Chocolate sponge cake on a white plate with two slices cut out

Chocolate sponge cake

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(70 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 25 mins


Serves 10

Good Food reader Eve Scott shares this easy, foolproof recipe for chocolate sponge cake, perfect for a birthday, afternoon tea or weekend treat

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal435
  • fat26g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs44g
  • sugars36g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs



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

  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g self-raising flour (or same quantity plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder)
  • 1-2 tsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

For the buttercream

  • 50g dark chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer)
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-o-let

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • 85g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g icing sugar, sieved


  1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment.

  2. Use a handheld electric whisk or a freestanding mixer to beat 175g softened unsalted butter and 175g golden caster sugar together in a bowl until creamy and light in colour. Then add 1 large egg, still mixing.

  3. Sieve 50g cocoa powder, 100g self-raising flour and a pinch of salt into another bowl and add a third of that to your wet ingredients.

  4. Once combined, add 1 more large egg and another third of the flour mixture and work that in.

  5. Then add 1 more large egg and the remaining flour and beat until you have a smooth thick batter. If the batter is stiff, stir in a splash of milk to loosen it.

  6. Divide the mixture between the tins and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

  7. Bake for 20-25 mins until springy to the touch. Take out of the oven and leave in the tins for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Meanwhile, make the buttercream by melting 50g dark or milk chocolate in the microwave, or in a bowl over just simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water. Leave to cool. 

  9. Beat 85g softened unsalted butter and half of the 175g sieved icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the remaining icing sugar and melted chocolate and mix together. If the icing is runny, chill in the fridge until it is firm but still spreadable.

  10. To assemble the cake, put a small dollop of icing onto a plate and put one of the cakes on top. Spread the top of the cake with half the icing, leaving a 1cm border around the edge.

  11. Put the second cake on top and push down very gently. Spread the remaining icing over the top.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th Feb, 2019
I wanted to experiment with this recipe so I decided to put it in cupcake cases instead of one big cake ! It actually worked really well and rose better in the cases than in a tin!
6th Feb, 2019
I wouldn't recommend this recipe and won't use it again. Cake mix quantity insufficient to make a reasonable cake and buttercream tasted awful - had to more than double the quantity of chocolate and add milk.
Ms M
27th Nov, 2017
Despite the mixed reviews, this recipe turned out wonderful! I used small rectangular tins instead of round ones though. The sponge was very light and the buttercream was the perfect consistency. Will be making it again very soon.
30th Sep, 2017
Recipe doesn't have baking powder in it, even though it has a lot of cocoa powder which will cause the cake to rise less, so you need to add extra raising agent. I added 1tsp baking powder and got a nice rise on my cakes, so I would definitely recommend using it. Other than that, it's a nice recipe.
13th Feb, 2018
does have baking powder.
8th Aug, 2017
I added an extra 25g flour (to make it up to 175g with the cocoa) and 1+1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. It rose perfectly. I hope this helps.
5th Jul, 2017
Have made this cake several times, it doesn't rise at all. Tastes delicious but doesn't get very high. Will try doubling the mixture next time.
8th Sep, 2017
I double the mix, makes a normal size cake then!
23rd Jan, 2017
Made this recipe today, and made it exactly how the recipe said. I didnt use x2 tins, instead used on big tin and it cooked in 25mins at 185deg. It had such a lovely rise, about 2/3rds bigger than the batter. I did also add a few chopped up chocolate pieces to the mixture to make chocolate chip cake.
5th Dec, 2016
Poor recipe. Cake hardly rose at all and felt the mixture was much too thick. Also the buttercream was in no way "creamy" despite following the recipe exactly. I had to add extra chocolate and some full fat milk so that I could actually paste it onto the cake. Won't be using this recipe again!


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24th Feb, 2016
This is simply the classic Victoria sponge mix, with a proportion of the flour substituted with cocoa. The principle is one egg to 2oz of butter, sugar and flour. Try weighing your eggs in the shell, eg 3 large eggs weigh about 7oz, whilst 4, medium weigh 8.7oz. Then use butter, sugar and flour /cocoa in the same proportion. I use baking marge, one quarter cocoa to self raising sponge flour, add half a teaspoon of baking powder and half a tablespoon of milk for each egg. Grease and flour and line the baking tins with baking parchment. Before levelling off the mixture weigh the tins to make sure they are even weight. I bake at 160 fan. 15 mins for 2 egg mix in individual cases(12). 25 mins for sponges 3 egg mix and 30 for sponges using 4 egg mix. (The cocoa is heavy which is why I find it best to use sponge flour, and add milk and baking powder. It will rise and drop back slightly as it cools)
6th Aug, 2015
I found the amount of buttercream was not enough for both the layer and the topping so I used it all for the middle filling and simply topped the cake with a dusting of icing sugar.
27th Jul, 2015
I made this cake exactly as the recipe said - but is only about 1cm thick - more like a biscuit!. Does anyone have any tips as all the cakes I make are flat.
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