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Let them eat cake

We had a birthday in our house a few days ago (yay PJD!). To mark this special occasion, I baked a cake. I went in search of a most delicious chocolate cake recipe, which not only had to be relatively easy to make, with not too many ingredients, but which also had to be scrumptious in the way that chocolate-cakes-when-you-were-young tasted. After much leafing through recipe books, um-ing and ah-ing over which recipe looked and sounded the best (sometimes it’s easy to get drawn in by an amazing looking photo in a cookbook only to discover the recipe is overly complicated – don’t you agree?!), I settled on an aptly (if somewhat un-originally) named “Never-fail birthday chocolate cake with chocolate icing”. This recipe comes courtesy of Australian cook Bill Granger, found in one of the most reliable go-to books in my cookbook collection, Bill’s Holiday.

Birthday cake...

Happily, this chocolate cake is really fit for a birthday and it turned out to be super delicious, chocolatey and not dry at all (surely the common fear of all chocolate birthday cake makers!). It was also  really easy and fun to make – even if you have never baked a cake before, you’d be hard pressed to go wrong with this one. Hopefully Bill won’t mind that I’ve included the recipe below – remember to ice generously with the very best homemade creamy, buttery chocolate icing. Hint for amazing chocolate icing: use the very best cocoa powder you can find! I decorated my cake with a few brightly coloured Peanut Butter M&Ms for something different (shipped from a dear friend in the USA!), but you could leave it undecorated or decorate with anything else you like. Get creative! One word of warning: this recipe says it serves 16 –  and I can confirm it really does! Perfect for a birthday party with a few of your closest cake-loving friends. Enjoy!



Photos by CIA, 11 March 2013.


Never-fail birthday chocolate cake – By Bill Granger, Holiday


250g unsalted butter, softened

440g sugar

4 eggs

250ml milk

310g plain flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade/350 farenheit. Grease and line a 20 x 30 cm cake tin.

Beat the butter sugar, eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and vanilla wth electric beaters for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is pale and well combined. Pour into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack. Ice with chocolate icing when completely cool.



3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yummmm. Chocolate Smarties Cake. Can’t beat it.

    Your blog is on my Blogs I Read page

    March 25, 2013
  2. Happy birthday! May your year be filled with love, joy, laughter, and the fulfillment of your dreams! xoxoM

    March 26, 2013
  3. nienke Verhoeks #

    Happy birthday!!!
    The cake looks amazing!

    March 28, 2013

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