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Mrs Holymans Chocolate Sponge Cake

Damned fine cake - rubbish photo
My friend Sam makes a great chocolate cake. She is a chemist and writer by trade and I've tried to capture a bit of her delivery in this post as she makes me grin every time with the science she can't help but bring to baking. I'm also jealous of how she can measure out and bake without scales - as she does so much measuring professionally she is amazing to watch. Here is her cake recipe.

8oz self raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8oz soft butter
8oz sugar
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
A slug of vanilla essence
Milk to slacken

Cream the butter and sugar until white soft and fluffy
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl
Add a tablespoon of flour into butter and sugar mix, (stops it curdling and helps it bind). Then add the eggs in four parts folding between each with a wooden spoon
Add the remainder of the flour and cocoa powder and everything else. Fold together until a homogenious mixture
Test consistency by putting some on the spoon and flicking it into the mixture - if it falls with relative ease and keeps it's form its fine - if too stiff to flick add milk, if too slack add flour

Put the mixture into a greased and floured tin or a baking parchment liner in a tin. Make a well in the centre so approx 1 cm lower than the centre of the cake and hold the tin and tap it with gusto on a table to release the larger air bubbles

Cook in a 160c oven until the cake is springy to the touch. Sam tests it when she can smell it. Test with a skewer to ensure cooked through. Leave to cool slightly in the tin until it comes away from the edges, then take out to cool on a wire rack

Slice the cold cake in half horizontally

Add raspberry jam or chocolate spread and put back together. Stick chocolate buttons on the top with chocolate spread as glue



  1. Sounds delicious. I've always wanted to be able to measure things by eye, but I've never managed to do it consistently. Test it when you can smell it is a good rule.
    There are no eggs in the list of ingredients - should that be 4 eggs?

  2. Gosh - well spotted - I had somehow typed '4 sponge' instead of 4 eggs. Thank you!

    She is amazing to see in action with the whole measuring by eye thing.