Chocolate and raspberry pots -Family Favourite Recipes- and how to plant autumn raspberries

Autumn raspberries are easy to grow and so prolific. I’m growing a variety called Polka – much earlier, and larger fruiting, than Autumn Bliss. Now is the perfect time to plant raspberries. They are sold bare-rooted, mail order, or from nurseries and garden centres. They are grown in nursery fields and lifted for sale at this time of the year. In garden centres, you’ll find them bundled together and plunged into 10″ pots with some compost to keep the roots moist. Tip up the plants and separate them out. Roots are fibrous and need to be planted shallowly in well-drained soil. I plant mine no deeper than 2″ and incorporate lots of well rotted home-made compost to improve drainage. It’s possible to buy soil improvers in bags from garden centres. There’s also composted maize fertilisers which I recommend as they are easy to use and weed free. Plant Grow is the one I use most often at Bramble Garden. Choose a sunny, or semi-shaded site and plant the canes 2ft apart, with rows 6ft apart. If space is limited, it’s no problem to grow them in pots on the patio. There’s dwarf varieties bred specially for containers and small raised beds. New variety Yummy grows to 45cm and fruits on the first year’s wood. There’s also a new variety called Ruby Falls which is very compact and prolific.

Here’s a favourite recipe, quick to make and cooks in just a few minutes in the microwave. It’s great not to have to turn on the oven, saving electricity or gas. It’s ready in a flash.


3oz SR flour

3oz caster sugar

3oz butter (or vegetable margarine for a vegan recipe)

1 egg (or 2 tbsp oat milk for vegans)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp milk (or milk substitute)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries

You can use small mugs, cups – or a deep glass Pyrex soufflΓ© dish as long as they are microwaveable.


Throw all ingredients apart from raspberries in a food processor and whizz, or use a hand whisk to incorporate.

Place some raspberries in the base of the containers and top with the sponge mixture. Reserve some raspberries for the top.

Cook for 3 minutes. Open the door promptly and let steam escape. The sponge carries on cooking for another 2 minutes. They will be cooked when the sponge shrinks slightly from the sides of the dish. Use a skewer to check the mixture has cooked. If the skewer is clean, they are ready. If the skewer comes out with some liquid mixture, pop the dishes back in the microwave for another minute.

Serve hot with custard or double cream. Or allow to cool, sprinkle with reserved raspberries and icing sugar.

Makes a wonderful recipe for picnics and parties. Easily transported. Can be dressed up for a party with chocolate leaves.

This recipe can be used for any fruit. I use blueberries, pear, apple, blackberries, mandarins, whatever you can get your hands on. If you have no fruit, the sponge on its own is wonderful, or you can add a spoon of berry jam at the base instead as a change. To change it again slightly, omit the cocoa powder and you have a plain vanilla sponge. Add golden syrup to the base, if you like. Quick, easy and affordable. Just what’s needed to get us through this difficult time and with winter on the horizon.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you make the recipe and how it turns out.

I’m talking on BBC Radio Leicester every other Wednesday at 1.10 am just after the news. Have a listen in on BBC Sounds, or DAB.

I’m also on twitter @kgimson and karengimson1 on instagram

More reading! I also write for Garden News Magazine. Here’s my most recent column.

Some listening as well….. Garden Chat At 13.12 on the timeline on BBC radio Leicester with Rupal Rajani.


Raspberry canes Six Acre Nurseries :

Plant Grow fertiliser:

Greenfingers charity :

Rainbows hospice for children:

Open gardens NGS:

Garden News magazine:

22 thoughts on “Chocolate and raspberry pots -Family Favourite Recipes- and how to plant autumn raspberries

