Chocolate Birthday Cake

This chocolate birthday cake is simple to make, tastes delicious and is perfect for decorating for a special celebration. 

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A slice of chocolate birthday cake filled with chocolate buttercream and covered in white fondant icing with multi-coloured fondant dots.

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!

A layer of road chocolate cake on a cooling rack with two more chocolate cakes in tins in the background.

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.

Spreading chocolate buttercream onto a round chocolate birthday cake using a palette knife. There are two more layers of chocolate cake on a cooling rack in the background.

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.

A slice of chocolate birthday cake filled with chocolate buttercream and covered in fondant icing on a blue napkin with a cake fork at the side. There are candles laying just behind it and behind that it the rest of the cake with another slice being removed on a cake slice.

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 🙂

A round birthday cake covered in white fondant icing decorated with multi-coloured stars and circles. The cake is topped with burning candles spelling "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"

A slice of chocolate birthday cake filled with chocolate buttercream and covered in white fondant icing with multi-coloured fondant dots.
5 from 11 votes

Chocolate Birthday Cake

This chocolate birthday cake is simple to make, tastes delicious and is perfect for decorating for a special celebration. 

Active Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 343 kcal


  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 230 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 230 g soft margarine you can also use softened unsalted butter too
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g 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


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan.
  2. Line your tins with liners or greaseproof paper.
  3. Grate the milk chocolate (100g).
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Once cooked, remove the cakes from the oven and leave them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes, remove the cakes from their tins and pop them onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Recipe Notes

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.

If you want to make this cake in one deep tin rather than two sandwich tins then the cooking time will need to be increased to 45-50 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Birthday Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 204mg 9%
Potassium 119mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 38g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 23g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 15.3%
Calcium 2.4%
Iron 6.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A slice of chocolate birthday cake filled with chocolate buttercream and covered with fondant icing. The rest of the cake is in the background with a gap showing where the slice had come from.

Free From/Suitable For…

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Corn-Free
  • Nut-Free
  • Soy-Free

The ingredients for this recipe are easily available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.

This chocolate birthday cake is simple to make, tastes delicious and is perfect for decorating for a special celebration.



  1. I made this for my daughter’s birthday cake this weekend, as I needed a chocolate cake I could put fondant icing on and it came out amazingly well. Very easy to bake, easy to decorate and absolutely delicious. A permanent addition to my recipe file!

  2. What size tin do I need to make a ten inch chocolate cake

  3. Hi Charlotte, I’m going to try this yummy looking cake for my nephews birthday but I do need to make it a few days in advance, will that be ok or is it more of an eat it as fresh as possible kind of cake? Thanks!

    • Charlotte Oates

      I usually make mine on a Thursday for a Saturday party and it’s still good to eat for a few days after the party. If you need to bake it even further in advance then you can freeze the sponges, just wrap them in clingfilm and defrost them thoroughly before decorating.

  4. Hi. I want to make a digger cake for my grandson, which means I have to dig a crater on the edge of the cake, will this recipe be ok for this. Can I cook this a week before and freeze? If so will it taste as good.

    Many thanks

    • Charlotte Oates

      Yes and yes. Wrap it it cling film if you’re going to freeze it and the defrost it thorough before decorating.

  5. Hi, I used your all in one birthday cake recipe to pratice making my daughter’s 1st birthday cake – it was lovely! Yesterday I made a Hungry Caterpillar themed cake using this chocolate recipe…was amazing!! Thank you! I love baking but new to decorating with fondant but the cake worked a treat for it!!! Thank you! xx

  6. Just a message to say that I’ve made the chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream for my son’s birthday today, I shall comment further later when we’ve tasted it but I must say it looks and smells delicious

    • Charlotte Oates

      I hope you enjoy it and that your son has a very happy birthday x

      • Delayed reply with the verdict…..sorry, but I must say it was gorg!! Everybody loved it, my father in law also asked me for the recipe. Thank you so much x

  7. Hello,

    Would this recipe work if baked in a ceramic dish? I have a large rectangular lasagna dish that I use for birthday cakes. The previous recipe I have used for the past few years has always gone down well but personally I think it is a little dense. When I used your all-in-one vanilla birthday cake recipe earlier this year (in round tins) I was very happy with it so I would like to try your chocolate recipe too. The amounts I think would be about right if I used the whole 2 layer recipe as one layer in my ceramic dish but woukd it turn out ok?
    Many thanks.

    • Charlotte Oates

      It should be fine. As long as your dish is quite deep you can put two layers in the one dish. It’ll take 45-50 minutes to cook.

      • I did it! It was great! And your chocolate buttercream that I filled it with was sooooo good.
        Thanks very much!

