The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe in the World!

There must be a million or more chocolate cake recipes around, and I’m sure most of them will make you a lovely cake. However, all of those recipes are just pretenders to the throne when it comes to being the greatest, as in my humble opinion, this classic milk chocolate cake has it in the bag. But don’t take my word for it – read on to find out why it’s so good and how to make one for yourself.

Milk chocolate cake covered in colourful sprinkles

Could this be the yummiest chocolate cake recipe in the world? You’ll have to make it to find out!

This milk chocolate cake is known in my family as ‘The’ birthday cake, as it’s the one my mother would bake for each and every one of our birthdays. So nostalgia is admittedly a part of the charm of this cake for me, but it also tastes sooooo good! Made with a not-so-secret ingredient that tuns it from a plain chocolate cake to a milk chocolate cake, it’s lighter and less stodgy than many others out there, and very kid-friendly. This is a chocolate sponge cake that will keep moist for a good week (I’m told – we’ve never managed to make one last that long), and goes perfectly with a nice cup of tea.

Close-up of milk chocolate cake covered with sprinkles

Colourful sprinkles make this THE party cake!

Close up of sprinkles on top of milk chocolate cake

Can you have too many sprinkles? We say ‘No!’

The recipe came from a tattered old Be-Ro Flour recipe book that my mother has had since the sixties, first published in 1923. When I went off to college (yes, alright, a while ago now – but the Ninties rocked!), my mum found that Be-Ro were still publishing it  and ordered me my own copy. It’s just a little booklet, but it’s full of gems and all the classics – every recipe you could need for your baking. Over the years I’ve used it so much that my own copy is now also rather tatty and falling apart (I’ll never part with it though!). I recently found where to order it (https://be-ro.co.uk/) and got myself the latest – 41st – edition.

Well-used, slightly tatty copy of Be-Ro recipe book

The perennial classic Be-Ro Flour recipe book

Be-Ro recipe book showing page with milk chocolate cake recipe

Shocker – not in the 41st edition!!

Outrageously, the recipe for the cake has not been included in this latest edition, though Be-Ro do still have it on the website (search for ‘Milk Chocolate Cake’ on their Recipe Inspiration page). This revised edition is still worth ordering as there are lots of other great recipes – and it only costs a few pounds. You can order and pay for it online (despite what Be-Ro say on their website), so if you want a copy of your own just click on the link that says ‘Buy the 41st Edition Be-Ro Recipe Book’ to get to the order form.

What follows is our evolution of this recipe – basically the same with a only a few small changes to the method and ingredients. It has been tried and tested over *quite a few* birthdays and I can promise that it’s quick and easy to make, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

The Best Ever Milk Chocolate Cake Recipe

This recipe makes a great big cake, using either one (with no filling) or two 23cm (9″) cake tins.
​It’s a chocolate cake – we don’t do those in small!

Ingredients

​for the cake:

  • 400g self raising flour. If you’ve had the flour for a while, also add a heaped teaspoon of baking powder.
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder (sieved)
Dry ingredients needed for milk chocolate cake recipe

The ‘dry’ ingredients needed for this Milk Chocolate Cake recipe

  • 200g Margarine (e.g. Stork) – you’ll get a lighter cake than using butter, and it contains much less fat. But if you prefer, you can substitute butter.
  • 4 large free-range eggs.
  • 10 tablespoons (150ml) evaporated milk 
  • 10 tablespoons (150ml) tap water 
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
'wet' ingredients needed for Be-Ro milk chocolate cake recipe

The ‘wet’ ingredients needed for this Milk Chocolate Cake recipe

For the icing/filling:

  • 100g butter​ (you can use margarine, as in the cake itself, but I prefer butter for the icing).
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (sieved)
  • 400g icing sugar (sieved)
  • 5 tablespoons (75ml) evaporated milk
  • a few drops of vanilla extract 
ingredients for icing a milk chocolate cake

Once your cake is baked, you’ll need these ingredients for your icing!

Method

​for the cake

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180° C / 350° F / gas mark 4. Grease and line one or two 23cm/9″ cake tins (two to make a sandwich or one for a big cake covered in icing all over).

Baking paper and a pair of scissors

Cutting lining paper.

Traditional cake tin half-lined with baking paper

Tabs in the side stripe.

Cake tin lined with baking paper and greased with butter

Trim excess paper.

​2. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together in the mixing bowl, add the sugar and salt and mix together.

KitchenAid mixer bowl with mix of sugar and flour

Mixing cocoa powder, salt, sugar and flour.

Cake mixer bowl filled with cocoa, flour and sugar

All mixed up!

3.  Add the margarine to the dry ingredients and mix in until you get a texture like biscuit crumbs. Make sure there are no big lumps!

KitchenAid mixer bowl combining margarine with flour, sugar and cocoa powder

Add soft margarine to the mix

KitchenAid mixing bowl filled with crumb-like chocolate cake mix

After mixing in the butter.

