Never-Fail Chocolate Cake

Ideal cake for those school or office functions – this serves a crowd and is dead easy to transport. Also wonderful for those ravenous teenagers!

Makes 1 large cake (12 – 14 portions)


  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 20 g cocoa powder (60 ml)
  • 75 ml sunflower oil
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 315 g castor sugar (375 ml)
  • 280 g cake flour (500 ml)
  • 15 ml baking powder


  1. Place water and cocoa together in a jug and allow to cool totally.
  2. Preheat convection oven to 180°C/160ºC fan/Gas mark.
  3. Prepare a 28 cm loose-bottomed pan.
  4. Grease and line the base with a baking paper circle on the base.
  5. Grease paper with a non-stick cooking spray or melted butter or margarine.
  6. Mix oil and vanilla essence into cooled cocoa mixture.
  7. Place eggs and sugar into the bowl of a food mixer and mix with the balloon whisk until thick and creamy.
  8. Sift flour and baking powder together and fold in gently into the egg mixture.
  9. Carefully add cocoa and oil mixture; fold in with a metal spoon.
  10. Be very careful not to over-mix. Pour into cake pan.
  11. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  12. When cool, decorate with a butter icing.


  • 1 cup icing sugar mixture
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 40g salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into a medium bowl. Add butter and milk. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium. Beat for a further 2 minutes.


  • Make a vanilla cake by removing cocoa powder and increasing cake flour by 20 g (40 ml).
  • Bake the recipe in two x 26 cm cake pans; grease and line with baking paper; grease again before adding mixture. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Use a chocolate ganache (see tips on p. 117) for icing chocolate cake and decorate with cut strawberries or crushed peppermint crisp around the edge of the cake.

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    January 23, 2020 at 5:05 am

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