  8. Charlotte I agree with you and your other commenters – this is an anazing recipe! I made a pirate ship cake last weekend and it was fabulous! I also made 36 cupcakes with the recipe for 24: I wanted the cases less full to decorate them to transport easily. I used your calculator and it worked a treat, in 3 batches so it could fit into my Kenwood mixer. I used 12 eggs altogether! It only took 15 minutes to make each batch while the previous lot was baking. The 2 rectangles rose evenly and came out of the tins neatly. I used the whole of both cakes without needing to level them to stack! I froze them for easier cutting which worked fine. Best of all, it tasted divine and got rave reviews from all my family!

    • I’m so please you enjoyed the cake. Freezing them to make them easier to cut is a great idea. I’m going to give that a try next time I make a shaped cake.

  9. Wow what a lovely cake! Decided this year instead of spending £60+ each on 2 cakes for my sons birthday within a month of each other I thought for the first time ever I would attempt to make them. And this is the recipe I used. What Can I say, the feedback was amazing!!! Everyone asked for the recipe totally shocked it was my first attempt and some even said I should go into business!! Fab fab faaaaaab recipe!! So wish I could post a pic! Today I’m attempting my other sons cake… wish me luck and Thank you xxx

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment 🙂

      I’d love to see a picture of the cakes. You could email me (my email address is on my contact page) or share it with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

      Good luck with the next cake x

  10. Hi Charlotte, this worked amazingly well and was a dream to cut. I used it for a pinata cake. I would only say the cake was so delicious on its own that the icing and chocolate took away from its deliciousness. Mine rose fine. Maybe check temperature of oven if not rising enough? I’ve been searching for the best chocolate cake recipe and have found it!!! Thanks you!

    • I’m really pleased to hear that the cake worked out well for you. I designed it to be delicious in it’s own right (I find some chocolate cake isn’t actually all that chcolcately) so I’m glad you agree 🙂

  11. Hi charlotte.. Ur site is very easy to follow gonna try this for my son birthday. One question can I use the 25 cm round tin?..

  12. What size round tins would i need to make a two layer sandwich size like in the pictures?

  13. Wow, this is literally the recipe that has ended my battle with making a good chocolate cake!! I’m a terrible baker, yet this recipe has given me hope!
    Thank you so much – I will be using this from now on!!
    Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes 🙂 x

  14. Made this for my son’s 4th birthday and it was a massive success and so tasty, delighted I have found your website!

  15. Another proud parent. I used this chocolate cake recipe for my son’s birthday and he loved it as it was ‘really chocolatey’. I rarely bake but had no problem making it. I also used the buttercream recipe which tasted fab. My mum always used to make my birthday cake so feel happy to be carrying on the tradition.

  16. Hi there, I just made this cake for my son’s 6th birthday. He wanted a space theme decoration so I needed a good chocolate cake to decorate. Well, not only perfect consistency for decoration but also yummy cake. Thumbs up! Thank you.

  17. I was searching for a chocolate cake recipe to make for my sons 1st birthday that would be suitable to be decorated into a Peter rabbit veg garden. This recipe is perfect. I did a test cake the week before and loved it. I will not be using any other recipe again. The calculator is a stroke of genius too. I’ve made a very big rectangular cake and wouldn’t have know how much mix to put in it but the calculator gave the perfect amount.
    Thank you.

  18. Hi, this recipie looks amazing which I am going to use for my daughters birthday 🙂 I just wondered what advise you can give? How many days should this be made prior to the day you need it, taking in to account time to ice and decorate the cake?

    Many thanks

    • If I’m making the cake for a party on Saturday then I’ll usually bake the cake on the Thursday and decorate it on the Friday. If I’m making characters to go on the top then I’ll often make them earlier in the week and then they’re ready to go on the top when they’re needed. The cake is always good to eat for at least 3 days after the party as long as it’s kept in an airtight container.

  19. Hi Charlotte,

    I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe. After requests for a chocolate birthday cake from my little nephews and my son, I stumbled across this recipe. It is so easy, and so utterly delicious that I have now made it a number of times. Always turns out perfectly and tastes so yummy.

    I’m pleased to see that I can make and freeze ahead. My 4 year old (to be) nephew wants a star wars cake this weekend and I’m super busy, so it’s helpful to be able to make the cake in advance. Thank you!

  20. Hi Charlotte,
    Can you tell me if this chocolate recipe is for a 10″ round tin

    • This recipe is for an 8″ round tin. However, if you have a look under the recipe there’s a link to a calculator where you enter the size of the tin you have and it’ll tell you the ingredients you need to make the cake.

