readingFamily Chocolate Cake

Family Chocolate Cake
Recipe - 27 January 2020


This recipe is one of my most requested – over and over again. Sure to delight everyone no matter the occasion! As with all cake baking, please ensure all ingredients are at room temperature (including the buttermilk!)


Cook Time

30-35 minutes






  • 175g unsalted butter, softened plus more for the tin
  • 100g 50-60% cocoa solids chocolate, finely chopped
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 275g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 90g 50-60% cocoa solids chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened and diced
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 150ml double cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Butter 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins, each 4.5cm deep, and line the bases with baking parchment.

2. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour over 120ml just – boiled water. Stir until melted, then set aside to cool.

3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, then stir in the ground almonds.

4. In a bowl of an electric mixer (or in a bowl with a electric hand whisk), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (this will take a good 5 minutes). Add the vanilla extract to the eggs. With the whisk running, very slowly add the egg mixture to the butter and sugar, adding 1 tbsp of the flour during the process to prevent curdling, then add the melted chocolate and the buttermilk.

5. Fold in the remaining flour very gently and divide the mixture between the tins. Bake for 30-35 mins, or until firm to the touch. Leave for a minute or 2 in the tins before turning out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave until absolutely cold.

6. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl suspended over gently simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water.

7. Remove the bowl from the heat, then stir in the syrup and sugar and, lastly, gradually pour in the cream until all is well blended and smooth. Allow to cool completely, then whisk until it thickens. Spread half on the base of 1 cake. Sandwich the 2 cakes, bases together, then spread the remaining icing on top.

Copyright © Fiona Cairns 2010 Extracted from Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns published by Quadrille publishing ltd. Photography by Laura Hynd

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