Chocolate birthday cake

Chocolate birthday cake

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(90 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 25 mins


Serves 12
We used colourful candles rather than artificial sweets to brighten up this tasty birthday cake

Nutrition and extra info

  • Un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal432
  • fat18g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs65g
  • sugars51g
  • fibre3g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.41g
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  • 140g butter, plus extra for the tin



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 2 egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 225g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 250g natural yogurt

To decorate

  • 300g golden icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sieved
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 3-4 tbsp boiling water
  • 50g each white, plain and milk chocolate, broken into squares


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line the base of a 18 x 28cm cake tin or tray. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl; beat together with electric hand beaters until light and fluffy. add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition.

  2. Sieve the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl, then tip in any bran left in the sieve. Pour in the natural yogurt. Stir everything to a smooth mixture and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for 20-25 mins until just firm and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. Cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  3. For the icing, sieve the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl, then pour in the butter and 2 tbsp just-boiled water. Stir together to a smooth, spreadable consistency. if it’s too stiff, very carefully add a little more boiling water, drop by drop.

  4. Spread the icing over the top of the cake, using a palette knife dipped in hot water. Will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  5. Melt the chocolates in three different bowls in the microwave on High for 1 min or over a pan of simmering water. Spoon the melted chocolates into three plastic disposable piping bags. Snip the ends off and pipe 12 simple shapes on top of the cake. Leave to set. Just before serving, cut the cake into 12 squares and push in the candles.

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Comments (151)

borumha2's picture

This is really as good as others have said. I made it for my sons birthday cake, some kids took home extra slices and one kid wanted the recipe for his mother! My daughter wants me to make it for her birthday too albeit with pink icing. I made two cakes and sandwiched them together with a traditional buttercream, very wholesome and chocolatey cake, easy to make.

bsturge's picture

I recommend this cake. Easy and really moist. I made it with white flour and normal caster sugar. Doubled the recipe and baked in a large roasting tin.
Read the comments and made a ganache icing with melted chocolate, butter and condensed milk. It was delicious! My best chocolate cake recipe.

sks1994's picture

This cake is sooooo good and easy to make! Fab recipe for big events and easy to double/triple even! Sure the icing isn't to everyone's taste but I just made my own buttercream one :)

eleanorskye's picture

I made this cake for my housemate's birthday yesterday and it went down a treat! It wasn't sickly-sweet but still really chocolatey, and the yoghurt kept it beautifully moist. I used white SR flour instead of wholemeal (as it was all I had), and I had to add a splash of milk as the batter was slightly too thick, but otherwise the recipe worked well and was pretty idiot-proof!
Seeing others' comments about the icing I opted for a classic chocolate buttercream to decorate so can't give an opinion on the icing recipe given, but the cake was a hit and I'll definitely be making it again in future!

watchstrap's picture

Made this today for my son's 10th birthday party to slice, wrap and give out for kids to take home. Thought it worked well as it was easy to slice and not all sticky and squedgy like shop party traybakes.
I made it with 50/50 wholemeal and white SR flour and used Green and Blacks cocoa powder as I find this more chocolatey than cheaper brands. Decided to swap topping for a choc fudge topping using melted butter, cocoa, milk and icing sugar. Decorated with grated Cadburys Dairy Milk and 3 tubes of smarties. Cooked in 9' square silicone tin and it needed an extra 10 mins.
It looked the business and would make again. Simple and easy. Tastes very moist and not too sweet. If you dislike the super sweet death by chocolate style cakes then try this recipe. A nice balanced cake for adults and children.

fairystoryteller's picture

I used white self raising flour and an old recipe of Katie Stewart's for chocolate fudge frosting (having read the comments about the icing I thought I'd stick to my tried and tested recipe). I made the cake for a colleague's birthday - everyone really liked it and I thought it was lovely too. I give this recipe four stars, but with my amendments it would be a five star cake.

Amymum22's picture

Hi There ! , in the recipe it says " Natural Yoghurt" , what do they mean by this & what type of yoghurt would i use ?