  21. This cake tastes so good. I got lots of great comments when I made it for my boyfriends birthday. I had a look through your site and saw your nutella buttercream, would that work with this cake also?

  22. I can see from all the positive comments that I’m not the only one to have found this a brilliant recipe. In fact the best cake I’ve made for a Birthday! Thanks x

  23. Hi Charlotte – I wanted to let you know I made this for my son’s birthday and everyone said how good it tasted. I don’t do much baking so was really pleased. Thank you.

    • Thanks Liz, I’ve tried to keep the recipe as simple as possible to hopefully help people who don’t bake all that often.

  24. Christina Mackay

    Just wanted to say, thank you for your chocolate cake and buttercream recipe. It was delicious! I’m a novice and decided to make my sons birthday cake for first time ever for his 4th Birthday which is today. I needed a receipe that allowed me to carve without cake crumbling. The first cake I tried for my husbands birthday back in Dec didn’t end up so well – think it was more me than actual cake, and my buttercream consistency wasn’t quite right, plus although it was chilled in fridge after being baked I hadn’t put it in freezer so might have been still slightly moist. Decided wanted to try a different recipe this time. Came across yours whilst looking for recipe ideas. Liked how yours was made up of combination of cocoa powder as well as chocolate, and as my kids love chocolate and cake was for a kids birthday, thought this a win win especially as full cocoa can be quite rich I find.

    Made and carved out Chase from Paw Patrol for my paw Patrol obsessed son using your yummy chocolate receipe. Grating chocolate was easy until it came to ends so just ended up chopping them into fine pieces. At first was worried how cakes would turn out as cake layers looked flat (ended up having to use two different size tins as hubby had bought one which was wrong size, and felt hadn’t put enough mixture in each tin, plus had seived self raising flour so wasn’t sure f it would make difference). Once cake layers layered together they looked normal and cakevnot flat. Wrapped cakes individually in cling film and layer of tin foil and froze over night, thawed them out next day to carve. What a delight it was to be able to carve cake without it falling to pieces (this is what happened to last one where section fell apart, and even with buttercream it wouldn’t hold). I used your buttercream to layer cakes together, and add a section onto my carving as my template was just off edge. It held perfectly! I then made up a chocolate ganache (cooking milk chocolate and double cream) just to crumb coat it. After i chilled it for few hours I then added fondant and decorated it.

    Well, today was the big day and I was worried how it would go down with family (especially as I never have made a cake before from start to finish until today, and my family is fussy, especially the kids – the oldest loves to tell you exactly how things are… he’s 4 and as it was for his birthday I was anxious!). The cake tasters verdict are in – the cake was a winner! My family loved the cake especially the kids who ended up having 3 pieces each, and even the hubby went back for second helpings and said how good it was.

    Just wanted to say thanks again for sharing your yummy recipe. I will be using it again on my family cake making journey

  25. Hi
    I’m going to make this for my sons birthday but there isn’t any butter cream recipe?
    Do you have one please ?

  26. Hey Charlotte I have tried this recipe but my cake has began to flater ,crispy on sides and cracked on top I really don’t have any idea what went wrong .is it because of leaving the cake for a long in the oven

    • I’ve never had that happen to me, but from what you’ve described it sounds as though it’s either been in the oven for too long or the oven temperature is too high.

  27. Hey Charlotte! I’m using your cake recipe and am finding it to be very thick, is it suppose to be that way? It’s so thick that I’m having trouble taking it out of the bowl and pouring/spreading it into the pan. I added more milk to ease it up – is this normal… or did I make a mishap. Photos of the batter would be helpful if you had any!

    -Totally freaking out

    • It’s not a pourable consistency so you’d need to spoon it into the tin, but it should be OK to spread. If you have a look at this video I made for Oven Pride for millionaires’ cupcakes, it’s the same cake mixture so you can see what the consistency should be like Go to about 35 seconds in to see the mixture.

      • Thanks Charlotte!! That video was extremely helpful. So I had to run out to the market to get more ingredients. I did everything again exactly the same this time – I swapped the butter I’d used for the margarine and it turns out I had used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. It was a WORLD of difference. Much lighter and smoother. The one I had made just before was the consistency of fudge D:!

        Thanks again!! I cannot wait to try your cake tomorrow!! <3

  28. This cake (and chocolate buttercream) is amazing….thank you. It’s the first time I’ve ever made my daughters birthday cake and I was so stressed about it….until I found this website, it made everything so easy! I used the calculator to make a slightly bigger, 3 layered cake and it’s perfect!

    • Fantastic, I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe and that the calculator was useful. I often go for three layers too.

  29. Hi Charlotte I’m planning on making this for my little boys birthday. I want to ice and decorate it so when would be the eradicate I can make the cakes if his birthday is the Sunday?

