Mary Berry's chocolate cake

(3943 ratings)
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  • Serves: 6

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

    (may need an extra 5 mins)
  • Costs: Mid-price

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Child friendly
  • Make in advance

Chocolate cake is a timeless treat and this Mary Berry chocolate cake recipe makes the perfect rich chocolate cake with creamy chocolate icing that's surprisingly easy to make. This Mary Berry chocolate cake recipe will show you how to make a chocolate cake in less than an hour. This easy chocolate cake recipe is simple and easy-to-follow, serving 6 people and taking only 50 mins to prepare and bake. Mary Berry's moist chocolate cake is perfect served with a drizzle of fresh cream for an indulgent dessert or afternoon snack with a cuppa. Store this chocolate cake in an airtight container or cake tin for up to 2 days. If you have any of this moist chocolate cake recipe left after 2 days (unlikely!), we'd recommend warming a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds and serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is our best chocolate cake recipe and is part of Mary Berry's three cakes in one recipe, taken from Mary Berry's Stress-free Kitchen. Mary Berry's chocolate cake will keep for 3 days in the fridge, but the icing might lose its shine - you'll just have to eat the entire chocolate cake as fast as you can...


For the chocolate cake:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
  • 175g (6 oz)caster sugar
  • 175g (6 oz) softened butter
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 40g (1 oz) cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp boiling water
  • A little icing sugar, to serve
For the chocolate spreading/ganache icing:
  • 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
  • 150g (5oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 4 tbsp apricot jam
To make Mary Berry's chocolate cake recipe you will also need:
  • 2 x 17cm (7 in) deep sandwich tins, greased and lined with non-stick baking paper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 4.
  2. Beat together the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter and baking powder until smooth in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Put the cocoa in separate mixing bowl, and add the water a little at a time to make a stiff paste. Add to the cake mixture.
  4. Turn into the prepared tins, level the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 mins, or until shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to the touch.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn on to a wire rack to become completely cold before icing.
  6. To make the icing: measure the cream and chocolate into a bowl and carefully melt over a pan of hot water over a low heat, or gently in the microwave for 1 min (600w microwave). Stir until melted, then set aside to cool a little and to thicken up.
  7. To ice the cake: spread the apricot jam on the top of each cake. Spread half of the ganache icing on the top of the jam on one of the cakes, then lay the other cake on top, sandwiching them together.
  8. Use the remaining ganache icing to ice the top of the cake in a swirl pattern. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Nutritional information

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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  • 3
(3943 ratings)

Your comments


I made this cake last weekend and was unsure about the apricot jam aspect....I believe it is quite keep chocolate icing in place??? I probably used a little too much and am making again this weekend and will cut down the quantity of jam


do you have to use apricot jam, can you just leave that oout?


This cake is so easy to make it's a joy! **** Baked in slow cooker/crockpot**** Follow the directions above line your slow cooker with a paper liner (can buy these at super market cheaply, saves loads of time), then put the cake mix in. Then put a clean dry tea towel over the pot and place the lid on top. Cook on high for 1.5- 2.5 hours. You need to check every now and then as different slow cookers cook at a different pace. But do not lift the lid for the first 1.5 hours. Every time you lift the lid it adds 20 minutes to the cooking time. This cake is awesome served hot straight from the slow cooker smeared with Tesco's new own brand Bourbon chocolate spread and a little single cream. I don't personal bother with the ganache. I use the Tesco's spread on it hot or cold. Fab!

wee haggis

Ruined first cake batter with the paste :'( all lumpy, made new batter adding it with the flour and sifting it in to wet ingredients then folding it gently it worked so much better :) first time a Mary Berry recipe I used went wrong


I just made this cake for my boyfriend's birthday. It turned out perfectly - so moist and tasty! And so easy!! The only think I didn't do was the ganache. My boyfriend is a huge Nutella fan, so I filled the cake with Nutella and spread it on top too. Tasted amazing! Everyone loved it. Will definitely be using this as my go-to chocolate cake recipe in future!


