't mind, but I have mentioned your wonderful blog in my blog after trying out these delectable slices. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to trying out more of your creations. Beautiful photography as well. Very impressive.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Hi there, sorry it seems I may be too late to reply! What did you end up using in place of the tapioca flour? I find a combo of rice and tapioca flour gives the best consistency to gluten-free baking, but as a substitute any other starchy flour would work fine I'm sure, potato flour/starch or cornflour/starch would both work. Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I feel honoured that you mentioned my blog. xx Emm

  • Reply
    November 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Waw!! These slices look so delectable & mighty tasty too!

    Lovely styled too!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I baked this cake last night, and I have only 1 thing to say: your recipe rocks!!! 🙂 Thanks Emma for sharing such beautiful food ideas.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Thank you for this beautiful site & creative ideas! I am looking for a cake 'slice' for my husband's birthday. He loves chocolate and blueberries. Anything with a 'kick' to it as well. I was thinking of making a few thin layers of this with a lemon glaze (with fresh lemon zest) in-between. What do you think? I know lemon compliments blueberry nicely, but wondered how it would work with the chilies. I guess I'll find out! I guessed you're in Australia. I am in Alaska! Sharing baking/creating in the kitchen makes us seem not so far apart. 🙂

    • Reply
      November 10, 2012 at 4:51 am

      I agree, the world seems so small when we are all online! It's been awhile since I've made this but I'm thinking the flavours of lemon, chilli, chocolate and blueberries would be a good one. Maybe try it out as a tester before you commit to making it for his birthday? xx

  • Reply
    Adele Chenoweth
    November 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Looking at all these rave reviews and knowing from past experience your recipes are always delish i cant wait to try this out next weekend, however im just wondering if raspberries would work as a substitute or are blueberries ideal?

    • Reply
      November 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Raspberries would be fine, just try your best to not mush them up too much when you stir them in the batter. Or you could always just scatter them on top of the batter before baking. If you're using frozen don't defrost first. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Adele Chenoweth
    November 15, 2013 at 7:06 am

    thanks for the advice x

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