  1. Karen, thank you very much for your explanations and tips on how to plant raspberries and how to get two harvests, one in summer and one in autumn. I’ve been thinking about planting raspberries for a long time. If next year I can go to the country house and spend the summer until October, I will plant them in October before returning to Madrid. I love your recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Pots. So easy to make and so fast, and with that delicious, rich look. Also how many possibilities to make with different fruits and shapes, I love it. Karen thanks for your great recipe. Karen I follow you on Instagram and on Twitter. I know you are confined. They will confine us in less than a month. Courage, you have your wonderful garden to walk around and enjoy it. Strength, health, encouragement, positive thinking, hope and a lot of love for your whole family, Mr B and for you. Loving caresses for Grace, Meg and Monty. Hugs and lots of love. Enjoy the weekend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxxπŸ˜˜πŸ™πŸŒΌπŸŒΌπŸŒΌ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Margarita. I was very upset to be back in lockdown to start with, as we are not allowed to mix in each other’s houses or gardens. So I can’t see my Mum for a month. And we can’t see my daughters either. However, after the initial upset, I’ve pulled myself together and come to terms with it. If everyone abides by the rules, the rates of infection will go down, and hopefully we will all be together again soon. It is the cruellest illness as it is depressing us from the people we love. And we need them. However, as you say, keep thinking positively, and remain upbeat. There’s no point getting upset. Thanks for your kind words. Sending affectionate greetings from us all. Love from karen xxx πŸ₯°πŸ’›πŸ™πŸŒΌ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Karen the Covid is a very cruel disease as you very well say. But it is what there is and we cannot fight against it, only follow the rules that the Government says for our good, although sometimes they are cruel. You have to lower the level of Covid infections and the only way that works is confinement at home without seeing anyone to avoid infections. Don’t let Covid get you down. Call your loved ones on the phone by WhatsApp by video call every day, that’s what my mother and I do. We are also going to be confined at home in a couple of weeks at the most: but we have confined ourselves for safety. Karen have hope and positive thinking because this will end in a year or we will live with him for a little longer with masks: I tell you the truth because I do not want to deceive you, I don’t like lying to you being your friend. But don’t go down You are very strong and we will not always be confined: we will live with masks and keeping security measures. We can meet with our loved ones in small groups with masks so that infections do not rise. We are not going to spend this Christmas together as we always do. My dear Mother and I will have dinner alone at home, my sister and her husband will do it alone at theirs, and my brother and his wife will do the same. YES, IT WILL BE A VIDEO CALL DINNER ON THE LAPTOP TO SEE US BETTER AND TALK A GOOD TIME: A CYBER GOOD NIGHT. You have to take it with humor and take advantage of new technologies. Much courage and strength, positive thinking and much hope and much love. A hug. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ™πŸŒΌπŸŒΌπŸŒΌπŸŒ»πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Margarita. All this is true. It’s the only way. I think you are right about Christmas, and it would be best to say now that we must do the same, to avoid disappointment later. We will do the same as you, using the computer to connect with them all. Don’t worry, I’m upbeat and coping well. I feel very sorry for people who are struggling though. We will get through this, in time. Xx πŸ˜˜πŸŒΌπŸŒ»πŸ’›πŸ™πŸ₯°πŸŽ‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Karen, I’m really glad you’re positive. I also feel very sorry for the people who fight against Covid. I remember your daughter who is a nurse and is on the front line: she is a great professional and she will never get infected. Karen we will overcome this together, the kilometers do not separate us, our friendship can with everything. Perhaps they will authorize us at Christmas to hold small family reunions, depending on the pandemic in each country. Best wishes and love. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ™πŸ’›πŸ₯°πŸŒΌπŸŒΌπŸŒ»πŸŽ‡πŸŽ„

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I added Polka last year and really like them – they are firmer than one of the other varieties I grow, and look attractive too. I just grow autumn varieties but double crop them. Your recipe sounds tasty and is so simple!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. By accident, I discovered I could get a summer crop and an autumn crop from them. For some of the plants, I don’t cut them down at Christmas, I just leave them as they are. They produce a good crop of raspberries in summer, and then I cut them back by half, and they produce a smaller crop in October. I don’t get the same amount in October as I usually would, but it’s a good way of using the space. Is that what you mean by double cropping them? In case there’s something else I can do with them? Very wet and windy again here. We moved into tier 3 on Thursday, so not going anywhere. Have a good weekend. Xx


      • I have been double cropping them for years, after reading an article in Gardening Which? The canes that are fruiting now I will leave alone and they will give a heavy summer crop before being cut down. New canes will grow and produce a smaller autumn crop and the total crop is much bigger. Damp and windy here too, but it should be a dry morning so I will get out for a walk and then prepare a vase for tomorrow

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Cathy, I’m trying to post a IAVOM, but something has happened to WordPress. I can add only one photo and then it says there’s nothing in my photo stream? Any idea how to get round it. Very frustrating! Karen xx


      • Hi Karen – I had no idea what a photo stream was but googling seems to suggest it is a ‘plug-in’ to link with Flickr. Do you use Flickr? Even if you did it would be odd for WordPress to suddenly link to it without warning. I just click on ‘add media’ (in the Classic Editor) and ‘drag’ the photo I want from my Pictures on my laptop. In the Block Editor I think you would just drag it into the appropriate block. Hope you are able to sort it as you have enough frustrations with technology as it is!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. An especially useful post for me today.. We may just have enough raspberries left, but they,sadly,are nearly all gone now. II’ve not made mirowave puds before so will be intrigued as to how they turn out. The other options such as jam etc in the bottom sounds fab.There might be some in the freezer however.

    Your article in Garden News is very helpful. I do like the idea of having a nesting place for everything in my greenhouse except slugs…

    Thanks for recommending our local 6 Acres Nursery. They do such good work with their staff and have particularly lovely well grown plants.Andy Bartlett helps me with my garden and rates them very highly.

    Thank you once again for my very special surprirse delivery. I knew it had to be from you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Suella. Well done on winning the Monty Don book. Enjoy! Let me know how the puddings go. Nice to have something home made in just a few minutes. Thanks for your kind comments. Have a great week xx


    • Thank you. You could freeze them with the soft fruit at the bottom. Would go soggy if placed on the top, but fine when cooked. Let me know how you get on. I’m making one today with some alpine strawberries which were such a lovely surprise on the plot. Only a few, but so precious to find. Thanks for your kind comments πŸ€—πŸ’šπŸ™ xx


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