Bake the best choc cake

By Jenny Kay Time of article published Nov 3, 2016

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Speak to as many people, and you will find there are as many benchmarks for what constitutes the perfect chocolate cake. Some opt for a light and spongy texture, some prefer it dark and moist; others like lots of icing while some insist that the icing should contain chocolate rather than cocoa powder.

Hopefully the selection I have chosen here will have one to suit most tastes.

The beer box cake is ideal if you need to feed a crowd, and the texture of this cake is light and spongy.

The buttermilk cake is the most moist and dark. The salted caramel cake is not as moist, but the flavour balances well with the rich caramel.



30g butter, melted

cocoa powder for coating

500ml cake flour

500ml white sugar

pinch of salt

5ml bicarbonate of soda

125g butter

250ml water

125ml sunflower oil

125ml cocoa powder, sifted

2 extra-large eggs

125ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt


200g chocolate

125ml cream

fresh strawberries to decorate

Brush a large ring pan with the melted butter and then coat with cocoa powder. Put in the freezer until required.

For the cake, sift together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl.

Heat the butter, water, oil and cocoa powder together in a small saucepan. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Pour the liquid into the flour mixture and mix well.

Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk, then add to the flour mixture.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan before turning out on a wire rack.

For the icing, melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Mix until smooth, then pour over the cake.

Serve with strawberries piled in the middle.

NOTE: This cake does have a tendency to stick to the pan so make sure you grease and flour the pan well.

Also don’t turn it out too soon as it is fragile.



250g butter

300ml castor sugar

5 extra-large eggs

400ml cake flour

10ml baking powder

180ml cocoa powder

80ml milk


1 tin of caramel treat

a generous pinch of sea salt flakes


200g dark chocolate

125ml cream

For the cake, cream the butter and castor sugar together until light and creamy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa together. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.

Spoon the mixture into two 20cm cake pans lined with greaseproof paper and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Sandwich the cakes together with half the salted caramel filling.

Transfer the rest to a piping bag.

Spread the chocolate topping over the cake, then pipe with the rest of the salted caramel.

Filling: Mix together the caramel and salt until smooth.

Ganache: Combine the chocolate and cream and heat over a gentle heat until melted and smooth.

Refrigerate for 10 minutes, then beat with an electric beater until light and fluffy.



500ml water

150ml sunflower oil

250ml cocoa powder

10ml vanilla essence

8 extra-large eggs

750ml castor sugar

875ml cake flour

20ml baking powder

pinch of salt


200g butter, softened

750ml icing sugar, sifted

80ml cocoa powder, sifted

water or milk to mix

5ml vanilla essence

chocolate balls, for decoration

For the cake, combine the water, oil, cocoa powder and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the mixture is smooth.

Pour into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool slightly.

Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and castor sugar until light and almost white in colour.

Add to the cocoa mixture together with the sifted, dry ingredients. Pour into a foil-lined (shiny side facing upwards) beer box sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30-35 minutes.

Cool completely in the box before transferring to a cooling rack.

Icing: Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla essence and enough water or milk. Mix until smooth.

Spread over the cooled cake and decorate with chocolate balls.

NOTE: If you are using an empty beer box, then staple the corners; if you don’t, the glue holding them together will melt in the oven and make a big mess.

Line the box with tin foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Alternatively, the cake can be baked in a large oven tray measuring 30x40cm.




750ml cake flour

500ml castor sugar

200g softened but not melted butter

180ml cocoa powder

10ml baking powder

10ml bicarbonate of soda

250ml buttermilk

3 eggs

250ml strong coffee

10ml vanilla essence


400g tin of black pitted cherries

15ml custard powder

30ml water

30ml cherry liqueur (optional)

500ml cream, whipped until stiff

fresh cherries to decorate

chocolate flakes to decorate

Combine all the ingredients for the cake in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment mix.

Pour the mixture into a lined and greased 30cm-deep cake tin.

Bake at 180°C for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.

When completely cold, slice the cake in half.

Place the bottom half on to a serving plate and spread with the thickened cherry liquid.

Top with half the whipped cream. Scatter over the tinned cherries.

Add the remaining layer and spread most of the whipped cream over it.

Pipe some swirls with the remaining cream and top with fresh cherries and chocolate.

FILLING: Drain the cherries and reserve the liquid. Place it in a pot and bring to the boil.

Mix the custard powder with the water and add to the cherry liquid. Stir until thickened and boiling.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cherry liqueur if using.

Allow to cool before spreading on the cake.

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