Basic Chocolate Cake

I’m not particularly fond of chocolate. Did I ever tell you that? I don’t remember throwing tantrums for chocolate or chocolate-y things. Except once. When I was about four months pregnant, I desperately wanted some dark chocolate thins. But that was that. I know. I’m one of those.

I do, however, love baking with chocolate. Not just because people I bake for adore chocolate and can eat it in any form, any time of the day. There is something about chocolate that makes you want it. In my case, there is something about chocolate that makes me want to bake with it. I always have slabs of chocolate at home so I can melt them down and use to dip cake balls into, or make birthday cakes from.  Like this one. And this one. When I go baking-stuff-shopping, I always pick up chocolate chips to make cookies from or throw into a banana bread. I like my fair share of hot chocolate once in a Mumbai-monsoon-while, and having a bar of chocolate or a jarful of 70% can really come to the rescue.

The only form of chocolate that can, perhaps, make me happy is the old-fashioned chocolate cake. By “old fashioned,” I mean the kind of cake that mothers of my generation would bake at home. The kind that were made before cooking chocolate or any other fancy chocolate came to India. Amma would buy her tin of Cadbury’s Cocoa powder (strongly telling the grocer she wanted Cocoa, not Drinking chocolate) and make a very basic chocolate cake and top it with a rich chocolate glaze icing. My brother and I would spoon generous amounts of fresh cream, straight from the top of the milk pot, onto the hot cake and make funny noises while eating it. It is this chocolate cake that I crave for. Sometimes.

A Basic Chocolate Cake

This is a no-fuss recipe that gets done in minutes, really. The result is a light and happy chocolate cake that will take you back to childhood. Who are you making it for today, then?

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 and ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 and ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 and ¼ cup butter
  • 4 heaped tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 4 eggs


  1. Grease and line an 8 inch round pan or other pan of choice.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place the butter, sugar, vanilla essence, and eggs in a blender and whiz for about a minute, until creamy.
  5. Add the milk and whiz for another 15 seconds.
  6. Pour into the dry ingredients and fold lightly.
  7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Invert onto a serving plate and serve warm with cream or ice cream.
  9. Or, sprinkle with icing sugar and cocoa. Or decorate with chocolate buttercream.

Ingredients for chocolate buttercream:

  • 50 gms. butter
  • 100 ml. thick cream
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa
  • 2 cups icing sugar (more or less as required)


  1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine using a hand blender or wooden spoon.
  2. Use to top or sandwich cakes or cookies.

Comments (11)

  1. Poonam August 30, 2011 at 4:51 am

    that is one mouthwatering cake!

  2. Desisoccermom August 30, 2011 at 7:10 am

    I haven't been baking desserts this year for various reasons but an old fashioned cake like this, "the kind our mothers used to bake", sure looks tempting. I had a similar slice of store bought vanilla pound cake the other day, the first pound cake I liked in the US in ten years, and that too reminded me of the cakes my kaki used to bake (my Aai never baked).
    I have to tell you, I like how you take most of your photos by the quintessential window sills all flats in Mumbai have, with the grill and everything. 🙂

  3. Anjali August 30, 2011 at 8:51 am

    This is killing me, unfair Saee!

  4. Snehal August 30, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I'm no baker. But we used to bake those cakes for b'days at home. I remember making this type of a cake for a mandatory cooking class in school :). 25-30 students forced to work with one mixing bowl – you can imagine the mess! This brought back memories :).

  5. Nags August 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    that does look gorgeous and comforting. love the way you write 🙂

  6. Rosa's Yummy Yums August 31, 2011 at 8:11 am

    What a splendid cake! So tempting. I'm drooling…



  7. Pingback: The First Birthday Cake I Baked | Healthy Feasts

  8. Richa September 10, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Is there any alternate to eggs as we are pure vegetarians…

  9. Veena October 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I just love ypur website.. it is simply awesome
    Can you suggest alternate topping instead of buttercream something with fruits… My son loves fruit toppings…

  10. Revathi May 5, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Hi Saee,

    Tried this cake amd turned out to be splendid…my first attempt at baking…thanks to you:)

  11. Rohan January 19, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Nice recipe. It is very simple recipe of chocolate cake. I will try it on this weekend for weekend celebration. Form more chocolate Cakes contact

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