This chocolate birthday cake is simple to make, tastes delicious and is perfect for decorating for a special celebration.
One question I’ve been asked a lot in the past is whether I can recommend a really good chocolate birthday cake recipe, and I couldn’t… until now.
I hate getting questions that I can’t give a helpful answer to, so over the past few weeks I’ve been a busy bee trying to perfect my chocolate cake recipe. Now this couldn’t be just any old chocolate cake, it had to be perfect for a birthday which meant it…
1) Must be simple to make
I get a lot of comments on my all-in-one vanilla sponge birthday cake and the ones that always makes me smile the most are when people say that they never bake and the simplicity of the recipe has given them the confidence to do more in future. I wanted this chocolate cake to be that simple to make… a cake even the novice-est of cooks can make.
This cake is so simple… chuck it all in and mix it up. The only piece of culinary skill you need is a bit of grating!
2) Must be suitable for decorating
When I make birthday cakes for my boys I love to go to town on the decoration (you can see some on my cakes in my cake gallery). In order for the cake to work as a decorated cake it can’t dome too much on top or sink in the middle and it must be sturdy enough to be carved into various shapes for decorating without crumbling.
3) Be chocolatey
This is actually the big reason I’ve not been able to recommend chocolate cake recipes until now. All the cakes I’d made in the past with the right texture (see point 2) used just cocoa powder and they simply weren’t chocolatey enough. To give this cake some extra chocolate-iness it includes lots of actual chocolate grated into the cake mix alongside the cocoa powder.
Photographing this cake caused a lot of confusion in my house as I decided it needed to be decorated just like a birthday cake with lots of colourful fondant. Josh (who’s 3) kept asking whose birthday it was and then started getting all excited about Father Christmas coming (because apparently he delivers presents for birthdays too). I probably didn’t help matters by deciding to light the candles – a completely unnecessary step as I really only wanted to photograph the inside of the cake after they’d been blown out – we had fun doing it together though 🙂
Chocolate Birthday Cake
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
You can also use this mix to make 16 cupcakes. Simply reduce the cooking time to 20-25 minutes.
- Weighing scales
- Electric mixer (you can also mix this cake by hand using a wooden spoon and a large bowl)
- Measuring spoons
- 2x 20cm round cake tins (I use these Delia ones – if they’re good enough for Delia then they’re good enough for me!)
- Cake tin liners or greaseproof paper (I love these reusable bake-o-glide liners)
- Cooling rack
- 200g self-raising flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 230g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 230g soft margarine (you can also use softened unsalted butter too)
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 100g milk chocolate (choose something from the baking aisle in the supermarket as it will cope well with the heat in the oven without going grainy).
- 2 tsp milk
If you would like to make this cake in a different size then you can use my chocolate cake calculator to find the ingredients you need.
You can find my recipe for the chocolate buttercream to cover the cake here.
- Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan.
- Line your tins with liners or greaseproof paper.
- Grate the milk chocolate (100g).
- Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl (200g self-raising flour, 40g cocoa powder, 230g caster sugar, 4 large eggs, 230g soft margarine, ¼ tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp milk and the grated chocolate) mix on a low speed until fully combined.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and spread it out so it’s pretty even (it doesn’t have to be perfect as it’ll even out in the oven, but roughly flat is good).
- Put the tins in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes put a skewer in the middle and check if it comes out clean. If it does it’s done, if not pop it back in for a couple more minutes and check again.
- Once cooked, remove the cakes from the oven and leave them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the cakes from their tins and pop them onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Calories: 340 kcal (17%), Fat: 19.1g (27%), Saturated Fat: 6.5g (32%), Carbohydrates: 14g (14%), Sugar: 24.0g (27%), Fibre: 1.6g (7%), Protein: 5.1g (10%), Salt: 0.5g (9%)
This is the estimated nutritional information per serving (this is for the cake only and excludes any icing). Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.
Free From/Suitable For…
- Suitable for Vegetarians
The ingredients for this recipe are easily available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.