Chocolate Cake Recipe

December 31, 2007

No pretty pictures today; I did deliver yet another copy of my Goodbye Cake to a friend this morning, but I figure there’s no point posting photos of that, since you’ve already seen it… So instead, I’m going to share my chocolate cake recipe. It’s not very secret, or exciting, but I find it makes a good, moist chocolate cake, not too rich or overbearing, and yet flavoursome enough to carry itself without powerful flavours in the frosting (although I pretty much always slather mine in ganache, but then I am rather a chocoholic).

Almost all the cakes on this blog so far are made from this recipe – so it’s tried and true! And I think I probably first made it when I was 9 or 10, so I’ve got a few years of practice under my belt. 🙂

Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2Tbsp golden syrup (or light treacle, they’re the same thing)
250g butter
4 cups flour
6 Tbsp cocoa
4 tsp baking powder
600ml milk
2 tsp vanilla essence (if you use real vanilla extract you’ll want to reduce this quantity)
2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 180 celcius (around 350 Fahrenheit). I use fan bake, but if that’s not an option for you it’ll just take a little longer – no sweat!

Cream butter, sugar, golden syrup and eggs together. I am usually quite generous with the golden syrup, as it moistens the cake, which I don’t think is ever a bad thing!

Add flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix.

Warm milk, vanilla essence and baking soda, and then gradually beat into the rest of the mix.

Once you have a smooth batter (it’s quite thin, don’t worry about this!), pour into a 25cm round tin. I use non-stick springform tins, and find I don’t need to grease them at all, but if you don’t have this luxury (which I definitely recommend!) you’ll need to ensure your tin is greased or lined first.

Bake for about an hour. From about the 55 minute mark I check periodically to see if it’s done – I usually remove my cakes when they almost pass the skewer/knife test but leave a tiny bit of residue (not so it looks like cake mix, still, though. That one goes back in). This makes sure the cake is nice and moist, and usually means the cake will sink a little, making it a bit denser (which I like).

I generally tip the cake out onto a cooling rack almost straight away (just do it carefully – putting the rack upside down on top of the cake and then flipping both is a pretty safe bet).


200ml cream
300gms compound chocolate (I usually use milk, but you can make white, milk or dark chocolate ganache, so go with your preference)

Put cream in a microwave proof bowl and heat to boiling point (careful not to let it boil over, though – keep an eye on it).

Remove, add chocolate (preferably in buttons or drops, or if you have a block cut into smallish pieces first) and stir until chocolate has melted and mixed with cream.

Let it cool (this will take at least an hour or so in the fridge, I usually make it the night before so it has plenty of time to cool) and slather on cake to desired thickness.

As with any recipe, tamper with the quantities until it makes something you’re happy with. I’ve added two tablespoons of cocoa and a teaspoon of vanilla to the original recipe my Mum gave me – I’m sure you’ll have preferences too!

If it burns on top or bottom or sinks to a bit of a hollow, ganache is very forgiving; slice off any burnt bits and fill the holes with the chocolatey goodness, and even if anyone does realise your secret they won’t complain!

Ganache can be made to many thicknesses, and can be used differently depending on the consistency – you can pipe with it, or dip things in it, or use it as a sauce.

Dividing the recipe in half makes a respectable 20cm round cake – which by many people’s standards is still quite big. This will easily feed at least 12, so you may find you only need the half measure.

So there you go – a reasonably fail-safe chocolate cake recipe. If you try it out, let me know how you go!



  1. That’s fairly similar to mine, except I use oil instead of butter, and yours would make a much bigger cake than mine too! Yum, I want chocolate cake now! We even have ganache in the fridge, only it’s made with Hershey’s… I had a spoonful of it and my teeth protested. So sweet! And not very chocolatey. I really ought to buy some Ghirardelli while I’m here!

  2. Interesting… I often find cakes made with oil taste, well, oily! But then, I guess you often don’t know whether a cake is made with oil, so perhaps I’ve eaten good ones without realising. 😉 I don’t think I’ve ever had occasion to eat yours, sadly. You’ll have to come back so you can make me some!

  3. […] and had almost no time to do this in, baked blind the base, poured in some cake mix (my standard chocolate cake recipe, topped with a pastry lid, and baked. Now, you’ll have to excuse my scruffy pie edges, but a) […]

  4. […] Today, two very similar (although not quite identical) chocolate cakes. I was really pleased with these because I’ve switched from using regular sugar to castor sugar, which is supposed to be better for baking, and the texture of these cakes is magnificent! It’s always a great cake, this recipe, but the castor sugar makes it even better. If you want to try it for yourself, click here. […]

  5. […] was pleasingly free of commitments, so I baked a batch of chocolate cupcakes (using my standard chocolate cake recipe, which makes about 36 cupcakes) and some chocolate ganache, with a couple of drops of raspberry […]

  6. […] be even better with fruit and homemade custard) it might just be worth making up a half version of this chocolate cake recipe purely for the sake of […]

  7. […] some cupcakes for her sister’s birthday yesterday. These are chocolate cupcakes (using my chocolate cake recipe, which translates very well into cupcakes, and makes about 36). The icing is vanilla Swiss meringue […]

  8. This is very similar to a recipe of a favourite (long dead) aunt which I always make for birthdays although I always make two cakes from it. We are living in France (and recipe is in NZ)and I made my husband trot all over London to find some golden syrup so I can make this and some ANZAC biscuits. So it was great to find it on the net. Ganache is new to me but I will try it…

  9. I’m glad to reunite you with it! I sometimes make two smaller cakes, or even halve the recipe if I only want one – but my family like it a LOT, so I tend to make the full-sized version if it’s for them. 😉 I hope your cake turned out well!

  10. […] boy’s birthday, and these cute pirate faces seemed to do the trick. The cupcakes are my chocolate cake recipe, with chocolate ganache icing under fondant […]

  11. this cake is currently in the oven, however it has been 15 mins over the 55 mins and there is still much goo shall i put it inside the cake…have I done something wrong…?

  12. whoops that was meant to be much ‘goo’ inside the cake..have I done something wrong…?

  13. Probably not – just keep cooking it. I’ve found over the years that ovens can vary heaps, so hopefully it will get there in the end. 🙂 So long as you keep an eye on it and check it often I’m sure it’ll work out.

    • Thanks it works…yummmmmy moist cake, a hit with the birthday boy!

  14. Which type of flour self-raising or plain?

  15. Plain flour. 🙂

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  18. I made this cake today. I doubled it and had enough for 2 cakes and 15 large cup cakes. It is a very good recipe and very very yummy. My 2 adult sons and hubby loved it.

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