Chocolate cake recipe

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I grew up with this recipe, which is why Imperial measurements are used. My mam made this cake for our birthday cakes, which I helped with, then eventually took over. Colin loves this cake. I make it for his birthday; it doesn’t generally last long.

Chocolate cake

This chocolate cake is very easy to make.
Course Cake
Cuisine British
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Author Caity’s mother


  • 1 7" cake tin greased and lined with greaseproof paper
  • 1 electric mixer or wooden spoon for mixing
  • 1 medium to large mixing bowl for the cake mix
  • 2 small mixing bowls for the buttercream and glacé icing (or wash and re-use one)
  • 1 knife/skewer for testing
  • 2 mixing spoons for the buttercream and the glacé icing (or wash and re-use one)
  • 1 knife or palette knife for spreading



  • 4 oz caster or granulated sugar
  • 4 oz butter or margarine softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz self-raising flour
  • 2–3 tsp cocoa powder or to taste

Butter cream

  • 2 oz butter or margarine softened; more may be needed, depending on taste
  • icing sugar
  • vanilla essence or extract to taste; optional

Glacé icing

  • icing sugar
  • cocoa powder to taste
  • water only a dribble is needed



  • Grease and line a 7 inch cake tin (with greaseproof paper).
  • Beat together the sugar and butter or margarine in a large bowl until pale in colour and light in texture. You can use a wooden spoon, but an electric mixer is easier.
    4 oz caster or granulated sugar, 4 oz butter or margarine
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Don’t worry if it curdles; this will be resolved when the flour is added.
    2 eggs
  • Add the flour and cocoa powder, sieving if you like.
    4 oz self-raising flour, 2–3 tsp cocoa powder
  • Continue beating with the wooden spoon or electric mixer until the flour and cocoa are thoroughly mixed in. Alternatively, you could fold the flour in, but I’ve never done that.
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180 ºC/160 ºC fan.
  • Transfer the mix to the cake tin, pushing most of the mixture towards the edges of the tin with hardly any in the middle, otherwise it’ll rise into a dome.
  • Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes. It’s done when a knife or skewer poked in the middle comes out clean, with no trace of raw mixture on it.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for a moment before transferring to a cooling rack and remove the greaseproof paper lining.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature.

Butter cream

  • In a bowl, beat together the butter or margarine with a few dessert spoons of icing sugar and vanilla essence, if using, until white and fluffy. Again, you can use either a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. The amounts required depends on how much butter cream you want. Keep tasting as you go so that you get the right balance of butter to sugar. Be sparing with the vanilla.
    icing sugar, vanilla essence or extract, 2 oz butter or margarine
  • Cut the cooled cake in half horizontally and put the bottom half on a serving plate.
  • Spread the butter cream over the bottom half of the cake.
  • Put the top half on the top.


  • Add to a small bowl a few dessert spoons of icing sugar and a teaspoon or so of cocoa powder.
    icing sugar
  • Add water a few drops at a time, mixing well with a metal spoon between each addition until a consistency that is neither too runny nor too thick. It needs to be loose enough to spread but firm enough to stay in place. Taste as you go to make sure you add the right amount of cocoa powder.
    cocoa powder, water
  • Spread the icing over the top of the cake and allow to set a little.


This cake seems best after it’s been refrigerated overnight, which isn’t to say it doesn’t taste nice when it’s freshly made!

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