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

Chocolate sponge cake

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(186 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 the tin
  • 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…

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. Butter 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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27th Aug, 2016
This was my first time trying it and I hadn't read the comments to see first as I knew that there would be some mixed opinions. I went for it anyway and I followed it step by step and used all of the corrected ingredients but it just didn't rise one bit!! I had to make two to get a good height but I had to bin my first one because it didn't rise and it stuck to the pan! Then on my second on I went to level it with my cake leveller and it fell apart! I will not be using the recipe again!
Dashing Dace's picture
Dashing Dace
22nd Jul, 2016
I started this recipe before reading the reviews. I was surprised it was only 170g recipe when using 20cm sandwich tins and I would say this is the problem with the flat cakes. There is too little mixture in the tins. Smells & looks good but if doing again I would probably make it a 225g butter/sugar/flour recipe to fit the tins better! I have now used exact same recipe to make cupcakes, this recipe makes 24 cupcakes (not muffins) perfectly. I baked in oven same temperature for 15 minutes & they are perfect. I'm going to ice with buttercream & I think there will be some happy birthday boys.
12th Jul, 2016
Unfortunately I only read the comments below after I had made 2 failed attempts at this cake. If you follow the instructions exactly it does not rise. I used all the ingredients last night trying to make the cake and today is my kids birthday party and I have 4 flat chocolate disks to show for it. I now see several other people had the same outcome so would suggest you try another recipe.
7th Apr, 2016
This is the most yummy chocolate cupcakes. Rise to perfection! Thank you for the recipe. Would definitely recommend it to my friends.
28th Jan, 2016
Made this in 2/3 proportions and into 12 medium sized cupcakes instead of 1 big cake. Turned out lovely, soft and sweet. Didn't bother with the buttercream, just topped with Nutella instead.
18th Jan, 2016
Followed the recipe absolutely and I too found that the cake did not rise - wish I had read the last two comments before I started! Lovely taste and texture though.
24th Feb, 2016
See my tip posted today
14th Jan, 2016
Does anyone ever proof read these recipes - it's so full of spelling and grammatical errors eg: Ingredients Butter, softed not melted Method 2. frestanding 3. Stiring and 'If your batter is sift' 5. suger 'put it in the fridge to set up' 6 'pusk very gently down'
21st Jan, 2016
It's a user submitted recipe, not a BBC one. It says so at the top of the page. The BBC only moderate them, not spell check them.
11th Jan, 2016
I too found the cake didn't rise. I think maybe it's because too much flour is substituted with cocoa so reducing the rising agent. Better if the cocoa was in addition to the flour? Ps. Tasted ok! It all got eaten!


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