Birthday chocolate cake (it's our 7th birthday!)

Shop Ingredients


1/2 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 C warm water
200g butter
2 C sugar
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
2 C self-raising flour, sifted

1/3 C thickened cream
150g dark chocolate


Kale almighty, it’s our 7th birthday! Time to roll out this family chocolate cake – it’s a go-to birthday cake, the cake which seems to have become the ‘one’ amongst my friends and family. It’s foolproof and yes … reliably moist (I’m looking at you, Paul Foot) and not too rich for the kiddies. Gonna go light up seven candles in it right now. Happy birthday to us!!

This beautiful, foolproof recipe is taken from Julie Jansen’s little cookbook Apricots and Apron Strings a great independently produced volume you can still find around town. Serves 10-12.

Chocolate cake 

Grab a large saucepan, add the cocoa and work in a little of the warm water to make a paste. Then pop it on the stove and add the remaining water, butter, sugar and bi-carb, stirring over a medium heat. Once everything has dissolved, turn off the heat and let it cool for about half an hour.

While it’s cooling preheat the oven to 170ºC, and prepare a greased and lined 22cm round baking tin (or thereabouts). Do some other things because that won’t take long. Once the cocoa mixture is lukewarm, whisk in the eggs, vanilla and sifted flour. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer in the middle comes out ‘just’ clean – you want it coming away from the edges but still a little sticky in the centre.

For the ganache, heat the cream in a small pot, and just as it looks set to break into a boil take it off the heat and add the broken pieces of dark chocolate. Stir as they melt, then leave to cool until it thickens a little. Spread over the cooled cake and throw those candles on top!



Hints and Tips

Use a gluten free, self raising flour mix if you like.


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    1. Oh dear :/ apologies! 2 cups of sugar in the recipe (I used 1.5 and it was sweet enough). Thanks for that, everyone… not sure how it got left off the list! Bake on, hope you enjoy it.

  1. The method refers to sugar, but there is no sugar in the ingredients list. It would be great if you could clarify!