LET'S eat cake!

Cake might be the king of desserts – after all, it's the universally accepted way to celebrate our birthday.

The word cake comes from the Old Norse term Kaka, meaning flat cakes made from nuts and honey.

Cakes are traditionally round, symbolising the cyclical nature of life, like the sun or moon.

Egyptians were among the first to develop a big interest in baking, sweetening their creations with honey.

We honour cake at four o'clock most afternoons, we give in to temptations at elevenses after Pop Master, we salute a wedding, respect a funeral and celebrate a birthday – all by eating cake.

You bake a fruit cake at Christmas, thank the Lord with a slice of simnel cake, bible cake or scripture cake being inspired by ingredients mentioned in the Bible.

We have soul cake, shy cake, courting cake, sad cake and not forgetting sly cake.

There is nothing in this country for which a cake hasn't been named - moth cake anyone? Page down page down

A classic chocolate cake is the one I always fall back on for birthdays and special occasions, and one I secretly craved every year for my birthday.

There are two types of cakes in this world: the rich, sophisticated ones, eaten in delicate slivers on posh side plates; and the homely, comforting kind that, if push came to a shove, most of us really prefer.

The latter are the sort of cakes made by the Women's Institute and sold on paper plates, wrapped in clingfilm for the local village church fete.

In short, what I'm trying to say is that cake is probably eaten for breakfast too

I may big fan of all humbler, homelier kinds of cakes - a feather-light sponge will always have a special place in my oven – but after much soul searching it always comes down to flavour, and chocolate cake always wins.

It has everything: the fluffiness of the Victoria cake, the bitter sweetness from the dark rich chocolate. No wonder it's on page one of my recipe book and chosen as my last meal on earth.

Cocoa powder is the backbone to good flavour, and adding a little more won't give granny a heart attack - chocolate cake is the kind of cake that's modest in proportion and the only cake that can give you a rounded flavour.

I'm not looking for nostalgic comfort here, but for a timeless classic.

Sandwiching it together with buttercream will always add charm and for most the original option, but other options can be used. More cake anyone!     

Chocolate Cake recipe - 12 portions 


225g/8oz butter, softened 

225g/8oz caster sugar 

175g self-raising flour, sieved

4 medium eggs 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

50g/2oz cocoa powder 

100g dark chocolate chips, optional extra   

2 tablespoons milk  


75g/3oz butter, softened

175g/6oz icing sugar, sieved 

50g/2oz cocoa powder 

10ml milk or water

* Double the icing recipe if you want to mask the sides and top as well 


1. Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4 then butter and parchment paper line two 8-inch sandwich tins. 

2. Cream together the butter and sugar for five minutes until light and fluffy. 

3. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour if the batter curdles. 

4. Fold in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. 

5. Divide the mixture between the two lined tins and bake for around 25-30 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.

6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling wire. 

7. To make the chocolate butter icing. Place the butter into a bowl and beat until soft, then gradually sift and beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, adding just enough milk to make the icing fluffy and spreadable.

8. Use the chocolate icing to sandwich the two sandwiches together, dusting the top of the cake lightly with a little sieved icing sugar or melted chocolate.