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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.42 / 5 (1152 votes)

Prep time:
25 min
Cook time:
40 min

Rachel Allen's recipe yields a simply made, yet versatile and absolutely delicious cake that can also be adjusted to make cupcakes.

Find more chocolate cake recipes


1. Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4. Butter and flour the sides of two 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with greaseproof paper.

2. For the cake: place the chocolate and the milk in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat until the chocolate has melted. (Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water.) Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Beat the butter until very soft then add the caster sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the melted chocolate.

4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda, and fold in gently to mix. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.

5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to sit for five minutes before turning them out of their tins and placing them on a wire rack to cool.

6. For the chocolate butter icing: beat the butter, cream and the vanilla extract until very soft. Then gradually sift in the icing sugar and the cocoa powder, beating all the time, until it is all added. Continue to beat until very soft, then whisk the mixture until it is light and fluffy.

7. Once the cakes are cool, sandwich them together with the chocolate butter icing. Place the cake on a plate or a cake stand and either dust with cocoa powder, or make double quantities of the chocolate butter icing and spread over the cake.


For the cake

For the chocolate butter icing

  • 75 g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp good quality cocoa powder

Tips and suggestions

Add the finely grated rind of one orange to give the cake a chocolate orange flavour or replace the vanilla extract with one tablespoon of instant coffee powder for a mocha flavour. This can also be turned into chocolate cupcakes if you wish – the recipe will fill 12 paper cases in a cupcake or muffin tray, and will take about 18–20 minutes to cook.

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Latest Comment


i was looking for a good recipe about making chocolate cake, i also used this recipe to make chocolate cakes: [link]

RavivP89687 RavivP89687  Posted 21 Dec 2014 9:16 PM

I made this cake twice ,both occasions I followed the ingreadents and the method correctly but I was dissapointed with the results .Cake was dry and hard .I found out the quantity given for flour is little too much . Icing was great .Sorry Rechal but your other recipes I tried they were all winners Grace 25th September. 2014 9.30 am

Srilali gr29064 Srilali gr29064  Posted 26 Sep 2014 9:30 AM

favourite chocolate cake, family love it

VivienM74437 VivienM74437  Posted 03 Jan 2014 2:15 PM

Yum was delicious made with my [link]

jennyJ34133 jennyJ34133 Posted 11 Oct 2012 2:33 PM

Some points:

1.The cake is good.
2.The icing is not good for me. If you want to use some kind, I recommend the brazilian brigadeiro. It matches better with the cake.

For those people that had problems with the cake: check the oven manual. Sounds ridiculous, but the oven has 3 levels. The middle, 2nd level, is the best level for cakes.

David Feitosa David Feitosa Posted 04 Sep 2012 3:41 AM

I totally love this chocolate recipe!! Glad to have it here!! I made it out with some recipes from chocolarious and it's a hit!! Everyone at home loved it!!

DorothyK43107 DorothyK43107 Posted 22 Jun 2012 11:32 PM

I thought it was just a fabulous cake and recipie and i would use it again and recomend to my family and friends!!
It was a brillent sucess!!!!

DeirdreS35906 DeirdreS35906 Posted 26 May 2012 3:13 PM

Excellent cake, very easy to make and very popular with everyone. Making 2nd one this week as last one was eaten in 2 days!! I am going to add some whipped cream and strawberries for the top this time!

KatrinaD14225 KatrinaD14225 Posted 16 Feb 2012 1:51 PM

I originally made this cake for my friends birthday tomorrow, but the boys came home from school and said could they have a slice, so its now ours! So easy to make and so easy to follow, my cakes always are either too thin or flop in the middle but this one turned out thick and delish!

