The Botanical Baker

Who needs diamonds as your best friend when you've got a kick ass Chocolate cake?

Claire Myles

I personally think anything can be solved by a damn fine slice of Chocolate cake! You’re feeling blue - hmmm, slab of fudge cake? You want to celebrate, would madam like some Black Forest Gateau? and of course for the ultimate in cheating husbands can you beat a gooey Chocolate fondant?

Seriously though, a good vanilla sponge and a chocolate cake are the basis of any good bakers repertoire and I have tried a LOT of recipes, so as you lot are all lovely, I thought I would share my recipe with you, that I have refined and used for years and I think is a damn fine slice of Chocolate heaven!

I am going to list ingredients slightly differently, in that I am putting them down in a list as I use them, I hate having to always scan through the list of ingredients to find what I need - it might not be the correct way to do it, but I think it works!


  • 200gm good quality chocolate (I use callebaut, which is a great Belgian chocolate, but any decent chocolate over 50% cocoa will do)

  • 200gm butter chopped into cubes

  • 125ml cold water with 1 tbsp of coffee dissolved into it

  • 200gm soft brown sugar

  • 200gm Golden Caster Sugar

  • 85gm Plain flour

  • 85gm Self Raising flour

  • 30gm cocoa powder

  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 75ml Buttermilk

  • 3 Eggs


  • Measure the chocolate, butter and cold coffee into a microwaveable container and heat for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and give a good beat with a whisk. you want all the chocolate and butter to melt and form a thick silky liquid. It might need a little onager in the microwave, but remember to give it a little time for the heat to work through before doing this and only put it back in for 20 secs at a time. Once its melted, pop it to one side.

  • At this point, because you don’t want the chocolate mixture to be too hot when added to the other ingredients, I switch my oven on to 160C and grease and line an 8” round cake tin so the chocolate mixture has some time to cool down.

  • Place both the sugars, flours, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and give a good rub with your fingers. Get all the ingredients combined and any lumps from the brown sugar out.

  • Mix the buttermilk and eggs together in a jug and give them a good whisk.

  • Pour both of the liquid mixtures into the dry ingredients and give a really good beat. I do this with a whisk at first, finishing with a spatula to make sure it is really well incorporated and forms a lovely silky mix.

  • Pour the batter into your cake tin and pop it into your oven for an hour and a half.

  • When taking out the cake, just give a quick test with a skewer, making sure it comes out relatively clean. This is a moist cake, so it will not be completely clean, but there shouldn’t be any lumps of uncooled batter.

  • Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool completely in the tin.

  • Once cool, remove from the tin and serve! I make a fluffy ganache filling by whisking a chocolate ganache with just a little icing sugar and sandwiching it between 2 layers of the cake, but you could use buttercream, whisked cream, salted caramel - whatever takes your fancy!

Talking of salted caramel - might do my salted caramel sponge cake recipe for next week?