Mary Berry’s chocolate cake recipe

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Mary Berry's chocolate cake recipe uses the all-in-one method so it's quick and easy to make.

Mary Berry's chocolate cake recipe
(Image credit: Future)
  • Nut-free
  • Vegetarian
Preparation Time30 mins
Cooking Time20 mins (may need an extra 5 mins)
Total Time50 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories751 Kcal38%
Sugar46 g51%
Fat48 g69%
Protein9 g18%
Carbohydrates68 g26%

Mary Berry's chocolate cake recipe serves six people and takes under an hour to make. 

This chocolate cake recipe is made in one large mixing bowl for a quick and easy method with minimal washing up. The sponges are sandwiched together with apricot jam and a rich chocolate ganache but fresh whipped cream would work well too. 


  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
  • 175g (6 oz) caster sugar
  • 175g (6 oz) softened butter
  • 1½ level tsp baking powder
  • 40g (1½ oz) cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp boiling water
  • 4 tbsp apricot jam

For the chocolate icing:

  • 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
  • 150g (5oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • A little icing sugar, to serve

Special bakeware / equipment

  • 2 x 17cm (7 in) deep sandwich tins, greased and lined with non-stick baking paper
  • Electric whisk




  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Put the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter, and baking powder in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water a little at a time to make a stiff paste. Add to the cake mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Divide the mixture between two 17cm sandwich tins which are greased and lined with a circle of baking paper.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to the touch.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn on to a wire rack to become completely cold before icing.
  6. To make the icing: measure the cream and chocolate into a bowl and carefully melt over a pan of hot water over a low heat, or gently in the microwave for 1 min (600w microwave). Stir until melted, then set aside to cool and thicken.
  7. To assemble the cake, spread half the jam over one of the sponges. Top with half the ganache then put the second sponge on top. Repeat with the remaining apricot jam and chocolate ganache. Dust with icing sugar, if using.

Watch how to make Mary Berry's chocolate cake recipe

Top tips for making Mary Berry's chocolate cake

If the sponge of your cake cracks, it could be because you've been putting them on the wrong shelf in your oven. Thankfully Mary Berry has some advice on how to prevent this from happening. She told us: 'To avoid cakes cracking don’t bake them too high in the oven. If you do the crust forms too soon and cracks as the cake continue to rise.' 

For more chocolate cake tips, continue reading below. 

How do you make a chocolate cake moist?

There are a few things you can try to ensure your chocolate cake is moist after baking. Make sure you bake the mixture as soon as it’s mixed and resist opening the oven door until it’s at least three-quarters cooked.

Also, avoid adding too much cocoa powder - stick to the chocolate cake recipe measurements, as too much powder will make it dry.

How do I cover a chocolate cake with icing?

Covering a chocolate cake with chocolate icing is simple. Spoon some of the mixture into the centre of the cake and spread the ganache icing to the outside of the cake using a palette knife. Add another spoonful or two at a time carefully making sure you don't push the icing over the edge of the cake when smoothing. 

Mary says: 'When icing a cake, seal the top with apricot jam first to prevent crumb contamination.' The fruity spread is used to form a barrier between the cake and the icing, ensuring a smooth finish. If you don't like apricot you can use raspberry or strawberry instead but smooth is best.

If the ganache is still quite warm it may be too runny to use. Wait for it to thicken and cool if you want to avoid it running down the sides of the cake.

Does it matter if sponge mixture curdles?

Mary Berry explains: ‘A cake mixture which curdles holds less air, and therefore produces a heavy, dense cake.’ There are some simple ways to avoid the curdling occurring.

Mary says: ‘Eggs must be at room temperature, added gradually and beaten in thoroughly between each addition to prevent the mixture from curdling…

‘As a precaution against curdling, a spoonful of sifted flour can be added with each egg addition but the remaining flour needs to be very lightly folded in.’ 

What is Mary Berry’s all-in-one method?

The baking legend explains: ‘The all-in-one method means just that. All of the main ingredients go into the bowl at the same time to be mixed. There is no need for any creaming or rubbing in of the fat and no dangers of the mixture curdling because of the egg being added too quickly.’ 

The only prerequisite is that the butter or margarine must be soft and not oily. 

Can I use self-raising flour and baking powder in a cake?

Yes, in this recipe Mary uses self-raising flour and baking powder. She does this to compensate for the air not incorporated during the initial creaming stage as she uses an all-in-one method.

Can I use drinking cocoa powder for cake?

Although visually you will get similar results your cake will be lacking in flavour. Mary explains: ‘Cocoa powder is pure chocolate liquor from which much of the cocoa butter has been extracted… Don’t be tempted to substitute with drinking chocolate powder, as the added sugar in drinking chocolate will give a very milk, sweet flavour to the cake.’

Mary Berry's Baking Bible: Revised and Updated: Over 250 New and Classic Recipes View at Amazon

Mary Berry's Baking Bible: Revised and Updated: Over 250 New and Classic Recipes by Mary Berry (BBC Books, £14) - View at Amazon 

Mary has lots more easy baking recipes. This book has over 250 recipes to browse including a maple syrup cake, lemon drizzle traybake and a large all-in-one Victoria Sponge. 

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