Sweet tooth satisfaction at home: Super simple chocolate sponge

After all the buzz about the Great British Bake Off, I got completely in the mood for a bit of baking on Saturday, I even felt like experimenting. Unfortunately what I hoped might look a bit like a chocolate version of these cake squares, after foolishly making up my own version turned out like this. On the upside, not only did this little square of sweetness get some admiration on Facebook, it also tasted pretty good and I discovered that I had a simple and reliable chocolate sponge cake on my hands.

So in case you need to whip up a cake at the last minute or you just fancy satisfying your sweet tooth I thought I’d share the recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need for a normal sponge ( the quantities in brackets will give you enough for a large square cake, perfect for bigger parties):

  • 200g [300g] plain flour
  • 40g [60g] cocoa powder
  • 280g [420g] caster sugar
  • 3 [4 1/2] teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 80g [120g] unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 240ml [360g] whole milk
  • 2 [3] eggs
  • 1/2 [3/4] teaspoon vanilla extract

You’ll also need one portion of butter icing, which means:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 40ml whole milk

Pre-heat your oven to 170 °C (325 °F) Gas 3. Get your ingredients and put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl. Mix until it’s all combined, leaving a sandy texture. I don’t have a food mixers so I start with a fork (to avoid a flour storm) and then use an electric whisk.

Next whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract in a jug, then slowly pour about half in the flour mixture and beat with your whisk to combine. Turn up the speed and mix until you get rid of any lumps. Slowly pour the rest of the milk mixture and whisk until smooth, being careful not to over mix.

Grease two cake tins (or two brownie trays lined with grease-proof paper if you’re using the bigger mixture). Divide your mixture between the two tins and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes. A knife in the centre should come out clean when it’s done.

Whilst your sponge is cooking (or cooling on a wire rack) you can whip up your icing. Beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder. I use a spoon first, smoothing it together to avoid an icing sugar cloud. Then I add a little milk and use the electric whisk, adding more and more milk until I get what looks more like edible icing. Beat it together for a few extra minutes to make sure it’s well mixed.

When your sponge is nice and cool, using your least pretty cake as the bottom, spoon on your icing and spread across the sponge so you have an even layer.

Add your top layer and tah-dah! One cake (or about 30 ‘cake squares’) to share or enjoy with a cuppa.

Unfortunately I can’t take all the credit for this recipe as I’ve simply turned The Hummingbird Bakery chocolate cupcake recipe into a cake, doubling or tripling the ingredients.  It always produces a good cake and I’m impressed with how quickly I can make one.

Do you have a cake you can whip up in no time?

P.S. If you’re wondering what the white sauce is, I melted some white chocolate with the intention of completely covering each cake square. It looks terrible but it still tastes good!


  1. October 29, 2012 / 9:16 pm

    This has inspired me to take up home baking! A good way to keep warm at home as the nights draw in and it gets colder 🙂

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      October 29, 2012 / 9:35 pm

      It’s definitely a good excuse to stand by the oven and add a little layer for winter with sweet treats! More recipes coming up 🙂 x