    • I usually make my cakes two days before and then decorate the day before, so for a Sunday birthday I’d bake on a Friday. However, the cake is always good for a a few days afterwards so you could bake a little earlier if you wanted, just ensure you store it in an airtight container to help it stay fresh for longer. Alternatively, if you want to make your cake far in advance you can freeze it. Wrap it (the cake only) in clingfilm and the defrost thoroughly before you want to decorate it.

      • Thank you that’s great! I might go with Thursday as Friday is my birthday! 😉 should I buttercream it and then store it or buttercream it the same day I ice? 🙂

        • Happy birthday for Friday!

          If you can, buttercream it and then store it. This will allow the buttercream to set a little and should make it easier to cover the cake with fondant.

  30. Hi,

    I have tried grating chocolate in the past and found that the bar just breaks as I am grating. Reading through the comments, I found one reader melted the chocolate. Would you recommend that and when should I add it?

    • I haven’t tried it but it should work. I like to grate the chocolate as it then gives a little extra burst of chocolatey flavour each time you find a grated piece. If you want to try melted chocolate, melt the chocolate before you start making the rest of the cake mix and then fold it in at the end before you put it into the tins. You need to ensure that it’s cool but still runny when you add it. If it’s warm it’ll start to cook the cake before it goes into the oven.

  31. Hi, can I use milk chocolate drops from the baking aisle instead of using grated chocolate?

    • Not really, I find that they’re too have and sink to the bottom so you get a soggy cake bottom and the weight means it doesn’t rise as well.

  32. Hi
    I’ve made this cake twice before and it tasted great but the sponge came out really flat. I’m now making it again for my daughters birthday, any tips to get it to rise? Not sure where I’m going wrong, I’m definitely not opening the door too early.

    • I’m not too sure. It doesn’t puff up lots but should pretty much double in size. Did you bake it as soon as you’d made the mixture? If you leave the mixture resting then the raising agent in the self raising flour won’t work as well.

  33. I’ve made this 3 times in as many months for various occasions and wasn’t really a fan of chocolate cake myself but wow, it’s delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  34. How deep is the layer once cooked?

    I’m looking for something quite deep with an open crumb (something akin to Mary Berry’s Victoria Sponge but richer and more chocolatey).

    Could I add some baking powder, perhaps?

    My cake is going to be 10″ and 3 layers so I’m not confident in the double-up approach… Any advice? TIA 🙂

    • Each layer is about 3cm deep when cooked. It’s quite a dense sponge (due to the added chocolate) but still quite light to eat. I wouldn’t recommend adding more baking powder, I tried it when developing the recipe originally and found that it rose more in the oven but then sank as it cooled.

  35. Hi Charlotte, could you tell me if this recipe would work by simply replacing the milk chocolate and coco for dark cocoa and dark chocolate? Looking to do mud colour sponge (for plant pot theme cake) but also don’t want it tasting bitter, would more sugar be needed?

    • It does work but only do it if you prefer the favour of dark chocolate to milk as it will have a richer flavour. If you want to stick with the milk chocolate flavour you could try a mix of the two or simply add a bit of dark brown food colouring.

      • Many thanks for your reply, I’m new to baking but followed both your vanilla and chocolate sponge recipes last week for my sisters Birthday both of which turned out amazing for my first attempt, just didn’t want to ruin this one for mum. Thank you will try mix of both x

  36. Hi Charlotte. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Please can you let me know whether this cake frozen? I’m going to be short of time the day before the party.


    • It can be frozen without any decoration. Simply wrap the cakes tightly in clingfilm before freezing and allow the cakes to defrost throughly before icing.

  37. Hi Charlotte. I tried this recipe and it was absolutely delicious! There was hardly any rise to it though so I’m trying to work out where I went wrong. Only thing I did differently was use butter instead of margarine ( I always do this) and used chocolate chips as I didn’t have a block of chocolate to grate. Would either of these things have stopped it rising?


    • Butter instead of margarine shouldn’t have made a difference (I’ve used both and had similar results). The chocolate chips may have made a difference. When I tried chocolate chips I found that they sank to the bottom leaving it soggy and heavy, this might also have impacted the amount of rise.

  38. Hi Charlotte,

    This recipe looks great and I intend on using it for my sons birthday this weekend so thank you…. a good chocolate cake recipe is hard to find. I’m just wondering if you have had any feedback as to whether this cake freezes ok?


    • Charlotte Oates

      I’ve not tried it but it should do. I would freeze it undecorated and then decorate it after defrosting.

