Best Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe Ever!

First of all Happy Birthday to Tom, one of SfD’s star models (and my handsome son) over the last year. Today is his 1st birthday, so to celebrate I have baked him a 3 tier chocolate cake in the shape of a circus tent! I hope he likes it…

Opening his first present at 6am!

Opening his first present at 6am!

However, that’s not the whole point of this blog. I’m going to share with you the recipe for the chocolate cake and a couple of pictures of the finished design.


  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 350g/12½oz caster sugar
  • 85g/3oz cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 250ml/9fl oz milk
  • 125ml/4½fl oz vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml/9fl oz boiling water


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
  • For the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined.
  • Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)
  • Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely, still in their tins, before filling and icing.

For the filling I used 140g of unsalted butter softened, mixed with 250g icing sugar and 100g of cocoa powder. Mix all this together in a bowl adding a tablespoon of milk if required to loosen it. Spread this one to the top of the first layer and plop the top on it. For Tom’s tent I added a third layer in the same way and then cut it in a cone shape. In order to stick the icing to the cake you will need to put the filling all over the sides and the top.

For the icing I used royal icing in different colours to make up the different layers of the tent starting with white for the base and adding the red and blue on top. If like me the icing has wrinkles or rips in it don’t worry. Use a teaspoon and hot water to smooth over the edges and no one will ever know. If you get icing sugar on the colours use damp cloth to lightly rub over them and it will disappear. Make sure you press it down firmly.

This is how Tom’s turned out…

Chocolate Circus Birthday Cake

Chocolate Circus Birthday Cake


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