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  • Writer's pictureGemma Nicholas

Chocolate cake recipe

Updated: May 16, 2021

I’ve never been a big fan of chocolate cakes as I find them too heavy, but this one inspired by Liv For Cake is light but still delivers on the decadent chocolate-y flavour. It’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe and it's a real crowd pleaser!

I recommend pairing this with Italian meringue buttercream, but you can experiment with different flavours – salted caramel, oreo, Nutella or just more chocolate!

Serves 12 (makes three 6-inch layers or two 8-inch layers)


2 tsp instant coffee granules

250ml water

235ml milk

15ml lemon juice

250g plain flour

360g granulated / caster sugar

80g good quality cocoa powder

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp table salt

95g vegetable oil

2 large eggs

Special equipment needed



1. Preheat oven to 160°C fan (180°C conventional)

2. Grease and line the base and sides of three 6-inch or two 8-inch cake tins [check out my blog post on lining cake tins]

3. Make instant coffee with 250ml boiling water and 2 tsp instant coffee granules. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. In a small bowl, combine 230ml milk and 15ml of lemon juice. Set aside and stir occasionally. The mixture will look curdled as the acid in the lemon juice reacts with the milk. The acidic buttermilk will react with the bicarbonate of soda creating carbon dioxide that will give the cake its volume and make it light and fluffy. Alternatively, you can use 250ml of ready-made buttermilk.

5. Sieve dry ingredients (250g plain flour, 360g sugar, 80g cocoa powder, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp table salt) into a mixer bowl. Stir to combine.

6. In a separate bowl, combine 95g vegetable oil, 2 eggs and the milk and lemon juice (buttermilk) mixture. Slowly pour in the coffee while stirring.

7. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together until completely combined (on medium speed with paddle attachment if using an electric stand mixer). The batter is meant to be thin, don’t panic.

8. Divide the mixture evenly between your cake tins. The cake will rise a lot in the oven so don’t fill the cake tins more than half full.

9. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. The 6-inch cakes will bake faster than 8-inch cakes.

10. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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