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Easy chocolate birthday cake

This is a recipe that I turn to again and again. And then AGAIN! I have made it so many times I can’t tell you. It isn’t my recipe, so normally I wouldn’t post it (all recipes here are my own!). It’s a Mary Berry recipe, and she calls it Best Ever Chocolate Fudge Cake. She dresses it differently, choosing to let the chocolate drizzle over the side, whereas I cover the cake it the icing, then pop 3 x tubes of Smarties all over. I call it Easy chocolate birthday cake, but, in fact, on this occasion it wasn’t anyone’s birthday…

My nephew was coming over to stay. And I love that guy, so I made him a cake. Every time I share the picture on social I get a decent response, so I thought I would give you the recipe here. It makes an awesome make at home birthday cake for several reasons. 1. You can make the sponge a day or two ahead and it’s fine. 2. It’s so easy a child could do it. 3. You could adapt this really easily, decorating it differently – what about doubling up on sponge tiers and icing, then covering with gold edible glitter (this is what I’m thinking for my daughter’s birthday in August). Also it’s just really delicious – and kids love it.

A great birthday cake recipe to have in your repertoire.

Makes: 16 slimmer (but perfectly acceptable) slices or 8 larger ones
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins

50g cocoa powder
6 tbsn boiling water
3 eggs
50ml milk
175g self-raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
100g soft butter
275g caster sugar

For the icing: 
150g dark chocolate
150ml double cream
3 x tubes of Smarties


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Grease two 20cm sandwich cake tins. Line each one with a circle of baking paper. It is worth doing this as makes it easier to get them out.
  3. Mix the water and cocoa powder into a paste. Add everything to bowl and whisk with an electric or a hand whisk until smooth.
  4. Divide into tins and bake for 25-30 mins.
  5. When cool enough to remove from tins, do so and then set aside and let cool. Once cool, take a bread knife and level off tops of each one. Don’t make icing till cakes are cool. You can make the cakes in advance and freeze, or wrap in cling and store in a bread bin or similar.
  6. Make the icing by very gently melting the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. DO BE CAREFUL as chocolate will split if you let it get too hot. I take it off heat before it’s all melted as it carries on melting off heat. Stir the cream in and this will cool and thicken it.
  7. Pop some icing on top of one of the sandwiches. Top that with the other sandwich. Now spoon the icing all over the cake, smoothing as you go.
  8. Stick the Smarties on whilst the icing is still ‘wet’. Note: if you stick the Smarties on in advance the colour will drain from them a little. I tend to make cakes in advance then ice on the day.


  1. February 24, 2016 / 10:32 am

    Will definitely give this a go. Looks amazing! Mmm now I need chocolate cake x

  2. February 24, 2016 / 10:32 am

    Hi Kate! It's a great go-to chop cake recipe. Once you've done it once you'll do it again and agin I promise! X

  3. March 4, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Made this cake yesterday (with icing). Put in an airtight tin. Did not refriderate. Is this correct?

  4. March 4, 2016 / 10:07 am

    Hi Lin, it should be perfectly fine for a few days, yes, But if you have put smarties on the colour may drain a little. Also if you haven't put them on, it may be hard to stick them onto dried icing. This is why I make cakes ahead then cling wrap them. Then on the day when I want to present the cake I ice and stick smarties on. Hope that helps. X

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