  39. I’m planning on making this cake in a rectangular 32 x 22cm tin. I want to cover it in fondant icing. I’ll be making it from scratch, do you know
    the quantities for this please?

  40. Francesca Hatton-Beazley

    Thank you for posting your wonderful chocolate cake recipe. I used it very recently for my daughters sixth birthday and had to decorate it with a Trolls theme. It worked perfectly first time and went down a storm. Best chocolate cake recipe ever and nice and simple to follow. The buttercream just finished it off perfectly too. So thank you again xx

  41. Hi Charlotte I was wondering if you can use your all in one recipe for an 8inch deep cake tin rather than two separate tins?

    • Charlotte Oates

      It should be fine. It’ll need cooking for longer so don’t check it until it’s been in the over for 45 minutes.

  42. Hi
    How long should i bake in 10″ round tin?
    Many thanks

    • Charlotte Oates

      If you use the ingredients recommended in the calculator then the cooking time will be the same as in the original recipe.

  43. Baked this cake last night and iced just with your buttercream recipe and had so many compliments! Easy to do and perfect to eat! Thank you.

  44. Hi I want to make your chocolate birthday cake for Sunday this week. When do you think the earliest I can make this ?

    • Charlotte Oates

      I usually bake mine on a Thursday for a Saturday party and it’s still good to eat a few days later as long as it’s stored in an airtight container.

  45. Hi, can I use regular flour? How much baking powder should I put? Planing to make of two layer cake (10″) – one vanilla and one chocolate. How long and at what temperature should I bake it? Thank you. This recipe looks amazing.

  46. An absolutely fabulous chocolate cake! I doubled up the ingredients, divided between two 20cm tins and baked for an hour (I was sat in front of the oven keeping an eye lol). The smell of chocolate in the kitchen is divine and the cakes are moist but firm enough to now buttercream and fondant ice for a Dan TDM theme cake. Thank you so much for providing what will now be my go to chocolate cake recipe

  47. Hi Charlotte can this recipe chocolate birthday cake be used as cupcakes.thanks.?

  48. Hi,

    I’m just about to go shopping so I can start baking this evening ahead of decorating it for my dad’s 60th tom.. I plan to use a deep 14″ tin and although I have calculated for 2 layers my plan is to 1/4 the quantities and cook 4 thin layers. Could you advise on cooking time, I was intending still to cook at 140 fan.

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Charlotte Oates

      I’ve not tried it as a thinner cake, only a thicker one so I’m not sure of the exact cooking time. I’d suggest trying 20-25 minutes. Alternatively you could make 2 layers and then slice them in half to get 4 thin layers.

  49. Hi,
    I also love this recipe :-). How far in advance can I bake and decorate. For a birthday party on a Sat, is baking on the Wednesday too early.
    Erin xx

    • It should be fine. I normally bake it on a Thursday for a Saturday party but we’ll then happily eat any leftovers for a few days afterwards. Just make sure you keep it in an airtight container if you can to stop it drying out.

  50. I made this for my daughter’s birthday and we all loved it! When putting butter cream in the middle I also sprinkled some chocolate chips. This worked really well as it gave a bit of texture to the cake. I have bookmarked this page because I will definitely make it again. It was moist and firm enough to hold the fondant icing. Thank you!

  51. how do you make your chocolate butter cream please ive followed other recipes for it online and it just doesnt seem to be thick

  52. What sort of chocolate would you recommend ? Also do you think if I did a chocolate and a vanilla I could stack then? Would the chocolate withstand the vanilla?

    • The chocolate would withstand the vanilla just fine. Add a couple of dowels or straws cut to the height of the cake for a little extra support and put the vanilla layer on a thin board the same size as the cake.

      I’ve used a few different chocolates to make this cake. I tend to go for ones in the baking aisle as they tend to cope with heat better (Dairy Milk for example is terrible for baking as it tends to go grainy). The ones I use most often are Lindt, Green & Black’s, Dr Oetker or Aldi own brand.

      • Carly Townsend

        If using Lindt or Green & Blacks should they be a baking version or is the normal bars of these brands perfectly OK?

        • Charlotte Oates

          Both Lindt and Green & Blacks normal chocolate are great for baking.

          • Hi Charlotte

            I gave bars of galaxy in the cupboard – likely to go grainy?

          • It should be OK as long as it’s finely grated. I wouldn’t use it for the buttercream though as it find it quite temperamental to melt.

