Holly Bells' old fashioned chocolate cake - Bake a difference

Holly Bells’ old fashioned chocolate cake

This is the chocolate cake of my childhood. One mouthful and I am transported to happy memories of chocolatey cake crumbs and ice cold milk.


  • 150g butter, salted or unsalted but I tend to use salted
  • 250mls water
  • 250g dark chocolate, finely chopped (do NOT use milk, it will not work)
  • 300g plain flour
  • 60g cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 550g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 30mls olive oil
  • 90mls milk
  • 10mls lemon juice (from a bottle is fine)
  • For the ganache icing:
  • 300mls double cream
  • 300g dark chocolate, finely chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 3 and line 2 x 20cm round tins.
  • Melt together the butter, cold water and chocolate for the cake in a saucepan. Once melted remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Mix together the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the dry mixture along with the eggs and oil. Beat for 4 minutes until smooth.
  • In the meantime add the lemon juice to the milk to sour it. Add this to the cake mixture and beat for another minute until really creamy and smooth.
  • Divide equally between the two tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 50 – 55 minutes until well risen and a toothpick comes out of the centre of the cake clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack, out of the tins. Make the icing by scalding the cream in a saucepan (where it bubbles at the outer edges) and then stir in all the chopped chocolate until smooth. Leave to set at room temperature. Once thick use to sandwich and ice the cake.


Recipe donated by Holly Bell for Bake a difference
Photo of Howard copyright: David Loftus