Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The best chocolate sponge birthday cake!

OK so there are lots of very good chocolate cake recipes out there but this recipe produces a lovely moist cake that is lacking in so many other sponge birthday cakes. And it tastes so delicious that you can simply decorate it and it still impresses the guests. I have served it at many parties (both for children and adults!) and it is always finished- no complaints of a dry sponge here (and many requests for the recipe afterwards!)

It is simple to make and the major difference with other sponges is that no butter or margarine is used- instead yoghurt and oil. This is what makes the difference to the texture and gives you such a moist cake. It is also cooked at quite a low heat.

150g caster sugar
250ml vegetable oil
225ml plain yoghurt
2 eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp good quality cocoa powder (leave this out if you want a plain sponge)
2 tsps vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache ingredients
150g very good quality chocolate (milk or plain or a mix)
125ml double cream (or Elmlea subsitute)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp orange liquor (or spirit of preference) if making for adults
Decorations (I used strawberries this time)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Put the oil and sugar into a bowl.

Blend together until it is light and frothy.

Add the yoghurt and blend everything together.

Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, vanilla essence and cocoa powder

Blend everything together until smooth.

The cake can be baked either in two sandwich tins or one 8 inch loose based round tin. This time I used one 8 inch tin. Grease and line the tin

Then pour in the mixture

And bake for 35 minutes if in two sandwich tins or 50 minutes for one tin (check with a squewer that it is cooked through- if it is not quite and you put it back check again in a few minutes- you do not want to overcook the cake or it loses its moist texture.

When cooked allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin(s)

Then remove to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile make the ganache (icing)- heat the cream in a pan or in the microwave until it is just boiling. Remove from heat and add the chocolate (broken into small pieces) and butter (and liquor if using).

Blend it together to a smooth consistency.

Depending on who you are making the cake for you can change the icing- using just dark or plain chocolate with a liquor for an adult cake or milk chocolate for a kid's cake. A mixture of dark and milk chocolate (50g dark and 100g milk) also works well.

Use the chocolate ganache to sandwich the cakes together if using two and to cover the top and sides of the cake.

You can then decorate the cake however you wish. This cake tastes so delicious that it really is best to keep it simple. Some fresh fruit across the top of the cake, or even just candles and happy birthday written across it. When I made it yesterday I used fresh strawberry slices.

If you have any chocolate ganache left over you can dip some whole strawberries in it to use as an added decoration. Make sure they are washed and completely dried before you dip it in the ganache- if they are still damp the icing won't stick.

These can then be used to decorate the cake or just served alongside slices

Any remaining chocolate ganache is absolutely delicious served in fresh, warm pancakes- naughty but oooohhhhh so nice! Another filling if you want to sandwich two cakes together is 25g caster sugar, 250ml double cream and 100g raspberries (or soft fruit of choice) mixed together and used to spread between the cakes. This works really well in the summer (particularly if you have a glut of fruit from the garden).

The cake mixture can be used to make larger cakes and also works really well when using novelty cake tins which then just need decorating. Simply increase the quantities to fill the size tin you are using.

It can keep in the fridge (preferably in an airtight container) for a few days but I doubt it will last that long!

Til soon....


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