Please i need answers ! Thanks

cazhgs's picture

You can buy natural yogurt from most supermarkets, it will say natural yogurt on the carton. I would think natural greek yogurt would be good.

georgies_mum's picture

a fab cake especially for kids parties as cuts into 12 squares, its not too sweet and the yogurt makes it so moist, it cuts nicely and is not too crumbly. keeps for a couple of days but best eaten fresh. I was not too optimistic the first time I made it, the batter looks a bit unappetising, but persevere! I would recommend you use the cake tin size as directed, I tried to be clever and make a loaf shape and was a complete disaster, I find a silicone 'tin' perfect for this. I haven't deviated from the ingredients listed, but have made it 6 or 7 times in the right tin and always had great results. I didn't get on with the topping either, I melt a couple of bars of chocolate and decorate with dolly mixtures and popping candy ( at the last minute) looks fab with candles and a sparkler or 2!

emmajane7's picture

This is a firm favourite in our house. I have been using it as the basis for my children's and niece's birthday cakes for the last 6 years. Doubling quantities when necessary and baking in a deep round or square tin, then filling with buttercream and decorating. I use white SRF as I never think ahead to buy wholemeal. It has a lovely taste, not too sweet and is lovely and moist. It is light, yet a good density for carving if you are making a novelty cake.

blurpyblurp's picture

I've made this a couple of times previously using normal SR flour, etc. The cake turns out fine as usual but for some reason the icing was too sticky so it didn't spread nicely on the cake. Need to add more water than suggested to the icing to make it nice and smooth

zandra1968's picture

This is a lovely cake, but I changed it a bit: use half wholemeal and half white self raising flour. Because I couldn't find self raising wholemeal, I added one big teaspoon of baking powder too. The mix was very thick at the end so I added lots of milk until it was smooth and more mixable. Then I put it in the oven, very sceptical about its likely success. But it was delicious!

aishaquadir's picture

All I can say is that if you make this for someones birthday, it's not going to be a very happy birthday for them.
I swapped the wholemeal flour for regular self-raising, added melted chocolate to the batter and it still did not turn out as well as I had hoped. Definitely not sweet enough and fairly dry.
Although, when fresh from the oven it does go down a treat with vanilla ice-cream!

donnamatley's picture

I'm made this tonight, smelt lovely, followed recipe, cake has sunk in the middle, don't know what went wrong

allyw97's picture

Could you use double cream instead of natural yogurt?

666awy's picture

Gorgeous cake. Light and very tasty. Make it even more choctastic by chopping up a bar of dark choc (I used Green & Black's 85%) and adding that to the mix plus a couple of tablespoons of Cointreau. Yummmmmmmmmmm !

juliaprior's picture

Great cake. My son has requested this cake for his birthday for the last 3 years! Always goes down a treat. The wholemeal flour gives a good texture.

Now just made again for my son's birthday, must be 5 years in a row now! He asks for the same one every year :-)

emmaj1983's picture

as a bit of a disaster in the kitchen I find simple - idiot proof recipes hard to come by and was relieved to come accross this easy recipe to make my sons birthday cake this year. He was so pleased and surprised he asked if I had brought it! Thumbs up from me. Completely dummy proof :)

abbielouise123's picture

wonderful however i dont use golden caster sugar or wholemeal flour but i did a bakeoff at school using this recipe and i came 2nd and got 10 out of 10 for taste cant get better than that i think its the yogurt which makes it so delicious now going to be making it for my teacher as its last day of term

juliebahrain's picture

Not chocolately enough for us! I agree that as quite plain cake it would be suitable for young children. Made in a 7"x7" square tin so it was deep and I had to cook it for twice the amount of time. I found the icing needed a fair bit more water than specified. Overall a pleasant, easy to make cake but nothing spectacular.


Questions (2)

somebody098's picture

In Step 2 does Cocoa mean chocolate power, chocolate chunks?

debravation1's picture

i am battling to find the correct tin size for this receipe. If i was to use a 18x24cm tin instead would it make a hugh difference to the way the cake turns out. Any suggestions would be most grateful.

Tips (1)

blurpyblurp's picture

Add a bit more water to icing if need be to make sure it can be spread out smoothly otherwise it sticks to the cake too much