  53. Hi Charlotte can you please help me. My little girls 2nd birthday is Tuesday and I really want to make a Minnie Mouse cake. I need it to feed 20+ people. I really want to make a simple cake, vanilla spoke. Want to cover it in white icing which I am not sure how to do and then maybe decorate with icing in the shape of Minnie Mouse. Please give me some help and need to do this weekend. It would be so appreciated

    • Hi Lisa. My vanilla sponge recipe is perfect for birthday cakes and I’ve had a lot of great feedback on it. If only serves 12 but if you head over to the calculator (linked at the bottom of the recipe) you can get the ingredients for a larger cake. To feed 20+ people I’d say you’d probably need something along the lines of a 28cm round cake or 25cm square cake with 2 layers, or if you went up to 3 layers then a 23cm round cake or 20cm square cake. To cover it with icing I’d suggest making some vanilla buttercream (there’s a link in the recipe to the too) to cover it with and the covering it with fondant icing (which you can buy ready made from the supermarket). If you search for minnie mouse cake on Pinterest you’ll find loads of ideas, I think the ones with are red with white spots and a simple black minnie outline look really effective. You could then get some minnie mouse candles to top it off. I hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions.

  54. Hi, thanks for this recipe – I made a test version for my son’s birthday cake and it was delicious! Finally a good chocolate birthday cake recipe! I do have just one question, would this cake be freezable? I need to make four layers (yikes) for his cake ahead of his party this weekend, planning to ice and decorate on Friday but it would help if I could make a layer or two today (weds) and freeze until then – do you know whether this cake would be ok when defrosted?
    Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

    • I haven’t actually tried freezing this cake so I’m not 100% sure. The recipe is very similar to my vanilla cake which does freeze well so I would think it would be OK. Make sure you wrapped tightly with cling film if you do.

  55. Hi Charlotte, Just wanted to say a big thank you for the chocolate cake recipe. I’ve made it for my dad’s 70th birthday (you’re never too old for choccie cake) and it’s delicious!!

  56. Made this cake with just a minor tweak (plain chocolate melted rather than grated it- sorry couldn’t help myself) and I can confirm it really is a very good chocolate cake. I shall be making it again and again!

  57. Hi Charlotte,going to use this for Patrick’s birthday cake. He wants a pokeball cake so going to do 2 domes. Will estimate how much to make from your calculator but how full should the tin be/ how much does it rise? Speak soon, Sarah

    • You always go for the ambitious shapes! I usually fill my tins about 2/3 full but I’ve never used a spherical tin so I’m not sure if they would rise as much given that the sides go out at the top. Do you line your tin? (I’m guessing not given the shape). I’ve not tested it in unlined tins (to be sure it’ll come out easily), you’d definitely need to grease them really well.

    • Text me if you’ve got any questions as I’ll spot that quicker than I’ll spot a comment on here xx

  58. Hi, I’ve just made this in a 20cm deep tin planning to cut in half. It was still raw in the middle after 45 minutes so I left it another 10 and it’s still raw in the middle, but now has a massive crack in the middle of the top which is also domed. Any idea what might have gone wrong? I should think I should be able to cover up these issues by trimming bits off here and there when it’s finally cooked, but I’d love to make a lovely flat cake in future!

    • Hi Claire, I’m not totally sure as I haven’t tested the recipe in the particular size tin. I usually use two sandwich tins and don’t have a problem with doming and cracking so maybe switch to splitting the mix into two tins and hopefully it’ll work better.

      • Well it was a resounding success! Many compliments about how this was actually a nice cake and not at all dry (seems it’s what people expect from a children’s birthday cake!) the addition of chocolate is definitely worth it. Will be making it for my next birthday child.

  59. Hi this cake looks amazing. I recently tried your vanilla cake and got very good feedback, so going to try this one today. I was just wondering how do you cost the cake. I’m doing a 10″ square using this recipe and your chocolate buttercream but I’ve no idea how to work out costings and hoping you’d be able to help. Thanks.

  60. Hi, I never normally post comments to anything online! But I made this chocolate cake for my son’s birthday and must report that it was absolutely delicious! I don’t usually make chocolate cakes because I find they never taste as good as I want, and I’m certainly no baker! But I followed this recipe to the letter and was so pleased with the results and had of compliments on it. I’ll definitely make it again and will also be attempting the vanilla one for my daughter’s birthday party tomorrow!

  61. Hi there,

    would you have the quantities for a 12 inch tin please? And cooking time. Thank you very much it looks amazing xx

  62. Hello Charlotte,

    I am baking your recipe for my flatmate’s birthday this weekend and i had a small question for you.
    As i only have 1 baking tin, could i bake half of the mixture first and then the other half? Will the waiting time affect the texture of the cake??


