Mary Berry’s best chocolate cake recipe

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  • Nut-free
  • Vegetarian
serves: 6
Skill: easy
Cost: cheap
Prep: 30 min
Cooking: 20 min
(may need an extra 5 mins)

Nutrition per portion

Calories 751 kCal 38%
Fat 48g 69%
Carbohydrates 68g 38%
  -  of which Sugars 46g 51%
Protein 9g 18%
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  • Mary Berry’s chocolate cake recipe is an easy recipe you’ll want to make over again.

    Learn how to make homemade chocolate cake with Mary Berry’s best recipe. This chocolate cake recipe will serve 6 people, and takes just 50 mins to prepare and bake. This recipe shows you how to make a light, fluffy chocolate sponge texture with a delicious, creamy chocolate icing too. You know you’re in safe hands when following one of Mary Berry’s brilliant recipes. This cake has to be one of our favourites!

    This simple chocolate sponge can be decorated however you like for any occasion. Whether you top with Mary Berry’s chocolate ganache and keep it simple or you cover in sprinkles and heap with fresh fruit, this cake is the perfect option as a chocolate birthday cake.


    • 3 large eggs
    • 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
    • 175g (6 oz)caster sugar
    • 175g (6 oz) softened butter
    • 1½ level tsp baking powder
    • 40g (1½ oz) cocoa powder
    • 4 tbsp boiling water
    • 4 tbsp apricot jam
    • For the chocolate icing:
    • 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
    • 150g (5oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
    • A little icing sugar, to serve
    • Special bakeware / equipment
    • 2 x 17cm (7 in) deep sandwich tins, greased and lined with non-stick baking paper
    • Electric whisk


    • Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 4. Beat together the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter and baking powder until smooth in a large mixing bowl.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Leave to cool in the tin, then turn on to a wire rack to become completely cold before icing.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Use the remaining ganache icing to ice the top of the cake in a swirl pattern. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

    Top tip for making Mary Berry’s best chocolate cake

    If your leftover cake is a little stale, we'd suggest warming a slice gently on a low heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make it moist again.

    Mary Berry's top baking tips

    How do you stop a chocolate cake from cracking?

    If your cakes go wrong and often crack, you could be putting your them on the wrong shelf in your oven. Thankfully Mary Berry has some advice on how to prevent this from happening. She told Woman’s Weekly: ‘To avoid cakes cracking don’t bake them too high in the oven, If you do the crust forms too soon and cracks as the cake continues to rise.’

    How do you make a chocolate cake moist?

    There are a few things you can try to ensure your chocolate cake is moist after baking. Make sure you bake the batter as soon as it’s mixed, and resist opening the oven door until it’s at least three quarters cooked. Also, avoid adding to much coco powder - stick to the chocolate cake recipe measurements, as too much powder will make it dry.

    What is Mary Berry’s top tip for covering a chocolate cake with icing?

    Nobody wants cake crumbs mixed in with their smooth icing! Thankfully, Mary Berry has the perfect advice for this chocolate cake recipe. She told Woman’s Weekly: ‘When icing a cake, seal the top with apricot jam first to prevent crumb contamination. Add liquid gradually to icing, too. You can always add more and a thicker icing works better than one that runs off the sponge.’

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