Simple chocolate cake

Simple chocolate cake
  • Serves icon Serves 10
  • Time icon Takes 20 minutes to make, 20-25 minutes to cook, plus cooling

This is a really easy chocolate cake recipe. Once you’ve made the cake itself, you can dress it up any way you fancy – for example, you could fill it with whipped cream and jam instead of chocolate icing. Or, after icing or buttercreaming, why not decorate with colourful sweets or chocolate buttons for a birthday cake?

Then when you’re feeling confident with your baking, take it up a level, with our triple chocolate layer cake.

We’ve also got a chocolate mud cake recipe, and John Whaite’s super-moreish chocolate cola cake recipe to check out.

Nutrition: per serving

51g (31g saturated)
66.2g (55g sugar)
51g (31g saturated)
66.2g (55g sugar)


  • 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 medium free-range eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 tbsp milk

For the icing

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 175g icing sugar

You’ll also need…

  • 2 20cm sandwich tins


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with a little butter and base line with baking paper. In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, then lightly fold into the mixture.
  3. Add a little milk until you have a dropping consistency, then divide between the tins. It’s best to only fill the sandwich tins 3/4 full.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then cool slightly. In a bowl, beat the butter and icing sugar together with an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy, then fold in the melted chocolate.
  6. Spread some icing over 1 of the cakes, top with the other cake and the rest of the icing.


What ingredient makes a cake rise - baking soda or baking powder?
It's complicated and the short answer is both do. Baking powder is a combination of chemicals and doesn't require a reaction. Baking soda provides rise because of a chemical reaction with other ingredients (specifically acids) so requires an acidic ingredient in the recipe also (buttermilk, yogurt etc. or plain vinegar).

How do you make a chocolate cake moist?
For a moist cake, look for recipes using real chocolate, ground nuts and oil rather than butter. Also consider gluten free or flourless choc cakes for a super fudgy finish.

How can you make ahead and store this cake?
Cook and completely cool the cakes then wrap well in cling film and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature before decorating.

How do I stop chocolate cake from cracking?
Make sure the oven is at the right temperature (often happens if the oven is too high). If it rises too fast, it may dome and crack. Also don't over-bake the cake and make sure to bake in the centre of oven (though this is less of a problem in a fan oven).

How do I cover a chocolate cake with icing?
Start with a thin coating of icing (known as a crumb coat) then chill until the icing hardens. This will give a smoother surface to work with. Once chilled, coat roughly and fully in icing then use a cake scraper held at a 45 degree angle to smooth. A cake turntable also helps.

delicious. tips

  1. Watch how to make our simple chocolate cake here:

Recipe By

Lizzie Kamenetzky


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Read what others say...

  1. I don’t normally bake, but this cake was so delicious I put fresh cream in the middle and on top, even my family commented on,
    Such a simple recipe
    Thank you xx

  2. Hi. I baked the simple chocolate cake following your ingredients and it came out good🙂 I’m so glad I came across it. 🙂

    I just wanted to ask what the icing ingredients would be for one simple chocolate cake.

    I made the icing following your icing ingredient but forgot that your icing ingredient was for 2 cakes🤦‍♀️

    Now I still have some chocolate icing left over

    1. Hi Fahima, if you’d like half the icing in this recipe, you can use the following ratio: 125g dark chocolate, 125g butter, softened and 88g icing sugar – using the same method.

  3. Can I just ask if the flour is correct at 100g only? Is this more of a fudgy textured cake? Thank you. I bake at a cafe and might try it out tomorrow! :)

    1. Hi Ashley – yes, that’s right! 100g is the correct amount of flour. Thanks!

    1. Hi Bell, we would recommend using 1-2 tbsp of milk until the batter achieves a dropping consistency. Thanks for getting in touch!

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