SaleenaT72044 SaleenaT72044 Posted 08 Feb 2012 5:10 PM

SudanthaS37441 SudanthaS37441 Posted 08 Dec 2011 4:25 PM

Don't know how people are having problems with this cake, I'm making another one tonight because today's flew off the shelf, This'll be the seventh one in four weeks that I've made for the coffee shop :-))))

wendyA16866 wendyA16866 Posted 17 Oct 2011 5:01 PM

no no no no i'm sorry rachel but this cake has the be the worse cake.

ninaB39520 ninaB39520 Posted 12 Oct 2011 4:18 PM

I was looking for a recipe for cupcakes so tried this and I was very careful after reading reviews not to leave in too long, actually took out slightly early if anything, so they wouldnt dry out. Unfortunately the comments arent great, crusty on the outside, dry and heavy. Guess its back to my mary berry recipe, I just fancied a change. Perhaps it works as a cake but dont bother for little cakes.

blulou blulou Posted 22 Sep 2011 10:40 PM

I have just taken mine out of the oven and I'm over the moon with it, I've added more cream and some milk to the topping because I like it a bit softer and fluffier, I'm making it for the coffee shop where I work and I don't think it'll last long ;-)))))

wendyA16866 wendyA16866 Posted 18 Sep 2011 6:31 PM

Hello Sara, what a nice idea. It's plain old icing sugar that you need - you'll find it in every supermarket.

Charlotte - Good Food Charlotte - Good Food Posted 06 Sep 2011 2:13 PM

Thinking of making this as a leaving-for-uni cake for my sister in a few weeks as she is simply obsessed with chocolate cake however just wondering which icing to use in the chocolate buttercream royal or just normal?

SaraT14804 SaraT14804 Posted 03 Sep 2011 9:26 PM

i like it and its really good

falidaM39665 falidaM39665 Posted 05 Aug 2011 7:49 PM

First time I made it, one of the cake didn't rise well,but the other one really good :D even one of the cake not really perfect when I took out from the oven, the mixture still wet in the middle but my kids liked it n finished them all, and they like the icing so much.. Then the second time I made it for my daughter birthday cakes ( i separated it into 3 tins) its really a great success, I covered it with my homemade marshmallow fondant. This cake soft and tasty.. thanks for the recipe..

ErvinaS3603 ErvinaS3603 Posted 24 Jun 2011 7:07 AM

I think it is very good. I tried it out for my grandmothers last day at our house.
I thought the standards were superior!

Catmad30 Catmad30 Posted 18 Apr 2011 4:04 PM

Good recipe, but it comes out even better in my opinion if the eggs are separated - yolks beat in with the butter, the whites whipped and folded in just before it goes into the oven.

ClementW36762 ClementW36762 Posted 18 Mar 2011 5:55 PM

very tasty Smile added wee glug of brandy to buttercream .... went down a treat !

marie :) marie :) Posted 14 Mar 2011 8:59 AM

Very easy to make and so lovely. I added orange extract to the sponge and the butter icing yum yum

AlisonB38406 AlisonB38406 Posted 13 Mar 2011 1:08 PM

i've been making many internet recipes for the best chocolate cake for a while and now i've found it. it tasted absolutely lovely the family really enjoyed it.

cathrynB99904 cathrynB99904 Posted 08 Feb 2011 4:47 PM

backed this recipe at the weekend for the children and the loved it. a brillent and easy recipe. is the cream important in the chocolate butter icing. i had none in so i had to leave it out!!!

carolineK94956 carolineK94956 Posted 01 Feb 2011 10:12 PM

Lovely! My first time trying out this recipe and i like it alot! Easy to make and smooth texture! Smile

FooA89598 FooA89598 Posted 25 Dec 2010 5:53 AM

I baked this cake yesterday and it tasted so good. It was not dry at all. However, I used a bit more butter and used self rising flour instead of plain flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

DiptiP23683 DiptiP23683 Posted 26 Oct 2010 7:10 PM

yes, I have made this several times and it's lovely. TalithaP, it's a teaspoon (tsp)of vanilla you use and not a tablespoon (tbsp)maybe this is why it's too strong.

ClaireC90336 ClaireC90336 Posted 19 Oct 2010 2:03 PM

Made the cake and was asked by my daughter to make one for her birthday easy to follow and worth the effort.

AndyR12524 AndyR12524 Posted 18 Oct 2010 10:06 AM

this cake is brill, 5 min longer, 2tbs cream half tbs cocca powder for icing not as sweet lovely

julieW62889 julieW62889 Posted 06 Oct 2010 2:59 PM

Made this cake for my dads birthday and he really enjoyed it. Read some of the other comments and I disagree about the dryness, I find that perhaps instead of putting at gas mark 4 and turn it down to gas mark 3 helps. The icing is absoulotly amazing the only thing I would suggest is if you are doubling the quantities do not put in 2tbsp on vanilla essence as it is quite strong and a simple 1tbsp would suffice. All in all good cake.

