Chocolate Cake

Entire books have been written about chocolate cakes. And I am not qualified by far to write another one. I can however speak to the recipe I use again and again. I have tried many chocolate cakes and many have been very good. I finally settled on a simple and tasty sponge that is universally used. It is great as a tea cake and makes a light and tasty birthday cake. It lends itself well to decorating and is a crowd pleaser. I have used this mixture for cupcakes and wedding cakes. It keeps well for days. And most importantly, it is easy to make.

Ingredients for cake

Serves 10-12 slices or 12-15 cupcakes.

  • 225g butter or margarine
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225 self raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 3TB cocoa
  • 3TB hot water
  • 4 large eggs

Ingredients for chocolate buttercream

  • 250g butter/margarine at room temperature
  • 3 c sifted icing sugar
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2-5 TBS of milk or cream if icing is too stiff

Method to make cake

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • Grease 2 round 20cm pans or 3 round 18cm tins.
  • Line the bottom of the pans with non-stick baking paper.
  • Mix the cocoa and water together in a small bowl so that you have a chocolatey paste that looks like melted chocolate.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer or use a stand mixer.
  • Add the cooled down cocoa mixture and beat on medium to high speed until everything is well blended, smooth and paler in colour
  • Divide batter equally between the pans, level out and bake in the heated oven for about 25-30 minutes.
  • When cake is done, it will appear well risen and will come away from the sides of the tin.
  • You can also insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake to see if the cake is done. Once you remove the toothpick, it will come away cleanly.
  • Leave cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to completely cool.

Chocolate buttercream

  • Beat room temperature butter in a stand mixer or with an hand-held mixer till smooth, creamy and pale in colour.
  • Add the sifted icing sugar and cocoa in 2 batches and beat well.
  • Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • If the icing is very stiff, start by adding one TB of milk or whipping cream.
  • Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to make sure everything is well mixed and there aren’t any lumps.
  • This process of beating the icing should take about 5 minutes.
  • If you keep beating you get a very airy, whipped buttercream. 


Assemble cake

  • Sandwich layers of cake with lush buttercream.
  • Cover with top layer of cake.
  • Generously cover the entire cake with buttercream. 
  • Pipe rosettes or stars on cake to decorate.
  • Covering the tops of the cake with raspberries or strawberries also make a beautiful cake.


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