    • Personally I wouldn’t as the raising agent in the self-raising flour starts to work as soon as it mixes with the wet ingredients and you need to get it into the oven quickly for it to rise properly. If you leave it sitting around while half bakes the second half probably won’t rise as well as if it had been cooked immediately. If you have a deeper tin then you could put all of the mix in one tin and cut it in half after it’s baked. If you take this approach then it will take longer to cook so don’t check it until it’s been in the oven for 45 minutes.

  63. H Charlotte

    Should there be baking powder in this?


    • No, it doesn’t need any as long as you use self-raising flour. I tried a version of this with extra baking powder and it puffed up too much and ended up cracking and collapsing.

  64. Hi Charlotte

    I gave now done the vanilla sponge three times and love itI would be using a 23 cm tin can I please have the recipe for that? Also could I use chocolate orange?


    • Hi Karen, for a 23cm round cake you’ll need to multiply all of the ingredients by 1.25.

      Personally I wouldn’t try using a Chocolate Orange. I’ve attempted to cook with it before and it really doesn’t like heat, sadly going bitter and grainy. If you want to add a hint of orange then you could grate in some orange zest or add some orange extract. Without trying it I’m not too sure how much you’d need, if I were doing it I’d add about 1/2 tsp, have a little taste of the batter (assuming you don’t mind cake batter as it contains raw eggs – I taste mine but I know some people won’t) and add more if needed.

      • Hi Charlotte

        Apologies for messaging again , i worked this out to be

        250g self raising
        50g cocoa powder
        287.5g caster sugar
        5 eggs
        287.5 marg
        125g chocolate
        2.5tsp milk

        Is this right? Also will i replace the vanilla with the orange extract? I plan to use the vanilla butter cream so i can add food colouring to make it orange? I am going to make a pumpkin face on the top for halloween this would work ok wouldn’t it?

        Thank you!

        • Yes, those seem right and you should be fine to simply substitute the vanilla extract for the orange (although you may want to check the flavour to ensure the orange comes through as strong as you’d like it).

          You absolutely fine to colour the buttercream. Makes sure you use the gel colours (in the little pots) rather than the watery colours in the little bottles. Add the food colouring before you add the milk to the buttercream as then you can get the consistency just right.

  65. Hello Charlotte. I am looking to buy some cake tins. In your recipe it says 2 x 20cm tins. Just seen their are 20cm-8cm and 20cm-4.5cm. Can I use same recipe for the deep tin as well as the two shallower tins? Hope that makes sense. Thanks Janette

    • I’ve not tried it in a deeper tin but it should work. If you put all the mixture into one deep tin then it’ll take longer to cook, I’d suggest not checking until it’s been in the oven for 45 minutes (if you check it sooner then it won’t be set in the centre and is likely to sink). I hope that helps.

  66. Hi Charlotte l made the chocolate cake for a fund raising and got a lot of good feedback ,so easy too .Thanks a million

  67. Can you give me the quantities for a 10inch cake tin please? Thanks

    • For a 10″ cake you’d need to multiply all of the ingredients by 1.5…

      300g self raising flour
      60g cocoa powder
      345g caster sugar
      6 large eggs
      345g soft margarine
      1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      150g milk chocolate
      3 tsp milk

      • Christine percival

        I tried your chocolates cake but twice but it is not rising properly it’s rising to about one inch and I follow your recipe right please help x

        • That does sound a little shorter than mine usually are (although only a little as the weight of the grated chocolate means they don’t rise really high). Unfortunately I’m not too sure what could have happened as I’ve made this cake many times and not had the same problem.

  68. Thank you so much for coming up with this recipe! I’ve just used it to make my 5 year old a Lightning McQueen birthday cake and had so many nice comments about how good it tasted. I’ve had to forward the link to quite a few of the people who tasted it already! So much better than just adding cocoa to a Victoria sponge cake recipe and much easier to carve into a car shape too – didn’t just end up with a pile of crumbs! It’s still really moist 4 days after I made it (and 2 days after cutting it) so think I could risk making it a little more in advance next year to take the stress levels down :-). Your calculator is fantastic too – helped me get a good idea how to scale up this recipe. Thank you!

    • Thanks Pippa. It was designed to be chocolate-y and easy to carve so I’m glad you think I got it right 🙂

      I’ve been asked to create a calculator specifically for the chocolate cake, it’ll be ready in the next couple of weeks.

  69. Hi Charlotte,
    I was looking at making this chocolate cake and making it two sizes so I could stack it, do you think this would work with this recipe. Would the bottom layer be heavy enough to take the weight of another layer?

    Thank you,

    • I’ve not tried it but it’s a pretty study cake so should be fine for 2 tiers. If you’re unsure then you could add a few straws/dowels cut to the height of the cake into the bottom layer to add additional support for the top tier.

