Chocolate birthday cake

Chocolate birthday cake

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(85 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 25 mins

Skill level



Serves 12

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

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Un-iced
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 140g butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g natural yogurt

To decorate

  • 300g golden icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sieved
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3-4 tbsp boiling water
  • 50g each white, plain and milk chocolate, broken into squares

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  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, July 2007

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jammichelle's picture

This was a great succsess the only thing i would say is you only need a small amount because it is very rich even when i didn't bother to but the icing on but overall it was fabulous

p1763717's picture
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Really nice cake. Wholemeal flour adds an interesting texture. Everyone who tried it liked it. Brought it into work and it disappeared in minutes. Followed the recipe to the letter (although only used half the quantity of icing so that there was only a thin layer of icing). Lovely contrast between the moist sponge which is not overly sweet and the very sweet chocolate topping.

lisahamadi's picture

Does anyone know if this recipe would be good for cupcakes?

sussexgirl's picture
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Easy to make resulting in a moist cake. Didn't decorate with melted chocolate but used Smarties instead which looked great until my goddaughter decided she would pick them all off!

rwitsch's picture

The magazine version of the recipe gives the quantity of bicarbonate of soda to add as 1/4 teaspoon

fannycaillol's picture
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Very easy and quick to make.
Maybe a bit too spongy but not too sugary so very nice.

bargainbuyer0070's picture

Hi, i'm new here. Does anyone know how long this cake keeps after you make it? Thanks.

patrick's picture

This cake was so easy to make. Lovely and moist, not too sweet as I didn't ice it.

mummaloney's picture

Made this cake yesterday it was very popular, even managed to tempt my son away from his xbox with this. I used the wholemeal flour but didn't have any self raising so I added 2 teaspoons of baking powder. The reipe also doesn't give a quantity for the bicarbonate of soda so I used 1 tsp which seemed to work fine. I also used plain icing sugar.

bevbailey's picture

do you think this cake would be nice if it didnt have the icing as i am planning to decorate is another way. someone mentioned it wasnt so sweet.

niamhlily's picture

Thanks very much for that!

Will have a go!

mehdi72's picture

Giggles! It's not daft, you won't find a 18 x 28cm tin in the high street. Use a deep 9 inch square tin and bake for 35-40 minutes.

I made two batches, once with the cocoa and one without for a double layer sponge. Didn't even last 2 days!

niamhlily's picture

I know this may sound daft, but I'm having difficulty in finding the right size tin!
Where can I find one?

sarah90's picture

I would suggest a level teaspoon full of bicarbonate of soda.

yun-mi's picture

Want to make this for my son's birthday, but how much bicarbonate of soda should I use though?

fluffy's picture

I mae this for my nieces 13th birthday and it went down a storm, nice and moist. The icing was a little too sweet for the adults but the kids loved it. Doubled the receipe to accomodate a large family and it turned out great!!

colletterae's picture
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This is really good cake - moist and chocolatey. The icing is very sweet but the sponge isn't so it balances great. So easy - I would make again for sure.

dyewendy's picture
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Made this cake today for a family birthday. Even the non-cake eater loved it! Tantalisingly moist and rich. I used normal caster sugar, cooking margarine and white flour and it was still yummy. Didn't do the topping, just topped with melted chocolate and my little boy added white chocolate buttons for that kitsch birthday effect! Perfect!

joannepeake's picture

I don't agree that 1/2 amount of topping is sufficient - I tried this & it didn't cover the cake, but 3/4 is plenty. It makes great portion sizes for children. I used a dolly mixture sweet on each square which was much quicker.

Great quick cake & very popular with children. A little goes a long way.

christinegordon's picture
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Have made this cake many times and seems to be better each time! So easy. I only use half the amount of the topping and it is plenty