Looking for an easy chocolate cake recipe? This is it.

This is my go-to recipe for birthday cakes, special occasions, or completely mundane occasions like a rainy Saturday afternoon. 

Before you read any further, let’s get down to the real disclaimer: I’m not a food blogger, nor an expert baker. If you’re looking for perfection then you might be better off elsewhere, lol.

But if you’re looking for an easy recipe that always works and produces a delicious cake every time, then you’re in the right place, so keep going!

My kids much prefer chocolate cake to any other kind, and this is my most requested cake for their birthdays. My son’s birthday is coming up this week so this is what I’ll be making. It’s an easy chocolate sponge with a delicious chocolate buttercream icing, and you can make it as simple or as decorative as you like. On past occasions I’ve done loads of simple things like poured chocolate sprinkles on top or placed white chocolate buttons round the edge. It doesn’t need much to be honest. 

Easy, Foolproof Chocolate Cake
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The children’s favourite decoration is a perimeter of chocolate finger biscuits and a rainbow-coloured pool of smarties clattered all over the top. This is what I usually do for a birthday cake, and it never fails. Kids love it and it looks impressive, but only involves sticking things on and no artistry required. Winner!

To decorate like that, you’ll need 3 boxes of chocolate fingers (it take about 2.5 boxes to go round) and 2-3 large sharing bags of smarties.

All you do is cover the outside of the cake liberally with buttercream, stick the chocolate fingers round the edge and then pour the smarties on the top. Everything should stick fairly easily to the buttercream.

Sit back and admire your work. Even you’ll be impressed.

Let me know in the comments if the recipe worked for you! 

Chocolate birthday cake with candles, decorated with biscuits and smarties
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Chocolate cake with rainbow and unicorn candles, smarties and chocolate finger decorations
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Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes (plus decorating)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 200g / 1 cup caster sugar
  • 200g / 7oz softened unsalted butter or margarine
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g / 1.25 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the buttercream icing

  • 75g / 3oz milk chocolate, chopped
  • 150g / 5oz butter, softened
  • 300g / 3 cups icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F, or Fan 190C/375F, or Gas 5.
  2. Butter the bases and sides of two 20cm/8 inch round sandwich cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and softened butter/margarine until pale and creamy (this is quickest with an electric whisk, but if you’re using margarine, you can easily do it with a wooden spoon).
  4. Beat in the eggs. It might curdle and look odd but don’t worry. Keep mixing and it will all be fine once the flour’s mixed in.
  5. Using a metal spoon, gently mix in the flour, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and milk – gently folding the mixture together until you have a smooth batter.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer/knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, and then put out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To make the buttercream icing: melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave (stir every 30 secs) or over a pan of simmering water.
  9. Use a fork to mix the softened butter and icing sugar. You can switch to an electric beater once they’re combined if you want, but again you can just do this with a wooden spoon.
  10. Sift in cocoa powder and pour in the melted chocolate. Mix until smooth. Mix in a little milk to soften.
  11. Use half to sandwich the cakes together, and smooth the other half on top (and round the edges if you want). Decorate with anything you like.
  12. Get a slice quickly before it’s all gone.

Get a printable recipe card

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Two empty cake tin
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Two cake tins filled with chocolate cake mix
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