4.  In a separate bowl, combine the ‘wet’ ingredients’ (egg, evaporated milk, vanilla essence and water), and beat together just enough to blend everything together.

bowl with beaten eggs, jug with milk

The final ingredients, ready to add to the mix!

KitchenAid mixing bowl full of chocolate cake batter

This is when it starts to get yummy…

5.  ​Add the wet mix to your main bowl, stirring in and then beating just enough to combine.

6.  Split the mixture evenly between the two cake tins, and pop in the oven.

Empty KitchenAid bowl - inside covered in scraped chocolate cake batter

Some spoon-licking may or may not have happened here…

7.  Bake for approx 25-30 minutes. You should be able to smell the cake when it’s near ready, and when you take it out it should be  shrinking slightly away from the tin. a skewer or knife should come out cleanly (with no sticky mix on it!). If you are baking this as one big cake, it will need approximately 40-45 minutes.

8.  Leave in the tins for 5 – 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

Chocolate cake cooling on wire rack

All turned out and ready for icing.

​for the milk chocolate icing/filling

1.  Melt the butter (it doesn’t need to be completely liquid, just very soft). Blend in the sieved cocoa powder. Doing this with warm butter ensures you don’t get grainy cocoa flecks in your finished icing.

2.  Add the sieved icing sugar, stirring into the butter along with the evaporated milk and vanilla extract.

3.  Once all combined, Beat well until smooth and thick.

Chocolate cake icing being made in KitchenAid mixer

Butter + (Icing sugar + cocoa powder) + SECRET INGREDIENT = YUM

​finishing off your milk chocolate cake

1.  Spread your milk chocolate icing generously over the base of one of your cooled cakes if making a sandwich cake.

KitchenAid beater covered in milk chocolate cake icing

Blend until smoooooth.

Chocolate cake half covered in icing

Slap on that icing – top, middle, sides…

2.  Carefully sandwich the cakes together and use the rest of the icing to cover the top. This mix holds well to the sides, so if you’ve made this as one big cake (my preferred way) then you can cover top and sides of the whole cake if you like (we do!)

3.  Finish with your choice of sprinkles. Our kids are partial to a bit of everything in the cupboard, for maximum party cake chic. My mum used to use chocolate buttons, or if you’re after a more sophisticated look, a bit of grated chocolate orange over the top is absolutely divine.  Don’t forget the candles or mini sparklers for birthdays and special occasions!

iced chocolate cake, bowl of cake sprinkles with jars of sprinkles behind.

Sprinkles make me happy – but I have found it best to ration the kids by putting some in a bowl…

4.  Light those candles and take it through… Happy Birthday!

Close-up of chocolate cake covered in colourful sprinkles

Delicious Milk Chocolate Cake, ready to eat…

Store this cake in a cool place (NOT the fridge – that will dry it out), in a sealed container or under a cake dome, and it will keep for around a week and still taste good. You are very unlikely to have any left after a week, though!

Tip: If you make this as one big cake rather than a layer cake with filling, you’ll probably have a bit of icing left over. It keeps well in the fridge, so try a dollop on vanilla ice-cream…

Looking down on chocolate cake covered in colourful sprinkles

One delicious Milk Chocolate Cake; one million sprinkles!


If you’ve enjoyed reading this, why not check out some of our other cake recipes?

Orange and Blackcurrant Victoria Sandwich Recipe

For when the classic needs mixing up!

Lego brick birthday cake recipe

This impressive-looking cake is a doddle to make!

14 Comments

  1. I am always looking for the best chocolate cake… Will need to try this one!

    • Rochelle @ Rhubarb and Wren

      Look no further… This is definitely the best! Not that it hurts to sample any others that come your way too, though… 😉

  2. Yum! That is one good looking chocolate cake. Do I need a reason to make one…? Hmmm nope, this is this weekends cake sorted. Thanks

  3. Jenny | Midwife and Life

    That looks so tasty! I never get chocolate cake right

  4. This looks amazing! I love a bit of margarine in a cake too ❤ beautiful x

  5. I made this with orange essence (as didn’t have vanilla). Was very delicious! And visiting family agreed…

    • Rochelle @ Rhubarb and Wren

      That’s a great idea, Jo – love a bit of chocolate orange; will have to try that variation! I often sprinkle grated chocolate orange on top – they go together beautifully.

  6. oh I have being looking for this recipe for ages my mum always made this cake and it brings back so many childhood memories thank you so much

  7. I can’t believe it – this is one of my favourite recipes, too!! My mum made it from the Be-Ro book for many of our birthdays and it really is so good!! I do have the cookbook knocking around somewhere, but I’m delighted to find your recipe and to be able to pin it. Thanks for sharing x
    #MMBC

    • Rochelle - Rhubarb and Wren

      Ha ha! It certainly is a classic! I’m willing to bet everyone makes their own tweaks to it too, so I’d be intrigued to hear whether your mum made any changes of her own to the recipe…

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