The ULTIMATE Chocolate Cake


I’ve got 2 cupboards dedicated to baking in my student kitchen. Every time it’s someone’s birthday, I’m resident cake maker. This is my fail safe recipe – Chocolate Cake. Everybody loves it, it’s so simple to make and it tastes divine. Furthermore, it’s just so adaptable! You can add a few drops of peppermint extract to make Mint Chocolate Cake, for example, or you could use light brown sugar instead of caster and decorate with caramel to make a Chocolate Caramel Cake. The possibilities are endless! Add/change whatever you want, just be sure you keep the quantities of flour, sugar, butter and eggs the same to avoid a total baking disaster…


For the cake:

200g Self-Raising Flour

200g Butter

200g Caster Sugar

4 Medium Eggs

2tbsp Cocoa Powder

1tsp Baking Powder

2tbsp Milk

For the ganache:

200g Dark Chocolate

250ml Double Cream

Any decorations you fancy (I love to use chocolate buttons!)


1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute only, then add that and the sugar to the bowl.

3. Add the eggs and give everything a good old stir to mix it all in.

4. Pour the mixture into a lined, round cake tin and place in the middle of the oven. Set the timer for 30 mins.

5. When the cake’s done, place it on a cooling rack and start making the ganache.

6. Place a mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the two touch, however!) and break the chocolate into it. Stir frequently so that it all melts together.

7. When the chocolate has melted, add the cream and stir it all together till it looks like a thick, dark, glossy sauce.

8. Cut the cake in half and place on a plate. Spoon approximately 1/3 of the ganache over the half so that it’s covered entirely. Then place the other half of the cake on top.

9. Cover the top of the cake with the rest of the ganache, spooning it on the sides if necessary. While the ganache is still melted, add the chocolate buttons or whatever you are using to decorate the cake.

10. Place the cake in the cake for a couple of hours until the ganache has set. Serve at room temperature and prepare to be adored forever by the birthday person…

Nicola Manuel:Illustration



I have always wanted to write. It's more of a need than a want. I will not rest until I am a professional journalist, and I am going to start with the Wessex Scene...

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