TalithaP69763 TalithaP69763 Posted 10 Sep 2010 1:44 PM

i made this cake for my 6 year old son for his birthday he loved it i left it in a bit longer than i should have but it was even better

charlotteM34463 charlotteM34463 Posted 01 Sep 2010 9:40 AM

imade it 4 a mate birthdy she loved it and her 3 sons she wants me 2 make big one 4 sons birthday aswell as cupcakes

dobsy09 dobsy09 Posted 06 Aug 2010 4:26 PM

I made this recipe into cupcakes for my daughter's schools summer fair they went down a treat the kids loved them.

Kerry-Cashman Kerry-Cashman Posted 28 Jul 2010 8:01 AM

fab cake, altho it is a bit rich, i baked it for my husbands birthday and he was overjoyed with it. The frosting is yummy but i found doubling the quantities makes too much.

sarahL49494 sarahL49494 Posted 20 May 2010 4:27 PM

it tasted good but the shape came out all wrong and there wasnt enough batter for the second cake tin but it was delicious.

AishahF81017 AishahF81017 Posted 08 May 2010 4:34 PM

I think there are better chocolate recipes out there, but the icing is great

LesleyA35798 LesleyA35798 Posted 07 Apr 2010 10:50 AM

I agree with Lewis. My cake also turned out very dry although the taste was good. I used Greens organic chocolate and cocoa powder and found the chocolate flavour excellent. i which after think had something to do with adding the chocolate.

JaneK95740 JaneK95740 Posted 04 Apr 2010 7:07 PM

This cake is absolutely yummy, within five minutes there was only crumbs left on plate

maureenH26364 maureenH26364 Posted 03 Apr 2010 8:06 PM

Lovely, delicious cake, just made a small cake and 12 fairy/cupcakes. Another tip if you have a fan assisted oven you either need to lower the tempreture or reduce the time given in the recipe. And to avoid dryness I recommend placing the cake in a plastic container and cover with a plastic lid or place in a dish and cover with clingfilm to keep it moist.

LewisD78770 LewisD78770 Posted 02 Apr 2010 4:32 PM

Pretty easy to follow but my cake turned out very dry, can someone tell me what I did wrong?!

ElizabethC17585 ElizabethC17585 Posted 26 Mar 2010 2:02 AM

just finished making this chocolate cake and i made the extra icing to cover the hole cake,,its really really gorgeous and easy to make,,great recipe,,

adamT35343 adamT35343 Posted 06 Mar 2010 3:50 PM

Very straight forward to make and comes out perfect! Delicious Cake!

TrinityO75186 TrinityO75186 Posted 10 Feb 2010 10:24 AM

I agree with Annette. nice with the mocha icing

NickyN16729 NickyN16729 Posted 31 Jan 2010 6:09 PM

Very tasty cake, and very easy to make

AnnetteS48538 AnnetteS48538 Posted 10 Jan 2010 6:00 PM

baked this cake twice perfect both times. wife took one 4 the girls in her office they all loved it

martinP27944 martinP27944 Posted 08 Dec 2009 11:17 PM

this is a very tasty cake. a love the topping its so delisias.

christinaV34292 christinaV34292 Posted 23 Nov 2009 8:52 PM

this recipe is the best recipe i have ever seen hope it will taste good as well
could you make more sweet dishes please as i love your cooking and i have a sweet tooth
thank you

AvneetC39703 AvneetC39703 Posted 21 Nov 2009 2:14 PM

thank u thank u thank u for such an easy recipe. i cant believe ive finally baked a cake yippee!!!! i gave up trying to bake when my scones used to come out like hard biscuits. i baked this cake for my mums birthday and she is defo a chocolate lover. i recommend this recipe thanks again xx


hi, I need some tips for baking a good cake. Any cake cake that I make the top layer becomes hard, Y is that?? can any 1 help me. While making this cake everything went out well, except that I had to give it a more 10 min to bake coz the inside wasn't cooked properly, on the other hand the upper layer became hard. Can any one help me.

