Tried and tested: Chocolate birthday cake

I mentioned last week that I made the boyfriend a birthday cake and if you’ve read a few of my posts you’ll know that I’m not the best baker. When I make chocolate chip cookies they always seem to spread out and become a massive tray of burnt mess and when I attempt cakes they don’t seem to rise. But I was recently handed down a seemingly ass-kicking mixer and I hoped it would help me beat, mix and whisk to the right consistency. I was determined to attempt a chocolate cake for his birthday – after all, it’s the thought that counts, right?!

I needed to look for a recipe that was pretty simple – no fancy ingredients, no chilling overnight, etc. This chocolate tray birthday cake recipe from Women and Home (I’m so grown up!) looked like it’d do the trick. Except I wanted to use my heart-shaped silicone mould – would that affect the final product?

tried and tested: chocolate cake


For the cake:
75 g cocoa powder
200 ml boiling water
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs
375 g dark muscovado sugar
175 ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
275 g self-raising flour

For the decoration:
2 tbsp cocoa powder
50g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
300g unrefined golden icing sugar (I substituted with ‘normal’ icing sugar)
Chocolate stars (I used Dr Oetker too)
Edible gold star glitter (I substituted with those shiny chocolate balls)

Baking the cake

Pre-heat the oven to 180C, 350F, gas 4.

Mix the cocoa with the boiling water. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and set aside to cool.

tried and tested: chocolate cake

Whisk the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla in a mixing bowl until blended.

tried and tested: chocolate cake

This is where I decided to dig out the new mixer for the first time. Fun!

Stir in the flour and the cocoa mixture until smooth.

tried and tested: chocolate cake

tried and tested: chocolate cake

Pour into the tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.

It turned out that I made a bit too much mixture for the mould. It seemed a shame to waste it so I did a bit of the old ‘lick the spoon’. Not the best idea – that sugar makes it taste weird uncooked… After 30 minutes I checked the cake every ten minutes for nearly an hour as it took a while to cook through in the middle. Remember to stick a skewer (which I don’t have – I used a steak knife!) in the middle to check that it comes out clean.

tried and tested: chocolate cake

Cool in the tin for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Turning it out wasn’t very easy, even with a silicone mould. I lost a bit of the bottom…

tried and tested: chocolate cake

tried and tested: chocolate cake

As it was cooling I thought I’d make a head start on the icing – bad idea! The cake took ages to cool and the icing sets quickly! Not to worry – just add a drop of hot water to the icing and mix it up to make it easy to spread. Made too much? It’s alright to lick the spoon but don’t finish off the bowl -it’s so sickly!

tried and tested: chocolate cake

For the icing: Melt the butter and golden syrup together with 1 tbsp water. Beat in the icing sugar (I did this by hand), to make a smooth icing. Add a little extra boiling water if needed. Spread over the cool cake.

Scatter with your decorations and leave to set.

Look how pretty!

tried and tested: chocolate cake

It was setting as he returned home from work and as he came in the door I practically thrust the cake in his face to show off my efforts. He said it smelled nice but we waited until the next day (for his actual birthday – complete with candles for the birthday wish) to eat it.

tried and tested: chocolate cake

I’m pleased/surprised to say it tasted good! I covered it with foil overnight and it stayed soft and moist. It was still good to eat two days after that. I definitely recommend this recipe!

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