Chocolate cake

There is nothing like some chocolate to treat yourself. This is so easy to bake and ideal for a birthday or school market days.

Ready in

1 hour plus cooling time

Serving size

Serves 20


  • Cake
  • 3 cups (750 ml) cake flour
  • 1¼ cups (310 ml) sugar
  • 4 tsp (20 ml) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) cocoa
  • 2 cups (500 ml) hot water
  • ½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
  • 5 tbsp (75 ml) sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) white grape vinegar
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla essence
  • Chocolate topping
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 300 ml water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) soft butter
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) cocoa
  • ½ tsp (2,5 ml) vanilla essence
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) cornflour
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) grated chocolate


  1. Cake: Preheat oven to a 180 °C and line a large rectangular (20 x 30 cm) baking tin or oven dish with baking paper. Alternatively line 2x 20 cm baking tins to make a double layered cake. (see tips)
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together. Mix the liquids together and gradually fold into the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour batter into tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the tin and cool.
  4. Topping: Meanwhile, place all the ingredients, except the chocolate, in a pot and stir over a low heat to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer gently. Stir until the mixture thickens. Cool slightly and pour over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with grated chocolate.


  1. Double-layered cake: Layer the two x 20 cm chocolate cakes on top of each other, and spread the chocolate topping in between the layers and on top of the cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings as garnish.
  2. Citrus and spice cake: Replace the cocoa in the cake with cake flour and add 1 tsp grated lemon or orange rind. Use 3 tbsp lemon or orange juice instead of the vinegar. Add 2 tsp ground mixed spice or cinnamon to the batter. Bake as above and dust with a little icing sugar.
  3. Cupcakes: Halve the recipe above. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with paper cups. Spoon cake batter into the cups and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Make only half the of topping.
  4. Dust cake with icing sugar or cocoa instead of the topping, if preferred.

Chocolate cake trifle

Bake this cake and prepare an elegant, almost guilt-free dessert. Layer cake, spoonfuls of low-fat yoghurt and fresh, seasonal fruit like strawberries and blueberries in glasses or bowls and tuck in!

Chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate cake

This recipe is from Cooking from the heart, 1st edition

Download the recipe book

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