Chocolate cake!

I don’t know about Madame Pickles, I seem to be Mrs Cakes recently, it was Harry’s birthday just after New Year when carrot cake and coffee walnut cake were requested. It’s always a joy to lose myself in the kitchen – such as it is! My work surface is a pasting table with a plastic table cloth on top…. That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed my mission and was delighted when I was asked to produce chocolate cake for Paul, my favourite son-in-law’s birthday. (I can say that, he’s the only one I’ve got!)


Out came my cake recipe book “Be-Ro Home Recipes” it is a small pamphlet my grandmother, who was not a good cook, gave to my mother, a very good cook. The booklet has got to be 50 years old. When my mother died I asked my sister if she would mind me having Mother’s cookery books, the Be-Ro book was one of my treasured acquisitions.



When I was young my mother would have a baking day, usually a Friday ready for the weekend, we used to tease her that we didn’t dare say we liked something because we would have it every week until we were sick of it, Canadian date slice still springs to mind!! We had no idea how lucky we were to have such wonderful home made goodies every week. My mother worked very hard at being a perfect housewife, to her it was a full time job, she was a 1950’s professional housewife.

The chocolate cake she used to make, I decided to do for Paul.

I’m afraid it’s all in ounces, as I said, it’s a very old booklet


Grease and flour 2 deep 7″ tins, not loose bottomed, the mixture is very soft.

Sift together:
7 ozs Self raising flour
8 ozs caster sugar
¾ tsp salt
2 tbs cocoa powder
Rub in:
4 ozs margarine (I use butter)
Stir in:
2 beaten eggs mixed with
5 tbs of evaporated milk
5 tbs water
1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat well and bake for 35 minutes in a moderate oven 165 celcius

The chocolate icing

Melt together:
2 ½ ozs margarine (butter)
4 tbs cocoa
Stir in:
8 ozs icing sugar,
3 tbs hot milk – use the evaporated
1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat until thick, put a layer between the cakes, on top and the sides.

Now I thought, get ahead and prepare the cakes, put them in the freezer, all I’ve got to do on the day of Paul’s birthday is ice the cake.

Well used?


I proudly tell my daughter the cakes are prepared and I’ve used Nanna’s old recipe. I wax lyrical about the booklet, how I’m going to mention it in the blog (she’d asked me to do a bit for the blog as I was on a baking spree). I was even going to do a bit about an old text book I used for my “O” Level Home Economics exam, I’d found it with the Be-Ro book and had had great fun flicking through the recipes (which I still use) and laughing at my notes written in the book 45 years ago. I had had ambitions to be a Home Economics teacher but much to my parents horror dropped out of my “A” Level course, abandoning all ideas of teaching. What goes around comes around, Harriet did the same to me and her Dad, I remember being mortified at her announcement and realised for the first time how my parents must have felt. (For the record, Harriet and I both went on to have careers we loved so it didn’t work out too bad!)


Anyway, back to chocolate cakes.

Harriet says “Thanks Mum but could you do a vegan chocolate cake too?”

Shock, horror, vegan cooking, not something I know a lot about.

“Don’t worry” says Harriet, “Look a recipe up on the internet, it will be good to have the old with the new.”

Good job I love you Harriet! – Here’s the vegan chocolate cake (care of the wonderful Nigella and the internet)


60 ml cold water
75 g coconut butter (she says not oil it’s not the same – on another website it said use vegan margarine)
50 g soft dark brown sugar
1 ½ tsp instant expresso powder
1 ½ tbs cocoa powder
150 g 70% dark chocolate finely chopped

225 g plain flour
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp instant expresso powder (I used coffee essence)
75g cocoa powder
300g soft dark brown sugar
375 ml hot water
90 ml coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Edible rose petals and chopped pistachios for decoration – I will use walnuts and grated chocolate

Use an 8″ round tin not loose bottomed, the mixture is very runny (I used a silicone container and put it inside a metal tin – the mixture was so runny and the silicone is so floppy I could imagine the contents tipping into my oven as I tried to place it on the rung.)

Heat oven to 180 celcius
Put icing ingredients except for the chopped chocolate in a saucepan, bring to boil.
Turn off heat, add chopped chocolate leave for a little under a minute then whisk until glossy, leave to cool.

Put flour, bicarb, salt, coffee & cocoa in a bowl and mix together.
Mix sugar, water, oil & vinegar, stir into the dry ingredients.
Pour into the baking tin and cook for 35 minutes.

Once the cake is cooked and cooled decorate with the icing.

Well that’s it from me, I’ll let you know which cake went down the best. I know it will be vegan one – I want my Mum’s recipe to be the favourite!

Until next time,

AKA Madame Pickles

Remember this one?

2 thoughts on “Chocolate cake!

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