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how to make a chocolate cake

How to Make a Chocolate Cake

Using our 'tried and tested' method

This chocolate cake has been an all-time favourite at Ella’s Barn.  Ella first remembers making this cake over 40 years ago and it is still just as good today. The cake is lovely and light in texture and suitable for any occasion.

We always used this recipe in our children’s classes with cakes turning out great for all our young bakers. It works really well portioned into bun cases for cupcakes – just reduce the cooking time.

We much prefer this cream-cheese filling rather than buttercream; it is much smoother and creamier. We use this filling for icing the top of our carrot cake, using white chocolate instead of milk.

Chocolate Cake Ingredients






Make the cakes


Preheat the oven to 150°C – slightly lower than you would use in your oven for a Victoria sandwich cake. Line 2 x 7” square or 8” round sandwich tins. We prefer to use a reusable lining.


Sieve the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and soda into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.


Add the beaten eggs, syrup, oil and milk and mix well with an electric hand mixer until all the ingredients come together but don’t over beat.


Split the mixture between the prepared tins. To get the cakes the same depth, you can weigh each tin with the mixture so that they are equal.


Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown. The cakes should be springy to touch.

When the cakes have cooled, make the filling:


Melt the chocolate. For a richer filling, try using dark chocolate instead of milk!


Mix together the cheese and icing sugar with an electric hand mixer until smooth, then scrape down the sides of bowl.


Whilst mixing on slow setting, add the chocolate to the mixture and then mix thoroughly at a higher setting – the chocolate will start to set as soon as it hits the cooler cheese mixture, so you will need to work quite quickly.


Spread the creamcheese filling on the top of one cake and invert the second cake and place on top, so that the bottom of the cake is at the top and you have nice sharper edges. Fill the join in with a little more filling if needed.

Tip: This cake freezes really well at this stage, so you can prepare in advance or have a spare cake on hand for those unexpected needs! Wrap the cake in a couple of layers of cling film – If you have spare cake boards, put a board at bottom and top and wrap again as this will help protect the cakes corners and shape whilst it is in the freezer.

Coat the cakes:


Chop the chocolate into small pieces if not already in drops.


Heat the cream in a large bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan.


Stir in the chocolate pieces so that the heat of the cream melts the chocolate – keep stirring until a silky consistency.


Place your filled cake on a wire rack with a large plate beneath to catch the drips. Pour the coating all over the top of the cake allowing the extra to run down and coat the sides. Use a knife if needed to get the coating to run down and coat the sides evenly.


Allow the coating to set before moving your cake to a serving plate or board.

Tip: The consistency of this sauce can be varied by altering the ratio of cream to chocolate. If I am using a dark chocolate, for a rich chocolate cake, I will make the coating a bit thicker and spread using a palette knife. If using a milk chocolate, much preferred for children’s cakes, I will make the coating a bit thinner and it pours over the top and sides as a lovely single thin coat perfect for adding further decorations. White chocolate is a bit difficult in this sauce and can be difficult to get a nice colour coating, in white I would coat once and leave to set and then add a second coat for a better finish.

The finished cake!

easter chocolate cake

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