barnaliN27867 barnaliN27867 Posted 19 Nov 2009 12:10 AM

i have made this cake twice now and i find it to be very dry the first time i cooked it for the whole 25min the second time i cooked it for 20min still dry it is ok on the first day but the second day gets really dry need lashings of cream with it

choccheeks choccheeks Posted 05 Nov 2009 12:57 PM

I'm 12 and I made this for a cake-sale at school for charity, and wow! The results were amazing! It was one of the first cakes to be finished! Everybody was so amazed! I do recommend you to try out the pan of water above the cake when cooking method, as this does really help! If you're planning to impress, make this cake!
xSmile Atiya

AtiyaD15467 AtiyaD15467 Posted 14 Oct 2009 4:54 PM

LETITIAW186 LETITIAW186 Posted 13 Oct 2009 10:52 PM

It will help keep the cake moist if you dissolve the cocoa powder in a little warm water to make a thick paste. Allow it to cool before adding to the mixture.

Paul7rhg Paul7rhg Posted 01 Oct 2009 7:45 PM

did this yesterday and everybody loved it..

mirandaN43839 mirandaN43839 Posted 24 Sep 2009 7:14 PM

There are many ways to stop a cake from drying out, if you are using a fan assisted oven then you must place a pan of water in the oven with the cake as the moisture helps the cake and it cant dry out. Getting it out of the oven about five -ten minute before you should helps and turning down the temperature five - ten minute before its cooked as the shock from a hot oven to a cold kitchen affects the cake.

MichaelaW51030 MichaelaW51030 Posted 18 Sep 2009 8:43 PM

How can i make this moist? I want to make it for my examination, but its kinda dry, when i tested it at home.

DanielleT94905 DanielleT94905 Posted 13 Sep 2009 4:01 AM

I loved this cake.Really easy to make and bake.

MaryV617 MaryV617 Posted 12 Sep 2009 7:29 PM

i'm hopefully gonna make this cake today if my mummy lets me

deiS25521 deiS25521 Posted 27 Aug 2009 12:51 PM

Made this cake yesterday. It was well risen but i thought it was a bit dry and needed plenty of icing sugar ( which was delicious).

EilisB59136 EilisB59136 Posted 13 Aug 2009 1:22 PM

just made this cake which has risen well and tastes great. i even accidently put eggs in after the choc but still worked well!!

JessicaJ56279 JessicaJ56279 Posted 20 Jun 2009 3:47 PM

An easy recipe to follow but I found it a very dry cake. Delicious butter icing!

Michael P Michael P Posted 31 May 2009 3:12 PM

Lovely cake, but i didnt use the bircarb added extra baking powder and subtituted 50g of the plain flour with 50g of cornflour. was absolutely delicious. also i made a gananche for over the top. a mary berry recipe from uktvfood.co.uk

milllwallee milllwallee Posted 11 Apr 2009 6:45 PM

i made this for the first time today, I followed the recipe to the T, it was nice but a little dry, can anyone give me some advice so how to make it a little more moist?

clareO57269 clareO57269 Posted 27 Mar 2009 11:01 PM

Cake is sooooo yummy, made it 3 times in the space of 2 weeks. Family and friends love it when I make it. It is so easy to make and so easy to finish it all of. There should be an advertisment for plus size clothes at the bottom of this recipe (",)

danielleH49724 danielleH49724 Posted 26 Feb 2009 2:08 PM

could you give me a recipe for a 12" choc maderia cake for my sons wedding and how long does it keep for? please help many thanks michele.

micheleB38951 micheleB38951 Posted 20 Jan 2009 10:17 PM

i saw how u made the cake,so i came on to the website andcoppied theway umade the cake.i am going to make this cake on my husbands birthday which is on 5 novembre hope all goes well wish me the best .thankyou!!!!!!

shaistaR43594 shaistaR43594 Posted 31 Oct 2008 9:19 PM

I have just made this cake, smells yummy! Looking forward to eating it. Congratulations also !!

auntycarol auntycarol Posted 15 Oct 2008 10:21 PM

Congrats on baby Donna!!! Will be making this cake for all my special occaisions, like my wedding!!!

CatMannix CatMannix Posted 11 Oct 2008 8:42 PM

I made this cake today after watching the show. The recipe is incredibly easy to make and the end result was fab a very light cake!

I have eaten 2 slices already, one for me and one for baby!

I will definately make this again!

DonnaB66743 DonnaB66743 Posted 11 Oct 2008 5:21 PM