For the custard


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20 x 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. Beat the butter, sugar and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl using an electric whisk for 5 mins until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition until incorporated and the mixture is a mousse-like consistency.

  • STEP 2

    Sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa over the wet ingredients, then tip in the milk and fold everything together with a spatula until there are no floury streaks remaining.

  • STEP 3

    Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with the spatula. Bake for 40 mins, then check the sponge is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out with any sticky cake mixture attached, return the sponge to the oven for another 5-10 mins and check again. Leave to cool slightly in the tin. To freeze, leave to cool completely, then wrap well and freeze for up to two months. Defrost at room temperature, then reheat as stated in the tip below.

  • STEP 4

    Meanwhile, make the custard. Heat the cream and milk in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat – don’t let it boil. Combine the cornflour, sugar and cocoa in a large bowl, then whisk in the eggs and yolks, one at a time, until you have a smooth paste. When the cream mixture is hot and steaming, pour a splash into the cocoa paste to loosen it, then tip this back into the cream mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring continuously until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon – you should be able to draw a line through the custard on the back of the spoon using your fingertip. Remove from the heat and sieve the custard into a jug to remove any lumps. Cover the surface with a circle of baking parchment to prevent a skin forming. Cut the warm sponge into squares and serve with the custard for pouring over.



The sponge can be made up to two days ahead. Once baked, leave to cool and store in an airtight container. Cover individual portions with a plate or microwave-safe lid and reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Or, reheat the entire cake in the oven. Splash a few drops of water over the surface and wrap in foil. Bake at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 15 mins until hot and steamy. The custard can also be made up to two days ahead. Chill in the fridge and reheat in a pan over a low heat, stirring until piping hot.


Add 1 tbsp espresso powder to the cake mix in step one.


Add the zest of 1 large orange to the cake mix in step one.


Scatter 1 tbsp chopped hazelnuts over the cake before baking in step three. Stir 1-2 tbsp chocolate-hazelnut spread into the custard at the end of step four after removing from the heat.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2021

Goes well with


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