Chocolate Cake

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This is a basic recipe for a simply decorated chocolate cake, it is perfect for those occasions when someone drops in for coffee or you just feel like a bit of cake and don’t want to do anything fancy.


Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 10 - 20


  1. Heat the oven to 170°c.
  2. Using an electric whisk or mixer, cream the soft butter (or margarine) and sugar together until it is pale in colour.
    the creamed butter and sugar
  3. Then add the eggs one at a time to the butter mix while whisking (it will turn into a thoroughly unappetising, lumpy mess, but don’t worry, this is normal).
    adding the eggs
  4. Stir the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder into the mixture and then add the water.
    the chocolate sponge batter
  5. Grease a 20cm × 10cm cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Then pour in the cake mixture. (Alternatively, you could use two shallower cake tins.)
    the batter in a cake tin
  6. Put the cake into the oven and bake it for 45 minutes (or 25 minutes if you are using two smaller cake tins). To test the cake to make sure it is cooked, stick a knife or skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out with wet cake batter on it then the cake will need a bit longer in the oven.
  7. When the cake is cooked leave it in the tin for 10 minutes then remove it from the tin to a wire rack and leave it to cool completely.
  8. If you want a neat finish to the cake, trim the domed top off the cake so it is flat. Cut the cake in half horizontally and place both halves onto a large chopping board.
    the two halves of the cake
  9. Make the icing by weighing out the soft butter and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl.
    the icing ingredients
  10. Whisk the butter and icing sugar together until they are light in colour, then melt the chocolate in the microwave (on low power) or over a bain marie and pour it in to the mixing bowl.
    adding the chocolate to the butter icing
  11. Stir in the melted chocolate until it is totally incorporated.
    the chocolate butter icing
  12. On one of the halves of cake, pile on about half of the icing and spread it out so the whole surface is covered
    icing the middle of the cake
  13. Then put the other half of the cake on top, pile on the rest of the icing and smooth it over. You can texture it (as we did) by very gently slapping it with a palette knife or butter knife.
    the iced cake
  14. Serve.
    a slice of the finished cake
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Useful Information

Can it be frozen? Just the sponge at stage 8.
Can it be prepared in advance? Yes, it can be finished up to 1 week in advance.
Will leftovers be nice? Yes, for up to 1 week if kept in an air-tight container.


- The sponge can be frozen for up to 3 months, try not to freeze the finished cake as the icing can take on the taste of the freezer.

- Try this cake with fresh fruit in the filling like raspberries but keep it in the fridge as the fruit will go off otherwise.

- Cakes that have butter cream icings like this one MUST be eaten at room temperature otherwise it will appear stale, hard in texture and tasteless. If you do keep it in the fridge for any reason, let the cake come to room temperature which normally takes about 3 hours.

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