Everyone is baking and I am, too. The Just Chocolate Cake was the absolute favourite in my family when the children were growing up, lovingly made for birthdays and treats.

In the face of sophisticated flourless mouse cakes, polenta and egg-free cakes, I had forgotten just how simple it is to make and how much of a showstopper it is.

It is also a great recipe to let children make on their own as it really can’t go wrong; just be prepared for a lot of bowl licking!



3 tablespoons hot water

1 heaped tablespoon

dark cocoa powder

125g butter, softened

125g caster sugar

2 large free-range eggs, beaten

125g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons of milk

Pre-heat oven 150C/Gas 4

20cm non-stick, lined baking tin


Blend the hot water with the cocoa powder to make a paste.

Beat the soft butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the beaten eggs and the chocolate paste and beat again.

Now sift the flour and baking powder into the mix, folding it in gently with a metal spoon.

Finally blend in the milk.

Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 35 minutes.

Check to make sure the cake is cooked by putting a metal skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked, otherwise bake for a further 5 minutes or so. Remove cake and leave to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.

For the icing and cream filling:

50g plain or milk chocolate

2 tablespoons of cold water

15g butter

2-3 tablespoons icing sugar

250ml double or whipping cream whipped until light and fluffy


Put the chocolate, cold water and butter into a heat-proof measuring jug.

Melt, balanced in a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave.

Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.

Pour the melted butter over the icing sugar. Sir everything together to make a smooth shiny chocolate icing, adding a little hot water if the icing is too thick.

Assemble the Just Chocolate Cake:

Use a sharp knife to slice through the cake to divide into two.

Put one slice onto a large serving plate.

Spread the whipped cream on top, spreading it just slightly away from the edges.

Carefully lay the second slice of cake on top. The cream will ease out to the edges with the weight of the cake.

Use a palette knife dipped in hot water to spread the chocolate icing over the top of the cake.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.