Chocolate Cake Recipe

I found this recipe on Robyn from Add a Pinch‘s blog and it has since become my go-to recipe for a lovely, light, moist chocolate cake which can be used in a a variety of ways.

I’ve used it as the base of a black forest flavour inspired cake (brushing with a cherry syrup, filling with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and chopped cherries and covering in a chocolate ganache).  I’ve used it with a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, with a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, with dark chocolate ganache, and (my favourite) with a salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream.

I have adapted Robyn’s recipe to be easier for Australian customers by using the weight measurements rather than cups, and converting the temperatures for you.  Whilst it is super easy to put it into a mixer it could just as easily be made with a bowl and a whisk if you prefer (or don’t have a mixer).


  • 300g plain flour
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (10g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (9g)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (3g)
  • 1 teaspoon of instant coffee (2g)
  • 250ml milk
  • 125ml oil (I use rice bran oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 250ml boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Take into consideration how your own oven runs and whether it runs hotter or cooler than the dial.  If you’re a regular baker an oven thermometer is a fabulous investment
  2. Prepare two eight inch round (20cm) cake pans by greasing / spraying with oil and lining the base with baking paper
  3. Place the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and coffee) into the mixer bowl and the wet ingredients, minus the boiling water, (milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla) into a large measuring jug (at least two cups).  Put the kettle on to boil.
  4. Put the mixing bowl onto the mixer with a paddle beater and mix on low for about 30 seconds.  Stop the mixer and scrape the base of the bowl to ensure that all the ingredients are mixed together.
  5. Start the mixer on low (speed 1) and slowly pour in the wet ingredients from your jug.  Once they’ve all started to incorporate increase the speed of your mixer to medium (speed 5) until they’re all combined.
  6. Using the same measuring jug, measure out 250ml of boiling water, reduce the speed of the mixer to to low (speed 1) and slowly add the water to the mix.
  7. Once the boiling water has stopped splashing increase the speed of your mixer to med/high (speed 6-7) for approximately 1 minute.  This helps incorporate air bubbles into your mixture and creates the lovely, light texture.
  8. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give a quick scrape of the bottom to ensure its all mixed well.
  9. Pour the cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
  10. Place into pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes (baking time will depend on individual ovens).  Cakes are baked when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  The cake will start to tell you when it’s nearly done by the smell and the sides of the cake starting to come away from the pan.  The cake will bounce back slightly when touched in the middle.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on wire racks in their tins for approximately 15 minutes before turning out onto the rack and allowing to cool completely.
  12. Decorate the cake to your heart’s content!

Chocolate drizzle cake


  • Gluten free plain flour can also be used to make the cake gluten free.
  • I use rice bran oil in my recipe.  Any other light flavoured oil can be used as to your preferences e.g. canola, vegetable etc. I wouldn’t recommend using something like olive oil as the flavour is too strong.
  • To ensure your cake batter is divided evenly between both tins measure the empty mixing bowl before starting.  When your mix is complete weigh it again, minus the original mixing bowl weight and divide by two.  Place your prepared cake pan onto the scales, tare out and then pour the batter in until it reaches your calculated weight.  Give yourself about 20-40g leeway to allow for mixture left on the bowl and spatula.  This should ensure your cakes bake to be the same size and ensure even cooking times.
  • Cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for a couple of days if you need to prepare it sooner than your event.  It should last up to a week once decorated.  Cakes can be frozen if you wrap twice in plastic wrap and once in alfoil so as to avoid freezer burn.
  • I use the same measuring jug for my wet ingredients and boiling water as the boiling water helps get out all of the leftover bits of oil and vanilla etc.
  • I use Hershey’s cocoa powder (which I believe is the recipe that Robyn originally adapted her recipe from) but any other cocoa powder will work.
  • Robyn’s recipe uses espresso powder where I’ve used instant coffee.  I made this change as espresso powder hasn’t been easy to come by and unless you’re making the cake a lot it probably isn’t worth sourcing it.  If you prefer you can put a shot of espresso in your jug before making it up to 250ml for a richer flavour but instant coffee is fine if you don’t have this as an option.
  • This recipe can also be used to make approximately 24 cupcakes.  Just bake for 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean) at 160 degrees celsius.  Rotate the trays halfway through baking to ensure even cooking.

For any easy to print version click here.

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