A chocolate cake on a cake stand with chocolate shards on top

Easy chocolate cake

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(107 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 12 - 14

Master the chocolate cake with an airy, light sponge and rich buttercream filling. It's simple enough for an afternoon tea but special enough for a party too

Nutrition and extra info

  • sponges only
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving (14)

  • kcal523
  • fat29g
  • saturates18g
  • carbs59g
  • sugars47g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.6g
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    For the cake

    • 200g golden caster sugar
    • 200g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for the tins



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 4 large eggs



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

    • 200g self-raising flour
    • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 1 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…

    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp milk



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

    For the buttercream

    • 100g milk chocolate, chopped

      Chocolate ganache


      Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…

    • 200g butter, softened



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 400g icing sugar
    • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp milk



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

    For the chocolate shards (optional)

    • 50g dark chocolate
      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…

    • 25g milk chocolate
      Milk chocolate squares

      Milk chocolate

      mill-k chok-lit

      Milk chocolate is classically made from dark chocolate of low cocoa solid content and a higher…

    • 25g white chocolate
      White chocolate squares, stacked

      White chocolate

      why-t chok-lit

      To purists, this is not chocolate because it is made only from the fat or butter of the cacao…


    1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Butter the base and sides of two 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

    2. In a large bowl, beat together 200g golden caster sugar, 200g softened unsalted butter, 4 large eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbsp milk and a pinch of salt until pale.

    3. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins. Bake for 20 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

    4. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    5. For the buttercream, put 100g chopped milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 secs. Leave the melted chocolate to cool for 5 mins.

    6. Mash 200g softened butter and 400g icing sugar together with a fork, then switch to a wooden spoon or electric beaters, if you have them.

    7. Sift in 5 tbsp cocoa powder with a pinch of salt and pour in the melted chocolate and 2 tbsp milk. Mix again until smooth.

    8. On a cake stand or large plate, sandwich the cakes together with half of the buttercream, then spread the rest on top. Decorate with chocolate shards, if you like.

    9. To make chocolate shards: melt 50g dark chocolate and pour it onto a tray lined with baking parchment or foil.

    10. Now melt 25g milk chocolate and 25g white chocolate and drizzle them over the dark chocolate before it sets.

    11. Shake the tray gently to level the mixture then leave to set somewhere cool. Chop into shards.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Lynn Halliday's picture
    Lynn Halliday
    15th Mar, 2020
    If I can make this anyone can! As per other comments, halve the icing and increase the cooking time. It's the best, easiest cake recipe around!
    14th Mar, 2020
    I've just baked this- super easy and tastes good- however, I think the icing is much too sweet. I'd actually recommend halving the amount- 400g is ridiculously high (no I'm not at all anti sugar or a health freak, but this almost ruins the taste of the cake)......
    Jenna Jones's picture
    Jenna Jones
    6th Feb, 2020
    Beautiful cake but it definitely needs a lot longer to cook on gas mark 5. The cooking time is more like 40 minutes at least. I opened the over after 20 minutes just to find it was still in liquid form and that possibly resulted in the cake rising a little less than it could have done.
    29th Oct, 2019
    Excellent! Easy & delicious. Lovely, moist & light (as chocolate cakes go!) This is definitely going to become an old reliable in our house. Covered the whole cake generously with the icing with the above quantities.
    Jean Chapman's picture
    Jean Chapman
    11th Oct, 2019
    This is the best chocolate cake recipe I've ever found! In my oven it takes a bit longer to cook than 20 mins and I usually halve the amount of icing given in the recipe. So easy to make and so tasty!!
    Cookin' Great
    9th Oct, 2019
    Really nice cake, there was a super amount of butter icing left over so would consider making a triple layer possibly. Lovely and chocolatey and my boyfriend loved it. I added marshmallow and white chocolate chips on top. Very nice, easy recipe.
    8th Oct, 2019
    Really easy to make and delicious, there was a lot of icing but there were no complaints about this from my family. I made this for my husbands birthday and decorated the top with chocolate truffles. I definitely recommend this recipe, it will be our go to chocolate cake recipe.
    12th Aug, 2019
    Absolutely gorgeous. Moist and beautifully chocolatey. Made it for son's 8th birthday party. One of the kids told me it was the best cake had ever eaten, another hounded me for seconds and a little girl kept sneaking little bits off an older kid's plate! The parents loved it too. Small party so enough cake for kids and adults. The adults raved about how I should become a baker, while sneaking extra mouthfuls from their kids' plates when they weren't looking. Would echo the too-much-icing comments. I read those comments but ignored them as I love loads of icing. This was actually even too much for me. I slathered the sides too, but there was still tonnes left over (and I didn't even manage to get through all the leftover icing for breakfast and afternoon snack, so that's pretty drastic). Didn't bother with shards - decorated it with Smarties and a few silver mini-balls to make it ping, super simple.
    Tracey Hollands's picture
    Tracey Hollands
    27th Jul, 2019
    Best chocolate cake I have made. This is the third time now, and even made it for my grandson birthday. For that I just crumbled flake on top to make it look more yummier. Absolutely perfect every time. Thank you.
    22nd Jul, 2019
    Non riser! I tried this recipe twice and both times it failed. The cake barely rises. This is a fake recipe!


    Caroline Huckerby
    17th Oct, 2019
    For a square sandwich cake an I tight in thinking I’d need 7inch square tins? I want to make it for my daughters party. There’ll be about 25 children. Do you think it’ll be big enough?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    21st Oct, 2019
    Thanks for your question - yes 7 inch/ 18cm tins would be the equivalent square. This cake is designed for 12-14 adults, 25 children might be a push unless you cut into very small pieces. We'd recommend making two and giving the leftovers to the grown-ups!
    26th Aug, 2019
    Is it possible to bake this cake in one tin instead of two and then slice in half to fill with buttercream? If so then could you advise on temperature and time?
    Nat Dodge's picture
    Nat Dodge
    7th Oct, 2018
    Hi, Is the recipe using medium or large eggs? Thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    12th Oct, 2018
    Thanks for your question. This cake requires large eggs and we have added this information to the recipe.
    angela scott's picture
    angela scott
    7th Jun, 2018
    Can I freeze this chocolate cake?.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    13th Jun, 2018
    Thanks for your question. For best results we'd suggest just freezing the sponges before filling.
    16th Mar, 2018
    Hello, Can I substitute 200 g of golden Castor sugar with 200 g of powdered sugar in Easy Chocolate recipe ?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    19th Mar, 2018
    Thanks for your question. We'd recommend using either golden caster sugar or caster sugar. In the US it is called superfine. It is not the same as icing sugar or confectioner's sugar.
    Kirsty Mcgurk's picture
    Kirsty Mcgurk
    23rd Aug, 2018
    This cake can be used as a base for many different flavours I used this to make a chocolaye orange cake and will be using this to make a caramel chocolate cake this afternoon.
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