Thank you for my first ever cake recipe. Had a wonderful time making it, as it is easy enough for even a novice like me and my 7 year old over excited helper! I didn't have the 2 sandwich tins so went ahead and made it in one round tin, and 2 ramekins! (35 minutes and 20 minutes baking time respectively). Wasn't confident enough to slice the cake and put the icing in the middle, so that made a bit of a difference in the moistness. Loved the cake but not sure about the icing. The 7 year old loved the whole thing but did say she wanted to spoon over the icing on her slice to make it even better. On second thoughts, we should have waited to thicken the icing before pouring iron..But thank you..our family had a lovely day and a delicious cake at the end of it.. Love


I had the same problem as 'Tester' - little specks of cocoa in the mix that wouldn't mix in. Very odd idea! If I make this again I'll definitely be mixing the cocoa powder with the flour etc. and not making a paste.

correa suzita

wonderful recipe, didn't change anything....made a lovely hat cake (using 2 x 8" round cake tins) with this recipe and covered with fondant for a friends farewell party - and may it was voted the best dish of the day - thank you for posting this recipe...and also made cup cakes with this recipe for my nephews birthday....all loved it! Thanks once again...


I've made this cake 4 times now and it has turned out perfect every single time! Moist, delicious and foolproof chocolate cake recipe. I find it tastes best filled with chocolate buttercream (butter, icing sugar, melted chocolate and a bit of cocoa) and topped with milk chocolate ganache. This is now my go-to chocolate cake recipe!

Rach Smith

Please can I ask how I scale up this recipe for a 15 x 10 inch (38x25cm) cake tin? I have no idea and also how long to then cook it for. I am wanting a yummy chocolate cake recipe to make into a guitar shape (got my template) and ice with maybe fondant icing. Any advice gratefully received!!!


its the best chocolate cake ive ever made !!!! give it ago


Just made this cake but just wanted to know why the coca powder needed to form a paste first? My mixture had little specks of coca powder paste that I couldn't mix in, so the cake had little dark brown specks all over. Normally I would put the coca powder straight in the mixture.


This cake is very easy and very impressive. I used baking margarine ( as I always do), and the supermarket's own brand flour. I also used own brand plain and milk chocolate (30p per bar!) for the ganache, and it was still perfect!


I made this a couple of day ago it was a huge hit instead of using dark or milk chocolate for the gnache I used white chocolate I didn't sandwich them together and cooked it as one cake and put chocolate panels around it


N ever made a chocolate cake before but this cake tastes like I have been making them for years yummy I used an electric whisk for the chocolate and cream then put in fridge sets nice and solid yummy I have loads of orders from friends x


I made this cake today and it turned out brilliantly! I always make Mary Berry's victoria sponge so gave this a go! I made a chocolate butter cream as I didn't have cream in the house and it worked a treat!


Best chocolate cake I've ever made; freezes well too!


I have made this cake only once and it turned out absolutely brilliant! Such a 'yummy cake' and not at all sickly. Kept so well for three days in the fridge and the Ganache didn't loose all it's shine. I will make this cake many times over - when I want to impress!


i have made this cake for the last few months & love it, its so simple to make & no fuss, but i add chopped walnuts to the cake mix to add a twist !!

Nelia-I made this cholate cake and it was delicious even my fussy son loves it. Best chocolate cake I ever baked.


Just made chocolate cake I try a new recipe every week and Mary berry is the best to follow x

Hazel H

I have made Mary Berrys 'Death by Chocolate' on numerous occasions, I first got the recipe book from the library and it is an amazing cake. I have made it and taken it when we visit friend down south and its gone down a storm!! Definately the best chocolate cake ever x


I had never made a chocolate cake before and decided to try this one for my daughters birthday cake and it was delish and very easy to make. However for the ganache I did mix in some milk chocolate as found with all dark chocolate it was too bitter. I never used the apricot jam either x


Made the cake today, Its brilliant - To make it extra chocolatey, I added a few mini chocolate chunks (smashed up) and mixed in a couple of drinking chocoalte chunks also.... Delicious!

Josephine Hutton

I can't wait to try this cake,I tried the victoria sandwich with perfect results.


Great best cake ever


I used mixed a cheap mixed fruit jam! its only an adhesive,the cake was great and so easy.


This is the first time that I have used this recipe. I am so pleased with the result. You need to take time to mix the chocolate paste in but then the mixing is light and shiny.

