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Mary Berry’s Death by Chocolate Cake

An indulgent chocolate cake recipe from the Mary Berry's Simple Cakes book. Death by chocolate layers up a chocolate sponge, icing and wavy decorations.

From the book

Mary Berry


I have given a generous amount of icing to fill and ice this cake, as death by chocolate should be sheer luxury and a complete indulgence! The icing is very easy to make, but take care not to overheat it or it will lose its shine. For the same reason, don’t store the cake in the fridge – a cool place is fine.

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275g (10 oz) plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp baking powder
215g (7½ oz) caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 eggs, beaten
225 ml (8 fl oz) sunflower oil
225 ml (8 fl oz) milk
For the icing:
450g (1 lb) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
200g (7 oz) unsalted butter
For the chocolate waves:
About 50g (2 oz) each of white and plain chocolate

Essential kit

You will need 2 loose-bottomed 20 cm (8 in) sandwich tins, 4 cm (1½ in) deep.


Lightly grease two loose-bottomed 20cm sandwich tins (4cm deep) and line the bases with non-stick baking parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix well.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the golden syrup, eggs, oil and milk. Beat well, using a wooden spoon, until smooth and then pour into the prepared tins.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cakes are well risen and spring back when pressed lightly with the fingertips. Turn out on to a wire rack, remove the lining paper and leave to cool completely. Cut each cake in half horizontally.

For the icing, put the chocolate into a bowl placed over a pan of hot water. The water in the pan must not touch the bowl or the chocolate may overheat. Place the pan over a low heat until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally, then add the butter and stir until the butter has melted.

Put half the cake for the bottom layer on a wire rack and place a baking tray underneath to catch the drips. Spoon a little of the icing on to the cake, spreading it evenly to the sides. Repeat with the remaining cake layers, then pour the remaining icing over the top of the cake and use a small palette knife to smooth it evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Leave to set.

For the chocolate waves, melt the white and dark chocolate in separate small bowls over a pan of hot water. Spread the chocolate on to 4 strips of foil about 4 cm (1½ in) wide and 35 cm (14 in) long. Lay the strips carefully over 2 mugs or tins, placed on their sides on a baking tray, to give a wavy shape. Allow to set in the fridge, then carefully peel off the foil and use the chocolate waves to decorate the top of the cake.


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From the book: Simple Cakes

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