  70. Hello Charlotte, l made your Chocolate Cake for a fundraising and got good feed back ,Thanks so much a cake that never fails

  71. Hello Charlotte thank you for sharing this recipe with us, I’m sure it’s lovely as your vanilla sponge recipe. Can you please share the ingredients for different size and shape tins too please.

    • I definitely will, I just need to find a spare hour or so to do the calculations and write up the post. I’ll let you know when it’s ready. In the meantime if there’s a particular size of cake you need working out then let me know.

      • Thank you so much, thinking of baking a 10″ square mine craft cake for my friends son birthday.

      • Kylie Roxbrough-green

        Hi there. Your reciepe is fab I get so many comments on how nice it is. But do you have the ingredients for a square 8 inch tin please

        • Hi Kylie. I’ve finally gotten around to creating a calculator so you can easily work out the ingredients you need for different sizes of tins. You can find it here. I hope you find it useful.

  72. This is a great recipie. Thank you. My kids always request a chocolate birthday cake but with a fondant design. This turned out both tasty and easy to ice in fondant.

  73. I know this is a reallllly basic question, but how to you make the chocolate bitter cream?

  74. Hi Charlotte, I’ve used your all in one vanilla sponge birthday cake recipe before and it went down a treat. I am doing a cake sale for charity on Sunday. Will be raffling 2 6″ cakes ( one vanilla and one chocolate) what quantities should I use for the chocolate cake, and am I ok to us one 6″tin and cut the cake in half?..

    • Hi Katie,

      I’ve not tried making this cake as a deep cake and then cutting it in half before but it should work. It will take longer to cook so I’d check it after 45 minutes rather than the 30 recommended in the recipe.

      The quantities for a 6″ chocolate cake are…

      100g self raising flour
      20g cocoa powder
      115g caster sugar
      2 large eggs
      115g soft margerine
      1/8 tsp vanilla extract
      50g milk chocolate
      1 tsp milk

      I hope your cake sale goes well and you raise lots of money for your charity xx

  75. Hi Charlotte.
    I live in Europe, is tsp, a tea spoon or a table spoon?
    Can i use a normal spoon?
    Thanks for your answer!

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Valia,

      A tsp is a teaspoon, you would see tbsp for tablespoon. I always use a measuring spoon to ensure I get the right quantities but as long as your teaspoons are a pretty regular size then it should be fine to use just make sure the contents of the spoon are flat and not heaped.

  76. so easy and so so tasty and so chocolatey! I made a 13 (yes13!) egg version for my sons birthday. and it was all eaten. I am not known for my love of cooking. being in the kitchen usually puts me in a foul mood. but people kept coming up to me with a surprised expression saying ‘Caroline – that was really good!’ – and that made it all worth it. thank you x

    • Charlotte Oates

      Loved this! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I always know I enjoy a recipe when I post it but it really make me smile to know that others have too x

  77. Always good to have a great chocolate cake recipe up your sleeve……. I have a favourite GF birthday cake recipe too…. but I suspect it wouldn’t hold up to carving for shapes (I’ve never actually tried though….)
    This looks great though….. love the chocolate grated into it!

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Kate. I’ve had the same problem in the past – a lovely chocolate cake recipe but completely unsuitable for carving and decorating. It took quite a lot of baking to get the balance of chocolatey, not too dry and sturdy enough for carving. I just hope everyone who tries it agrees.

  78. I am so looking forward to trying out your birthday cake recipe as I like to bake. But I always use buttercream icing on my cakes as I have never tried using the rolled icing but I am going to give it a go how simple is it.

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Darlene, I always use a layer of buttercream underneath the fondant as it helps to get the fondant smooth and I also prefer the flavour (I use fondant because I can make it look pretty, I only eat the cake and buttercream). Using fondant isn’t too tricky as long as you take a bit of time and care over it. If you’re not too sure what you’re doing then there are loads of tutorials on You Tube which will show you what to do. I sometimes find a I have a few lumps and bumps which I hide under the decoration!

  79. Hi Charlotte,

    I am so happy you have done another cake recipe, if it’s anything like your vanilla it will be absolutely delicious. When u say butter what brand would you recommend as I have tried butter before and it makes my cake taste salty, so I normally just use stork.

    • Charlotte Oates

      Ooh I hope you enjoy it!

      It doesn’t matter which brand of butter you use as long as you choose unsalted (I’ve added the unsalted bit into the recipe now). I usually use stork too as I’m terrible at remembering to get the butter out of the fridge before I start to allow it to soften and the cakes with stork rise well and have a great texture.

    • Hi Charlotte, can this recipe be adapted to an A4 size? I have an A4 baking tin as I want to make a rugby pitch and I cannot find a recipe.

      Many thanks

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