Graham Nash

I have made two one with a pinch of chilly and the other with some fresh ginger finely grated into the mix.

dennise Jefferson

I always follow point for point when baking for the first time I will adjust on the second bake


Hi Niki, Ours was the exact same, my daughter is now eating them as flap jacks. I can taste nothing but sugar. She'll be flying around on it, so a hoover will be placed in her hand!! Loved your comments....


Just done this with my daughter. It was a disaster, very flat, did not rise at all. Any advice as to why would be appreciated.

April Rose Waters

Just made this cake a couple of days ago, after reading the comments I just sieved the cocoa in with the flour and it turned out great. I also adjusted the icing - I used chocolate, double cream, sugar and cocoa powder to get a gorgeous thick ganache that I covered the whole cake in. (I also topped with maltesers)


Hello all Ive made two batches of this and found the same as a lot of you...making a paste just doesn't work (although it does taste fine) so I just beat in the cocoa on the last one and added the water after (to get the right consistency) and it was perfect! Agree as well about the chocolate cream...tastes much better with a frosting but I had already made the cream so whisked this into a butter cream to save waste. I think jam is only needed to create a barrier between the cream and the cake as the cream would just get absorbed into the cake otherwise...I used Lotus caramel spread instead as I was going for an overindulgent chocolate birthday cake...its gone down pretty well considering I never bake! Wahoo! :)

Dayana Ramlan

i've tried this recipe! it is easy & amaaaaziiingggg! But yes, i had that specks of cocoa when i made the choc paste too, but it doesnt matter, it tastes good!


the specks are little air holes!


I made this cake last week .... but I'm not sure about using the apricot jam though!!


I cooked this cake today and found the ganache very runny although I had let it rest for quite a while for it to thicken up

Sean Whelan

So, in short it's a great simple cake. I make it with my young girls. Rather than using two tins I use one and adjust the time by 10 mins. I also leave out the jam and make a sugar syrup. I did find that the frosting is quite loose, I reduce the cream by 25ml. You can also use electric whisk to beat the ganache into a lighter fluffier consistency, this does take the gloss shine out though (good for the filling).


I've made it before without, I don't think it really matters ( but don't tell Mary) !


The first time I made this I had lumps from the cocoa powder paste. It was because I let the paste sit for too long. The paste needs to be made just before you add it to the cake mixture to avoid the problem.


if you mix the cocoa powder with boiling water you will not have lumps and it will make a smooth paste.


Making this cake but mixture is quite dense is that normal? How can I make it more runny if not?


I found the ganache too runny even after letting it cool down and had far too much left over. Bit confused about the apricot jam too but overall the cake does look nice. I think next time though I'll use a vanilla buttercream in the middle as well as a little of the ganache!


Can't understood why the cocoa powder has to be made into a paste. After mixing the cake batter for a good 10 minutes, the mixture was still lumpy from the cocoa powder. Disappointed with this recipe.


I baked this with my daughter (GBBO fever!) the first was a disaster and was so dense and flopped, the second version was better but not brilliant. I have never been a baker, and I find the whole process frustrating and full of disappointment. With the cost of the tins and the ingredients I am 15 quid lighter, fatter around the middrift and still not compelled to become a baker - the boxed stuff was £2, I think that's more my style. I'll stick to knitting or cleaning my house. Much more productive

Samantha Stoneman

Just made this cake with my childminding children. It turned out amazing and very tasty but I made as I would a normal cake. Mix the sugar and butter, then add the eggs and then the rest of the ingredients. Really yummy :-)


This cake was great till I added the 'Chocolate Paste'. It ruined the cake mix but I had to carry on with it. After cooking the cake, it has lots of dark chocolate specs in, where the paste was imposssible to mix in, even with an electric whisk. The chocolate paste serves no value and just ruined the cake mix. I suggest just sifting it in with the flour.


lovely easy recipe, tried to rate it 5 star and it appeared as 1 sorry


Made this cake and am disappointed, I would suggest to add the coca to the flour instead of making it into a paste and then adding, I have a speckled cake! Looks nothing like the picture!

Lesley anne Anderson

I need to make this cake for my friend's 40 th party tonight, eeeeekkkk!!! I need to make a 9 inch cake? How would I scale it up? Any quick replies greatly appreciated!


Is it salted or unsalted butter?

