My favourite chocolate cake

Apologies there isn’t a proper picture to go with this post. Officer, the evidence is in my tummy. I unintentionally ate the whole cake before managing to take a picture. I kept thinking, just one more slither, and before I knew it the whole thing had disappeared. But it was definitely the best chocolate cake I have ever made. It was round and brown, with rough and slightly shiny icing. The top half was slightly bigger than the bottom and it undulated slightly on one side. Its beauty was in its imperfections. It was moist and rich, with a deep chocolate flavour, that comes when you use a WHOLE pot of cocoa. That is seven tablespoons. Despite that, it was not cloying, perhaps because the butter icing was loosened slightly with milk, which also made it easier to spread.
I took eight slices to share with some other mums (and a dad) on a school trip to Bracknell’s Discovery Centre yesterday, although it got slightly squashed in transit, it went down well.
I found the recipe in the Waitrose Magazine and it is definitely a keeper. I will make it again, perhaps for Easter, studded with mini-eggs or Smarties. Or both.

Serves: 10
Prepare: 20 mins, cook 20 mins
Best-ever chocolate cake
175g soft unsalted butter
175g light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
150g self-raising flour
4 tbsp cocoa
150g soft unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cocoa
Grease and line 2 x 18cm cake tins. Preheat oven to 180c. Cream – using an electric mixer – butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and the milk. Then add the cocoa and mix until smooth. It will look very dark and rich. Divide the mixture between the tins and make sure you properly smooth it down evenly. It is not the type of cake that spreads very well during cooking, so make sure you do this well.
Bake for 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out smoothly. Leave the cakes in tins on a rack to cool.
Right, now the icing. This makes enough for the whole cake, but next time I make it, I probably will reduce quantities by a third and not ice the sides. This is just my personal preference. Anyhow, cream the butter and sugar together. Warm the milk in a pan and then beat it into the butter and sugar mixture with the vanilla and cocoa until smooth. Put the wonkiest looking cake, smooth side down on a plate, and slather the top with the icing (this is brilliant icing, the milk addition makes it very spreadable) then put the second cake on top and ice the top and sides if you wish. It is crying out for decorations. Mini-eggs spring to mind. If not smarties.


  1. With a photo like that, I have definitely got to make this cake!!

    If a cake is so good it’s gone before the camera comes out, it’s got to be worth the effort!!


  2. Even without the photo it sounds very good. I’ll have to try adding milk to icing to make it more spreadable – good tip. Hmm, must locate that copy of Waitrose magazine and have a look at their pic!

  3. I got a piece and can vouch for it being totally scrumptious!! Mouth watering now thinking about it! Yummy Scrummy! (but a WHOLE tub of cocoa powder! Eek!) xx

  4. would it make a good kids birthday cake for a four year old? thanks. becca


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