The search for the perfect chocolate cake (Part 1): Easy chocolate cake & Chocolate dessert cake

I have always LOVED chocolate cake. When I was younger, my sister and I’s favorite past time was to lick the left over cake batter from the bowl and nothing hit the spot quite like chocolate cake batter. However, I always found that chocolate cake made with cocoa alone was bland in comparison to store bought chocolate cake (here in Botswana if you want divine chocolate cake, Woolworths is the place to be!). So when I began my cooking mission, aside from trying new recipes I wanted to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe that would release me from the mercy of Woolworths.

As luck would have it my sister bought my mum a small recipe book of 25 chocolate cake recipes so during my christmas holiday I tried two of them: Devils Food cake and Chocolate dessert cake. Recently, upon the request of a friend, I made a kiddie chocolate birthday cake and tried two recipes I found online: Easy chocolate cake and Best moist chocolate cake. So far the best recipes in order of best to worst are: Best moist chocolate cake, Devils food cake, chocolate dessert cake and Easy chocolate cake.

I’ve been trying to find the cake that has a good balance between sweetness, chocolate flavour, soft and moist texture without being too fudgy. I prefer to leave the fudge texture to chocolate brownies.

When I attempted the Easy chocolate cake, I decided to add cream instead of milk and melt some dark chocolate in a little milk to add more chocolate flavour. It turns out that was a grave mistake because when the time came to add water, I had an extremely liquid batter (which at the time I didn’t know was to be expected) and panicked. So I ended up adding 2 tbsps of boiling water instead of the required 250ml and put it in the oven. Disaster.

It sunk horribly and took forever to cook in the middle. I lost my patience when it was cooling and when I removed the top of the springform pan it crumbled into a ridiculous mess. I was tempted to just throw it away but my sister insisted it didnt taste too bad. After spending a night in the fridge, it has become a fudge like mass and actually doesn’t taste half bad. My flatmates have been scoffing it down like it’s the best thing on earth.

If you try this recipe I urge you to follow the recipe to a T and don’t use a springform pan because the batter will leak since it’s so liquid.If I tried it again I’d also reduce the oil content by 25ml because it makes the cake way too oily. Recipe below:


For the cake
For the chocolate icing

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
  2. For the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)
  4. Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely, still in their tins, before icing.
  6. For the chocolate icing, heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate melts. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth, glossy and thickened. Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, or until thick enough to spread over the cake.
  7. To assemble the cake, run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the cake tins to loosen the cakes. Carefully remove the cakes from the tins.
  8. Spread a little chocolate icing over the top of one of the chocolate cakes, then carefully top with the other cake.
  9. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and ice the cake all over with the chocolate icing, using a palette knife.

The chocolate dessert cake is more of a fudge cake and is VERY sweet. My family did not appreciate it much because of it’s sweetness. However it was relatively simple to make and went well with some whipped cream. I followed the instructions down to the last fullstop and it came out pretty well!

Chocolate dessert cake decorated with broken toffee, strawberries and whipped cream.


  • 6 eggs, separated
  • half a cup of castor sugar
  • quarter cup of cocoa powder
  • 200g dark chocolate, melted
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tbspn Brandy
  • another extra half cup of castor sugar

1. beat egg yolks and sugar till creamy (best done with an electric mixer). Mix in cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
2. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with mixer till soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture until just combined.
3. Pour mixture into a greased 23cm by 9cm baking tin and bake for 35mins allowing cake to cool before removing from baking tin. Dust with icing sugar.
4. Beat cream with Brandy until slightly thickened but still of pouring consistency and refrigerate.

5. Melt sugar in a saucepan over high heat, move sauce pan around so sugar browns evenly. Bring to the boil, do not stir and cook until toffee is light golden colour. Pour toffee onto greased foil on a flat surface and leave to cool.When it has set break up the toffee into pieces.
6. To serve pour abt 4 tbspns of cream mixture onto a plate, place cake on it and decorate with the broken toffee.

Be careful to not leave the toffee on for too long! that’s the mistake I made and it came out bitter and slightly burnt.Double the recipe if you want a medium sized cake because this one is really small. I also skipped the pouring cream (step 4) and chose to have it with whipped cream instead.


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