Elodie Adey

do you half the ganache recipie?


such a bad cake came out awful and tasted bad, stick to tv!!!!!!!!

Dan Meyers

Add a little more water to make a thinner paste.

Karen Allaway

You may have over beaten the mixture that might result in it not rising. Also, double check what type of flour you used.


I'll add to my comment above that with the ganache I heated the double cream to almost the boiling point then poured it over the broken up chocolate. I used dark chocolate. This poured over the apricot jam on the cake layers gave the whole cake a Jaffa cake taste. In all this recipe is good, just the directions need fixing.


First off Mary, not every visitor to this recipe is a bake off contestant. This recipe is lazily put together. First off you don't just dump all 5 ingredients together in a bowl. There is a certain procedure. Butter and sugar always get whipped together first until light and fluffy, followed by the additions of the eggs, one at a time. At this point you would also normally add vanilla extract so I don't know why this was left off the list. In a separate bowl you sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. This is so you don't have lumps and everything is evenly mixed. You then add your wet ingredients to your dry and don't overmix. This is usually done with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula not the electric mixer. Prepared tins should also be dusted with cocoa powder instead of flour after greasing first with butter and the excess tapped out. I just took the cakes out and found they were very delicate. Probably because the ratio of eggs to flour was off. It was also very pale and not like the chocolatey colour as shown in the photo. So more cocoa powder should have been added. I have yet to taste the finished product but it does smell very eggy.


All-in-one recipes often have a little extra baking powder because you are not 'beating in' the air as you would in traditional recipes...


It's simply a Victoria sponge recipe with some cocoa ...



Dalrymple Woodcraft

Lovely easy recipe, never fails me and is deliciously chocolatey

wonderful recipe! The only thing I would change would be less baking time. I like this recipe.

Mary Smith

I substituted the 6oz. of butter with 4oz. of Trex and also didn't mix the cocoa with the water; I didn't really get the point of keeping it separate. Also, I just melted plain chocolate and did a drizzle topping and dusted with icing sugar. For the filling I used Hartley's 'Best of Black Cherry' conserve so the cake had a sort of Black Forest Gateau taste about it. This really is a good basic recipe for people to tweak to their own taste. Lovely.

Rees Tagh

hey! supposed to take the bitterness out of cocoa powder or something, I kinda think it enhances the chocolatiness myself.

Sharon R

One of the best chocolate cakes ever! I used the normal method of creaming butter sugar etc. Added my cocoa powder into my flour and then added hot water to the mixture! Perfect 👍

Sharon Riley

What have I done wrong with the ganache? It seems very runny, used milk chocolate. Have noticed other people also have, thought it might be that.

Cupcake 3

I put the runny cake in for another twenty minutes and the cake was perfect the family loved it 🍰

Cupcake 3

this recipe is awful I put it in for thirty five minutes and my knife still came out runny when the picture shows a delecet sponge not a runny disaster


I made this and it didn't rise so had to throw it away any suggestion she why also I added the right amount of all the ingredients even added little extra baking powder


i just took a bite and it was amazing, definetly making this again


I just made this cake, its currently in the oven but i cannot believe a cake can be made with such ease!


took 45 mins to cook ya fucking melt


I made this but don't understand why it's asking to put baking powder in when your using self raising flour, plus I use fresh strawberries and whipped some cream and it went down very well.

Katie Payne

I made this for my boys birthday, he doesn't like jam so left it out...

Liv Sikopoulis

I use this recipe all the time (minus the icing/ganache, instead I use buttercream) and my friends and family absolutely love it! I simply bake for pleasure but I get asked a lot by family to make this for their birthdays etc. The recipe always comes out well and tastes very yummy! This recipe is very easy to follow and hassle free unlike other chocolate cake mixtures I have come across in the past. When making my butter cream for the filling and topping I also use the same method of making a paste, I find this works really well for me and molds in better to the mixture rather than adding in another dry ingredient - It just works for me! I am only 21 and have little experience in baking as like I said I only do it for pleasure and not very often but this is definitely my fool proof go too when I want to make a chocolate cake. Happy baking! :)


I don't recommend put the cream and chocolate together for heating for the ganache...mine curdled immediately. I found tempering the chocolate first then folding in the double cream with a metal spoon worked better.

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