Death by Chocolate Cake from Mary Berry


This cake was one I had my eye on for a while, simply because of the name. But, as the old adage goes, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and the name turned out to be a little more than the cake could deliver. It’s a good cake and the icing is actually  one of my favourite types of icing (the texture is better than ganache for icing cakes, I feel) but the cake overall is not the most chocolat-ey or indulgent as the name claims. Certainly give this recipe a shot – the amount of icing it makes is  enough to turn any cake into a chocolate feast, but don’t expect the richness in taste or texture as a chocolate fudge cake or Nigella’s chocolate orange cake.


  • 275g plain flour
  • 3 level tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 level tsp bi-card of soda
  • 1 1/2 level tsp baking powder
  • 215g caster sugar
  • 3 tbs golden syrup
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 225ml sunflower oil
  • 225ml milk


  • 450g plain chocolate
  • 200g unsalted butter

Pre-heat your oven to 160° and grease two 20cm cake tins, lining the base of each tin with baking paper.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, bi-carb soda and baking powder. Add the sugar and mix with a wooden spoon.
Making a well in the dry ingredients, and add in the golden syrup, eggs, oil and milk and beat all together briskly with your spoon.


When the batter is smooth, pour into the prepared tins.


Bake for about 35 minutes, or until well risen. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes and then turn out to cool on a wire rack. Mary Berry stipulates each cake must be cut in half horizontally once they have cooled but I did not read the recipe well to begin with, so I completely skipped this step! But I can see how this would make the cake more rich and decadent (with extra layers of icing) so be sure include this step when you bake it.


To make the chocolate icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Watch constantly and remove from the heat when the chocolate has just melted. Stir until smooth and then add in the butter. Stir briskly until smooth. Leave aside to cool. It will thicken a little on standing.

On the first (bottom) piece of cake, spread some of the chocolate icing. I also included a thin layer of good raspberry jam, but that’s just my personal preference. Continue stacking and sandwiching the layers together with the chocolate icing. Pour the remaining icing over the cake, spreading the icing to cover the sides of the cake. To catch drips, stand the wire rack on a baking tray. Leave it to set and then decorate with coarsely grated white and milk chocolate.


I decorated with some halved chocolate balls as I didn’t have any white chocolate to hand for grating. Overall, I would say this cake is very chocolate-ey but not as damply rich as the very best choclate fudge cake. I prefer the texture of the fudge cake to this cake so I will probably make that one in future.


  1. Hello, I was just wondering if the oven temp of 160 was for fan ovens or conventional oven?


    1. Hi Natalie

      160 celcius is for fan-forced ovens.
      I usually check the cake 10 minutes before it’s done. Depending on the weather (and other unknown factors), it is sometimes cooked through at this point. I recommend checking your cake at this point to avoid over-cooking.


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