Chocolate cake with decorations and sprinkles

Chocolate traybake

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 10

This American-style chocolate traybake is super-easy, can be prepared in advance and cuts into even portions. It's perfect for birthday parties or bake sales

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced only
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal330
  • fat18g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs37g
  • sugars26g
  • fibre2g
  • protein4g
  • salt0.5g
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    For the chocolate sponge

    • 185ml vegetable oil, plus extra for the tin
    • 250g plain flour
    • 80g cocoa powder
    • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • 1 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-…

    • 325g light brown soft sugar
    • 250ml buttermilk
      Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



      There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

    • 125ml strong coffee or espresso, (can be warm, but not hot)
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs

    For the icing

    • 150g salted butter, softened
    • 200g icing sugar
    • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp milk



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

    • sprinkles, sweets, chocolate shavings or nuts, to decorate


    1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and line the base and sides of a 33cm x 23cm roasting tin or cake tin with a lip of at least 2½ cm. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and a good pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub any lumps of sugar between your fingers, shaking the bowl a few times to bring them to the surface.

    2. Whisk the oil, buttermilk, coffee, vanilla and eggs in a jug, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Use a spatula to stir well, removing any pockets of flour. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 25-30 mins until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If any wet cake mixture clings to the skewer, return the cake to the oven for 5 mins, then check again. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for at least 20 mins.

    3. Meanwhile, make the icing. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then remove from the heat and stir in the icing sugar, cocoa powder and milk. The icing will be very runny but will thicken a little as it cools. (If the icing has set too much before the cake has cooled, reheat it slightly to make it easier to pour.)

    4. Pour the icing over the cake and leave to set. Decorate with the sweets, sprinkles, chocolate shavings or nuts, then cut into squares and dig in.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    4th May, 2020
    I have made this a few times for kids birthday parties and always goes down well. I usually make two and sandwich together with cream and jam, maybe fruit around the edges in the cream. Always looks amazing and so very easy to make. Yesterday I let my 10 year old make the recipe into muffins and turned out fabulous. We made 18 with one recipe and came out quite dome shaped - I think it could easily stretch to 24 . We made half the icing and froze some un-iced ones. Took 20 to 25 mins to cook.
    30th Apr, 2020
    Really easy and delicious traybake - definitely for the chocolate lovers! My kids loved the icing, which is very rich and fudgy, but will take Lomastha's advice of making 1.5 portions of it next time as it was a bit thin towards the edges of the cake. It was a very moist cake that cut easily into pieces that held together well.
    22nd Apr, 2020
    Excellent moist, light cake and the icing was delicious. I used 2 round cake tins and then layered it. No access to buttermilk, so I simply used a tablespoon of lemon juice and milk to replace it.
    26th Oct, 2019
    Perfect - I made it for a christening party and it vanished really quickly. I was especially impressed with the texture of the sponge and how much it rose.
    22nd Oct, 2019
    This an excellent recipe. Quick and easy and will feed a crowd. I made it for my daughters house warming party and it was loved by all. It also keeps very well. Will definitely be making again.
    7th Aug, 2019
    This is really delicious and very quick and easy to whip up. I do a 1.5 portion of the frosting which is so tasty and better than a bog standard buttercream.
    20th Mar, 2019
    the easiest and best chocolate tray bake I've ever made! Used the recipe for my daughter's birthday cake and hands down the best one I've ever made. Will be using for many more birthdays to come.
    10th Jan, 2020
    I don't have a traybake tin can I bake this in a round cake tin?
    lulu_grimes's picture
    14th Jan, 2020
    Hello, We haven't tested this in a round tin but you could bake it in one. Because the traybake is quite shallow it would be safer to put the mixture into two sandwich tins rather than one deep tin, or choose one very large cake tin. I hope this helps.
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