12″ Chocolate Sponge Cake

Quite often I am asked to make a sponge cake for a wedding but not as one of the tiers (especially for a large wedding).  In these cases I use this recipe as it makes a lovely moist cake and can be covered in the same colour fondant as the main cake and given to the caterers to cut up and distribute with the wedding cake and no one guesses it is a separate cake. This can also be made as a 14″ cake.

Serves 50

Cook 2 hrs 30 mins

Plus cooling


650g unsalted butter
650g plain chocolate chips
100 ml strong coffee (4 teaspoons of instant coffee)
3 tsp vanilla extract
650g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
950g light soft brown sugar (making sure you break down any lumps)
10 eggs
2 x 284ml soured cream


1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan 140C) and gas 4.
2. Grease and line the cake tin with two layers of greaseproof paper.
3. Dissolve the coffee granules in hot water and leave to cool.
4. Place the butter and chocolate into a medium saucepan, then stir over a low heat until melted and smooth (this can be done in a microwave by heating until the chocolate is just melted). Stir in the coffee and vanilla extract.
5. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir. Beat the eggs and soured cream together in a bowl and pour into the flour mix.
6. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix well, then stir with a wooden spoon until you have a thick, even chocolaty batter.
7. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 2½ hrs  (don’t open the oven door before 2 hrs is up, as this will cause the cake to sink). Check cake is cooked by inserting a skewer which should come out clean. Once cooked, leave in the tin to cool completely. The unfilled cake will keep for up to four days, wrapped in greaseproof paper and in an airtight container.

Chocolate Cream

· 500g unsalted butter, softened
· 1kg icing sugar, sifted
· 142ml carton double cream
· 200g plain chocolate chips

1. Beat butter until light and creamy then gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar.
2. Pour cream into a small pan, just bring to the boil and add the chocolate stirring until chocolate is melted.
3.Leave to cool for a couple of minutes then stir until very smooth.
4. Leave to cool (but before it starts to set) add the the buttercream and stir well.
5. Take the cake and level off the top using a long knife or a ‘cake leveller’.
6. Put a little chocolate cream on the cake board and place the cake upside down on it
7. Cut the cake into three layers, lifting them off and setting them aside the right way round so that they go back together correctly.  Cutting the layers without a cake leveller can be tricky but do not worry if you stray a little, it will not be noticeable on the finished cake.
8. Spread approximately one quarter of the chocolate cream over the bottom layer and position the middle layer back on.  Repeat and place the top layer back on.  (If the chocolate cream has cooled and become stiff, you can warm it slightly in the microwave, but only a few seconds at a time).
9. Clean up any loose crumbs and then cover the entire cake with the remaining chocolate cream and seal it to the cake board. Smooth and leave to set.
10. You can now cover the cake in fondant icing in the same way as the main wedding cake.

Please Note

This cake can only be made and iced up to three days in advance of the event as the fondant icing will start to go soft.

Alternatively if you wish you can make half the amount of chocolate cream and use this to fill the cake.  Then using 400 grams of melted white chocolate, cover the entire outside of the cake with chocolate.  Leave to set and this gives a lovely firm base to decorate and the fondant and cake will last a little longer.


  1. Thanks Sheila, didn’t think it was possible but it came out even better than the 12″ receipe

  2. @Davina. I am so glad that your cake was a success. It is lovely to see people enjoying your creation. The 9″ recipe is already on the website: https://cakefrills.co.uk/home/recipes/sponge-celebration-cakes/9-chocolate-cake-smaller-version-of-the-14. As for the 6 and 8″ versions you will need to calculate the volumes using pi rather than just halving the mixture. Having done a quick calculation the volume of the 6 and 8″ tins is approx 75% of the 12 inch tin. Therefore if you used three quarters of the 12 inch recipe you should be about right.

  3. Thanks Sheila, I didn’t change the amount of sugar as it was so perfect anyway. I made my first professional cake for my son’s Christening and everyone loved it, said it was the best chocolate cake they’ve had and i agree. I Want to use the same receipe for a smaller cake, do you think I can just half it for a 6/8/9″ round tin.

  4. @Davina. So glad you like it. As for reducing the sugar, I have wondered abut this as it does contain a lot. I would think that low sugar may work, but as the cake is such a good depth, I am sure a reduction would make a difference to the rise. I only serve small slices due to how rich it is.

  5. Delicious, thank you for sharing. Can I reduce the sugar or will it change the consistacy etc?

  6. @Alison. Re gluten free chocolate cake. I had a practice run of this on Sunday by making a half quantity. It came out beautifully moist and chocolaty. My husband declared it delicious and I could not tell it was gluten free. We had more to-day and it is as fresh and moist as it was on Sunday. The only thing I found was that the top was crumbly and I had to cut it off. This could be partly be due to being cooked longer than it should as I got the timings a little wrong with it being smaller. The addition of a little Xanthan Gum may help, but I am sensitive to this so leave it out where possible.

  7. @Alison. Thank you. I have a 65th birthday cake to make in March and this has to be gluten free. I will use this recipe to try it out and let you know how it turns out.

  8. Thank you! We don’t need it until August so a lack of freezer space (and 4 tiers of fruit cake to make) mean it will be May at the earliest before I tackle this one but I’ll let you know how it turns out. Fingers crossed it is as moist and good natured as your normal version!

  9. @Alison. I have not tried a gluten free version of this cake, but cannot see why it would not work just fine as sponges work very well with gluten free flour. Obviously you will need gluten free flour and if your flour blend does not contain it, I would add a teaspoon of xanthan gum as well.

  10. @Navdeep. Here is the recipe for the 10″ version. I will post it properly shortly. Please let me know how it turns out as I usually like to try out a resized recipe before sharing it, but have not had time to do this one yet.
    455g unsalted butter
    455g plain choc chips
    70 mls strong coffee
    2tsp vanilla essence
    1.5 tsp baking powder
    1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    670g light soft brown sugar
    7 eggs
    340 mls soured cream

  11. Hi I’ve made a12″ round using this receipe and whilst waiting for it to cook have just tasted the smaller one. Yum yum. I now need to make a 10″ round could you please help with the receipe.



  12. @Caroline. I think maybe more than one event may have happened here. Every oven’s temperature is slightly different and if the top and edges were crispy, I feel that maybe the oven was a little too hot. This means that the cake rises too quickly and then it sags as it cannot maintain the rise. Watch the cake and if after half an hour or more, it looks as is if it is rising too much in the middle then lower the temperature slightly. The other issue is that cold air may have been introduced too soon. Inserting a cooking probe too early can do this as can then taking the cake straight out of the oven after checking it. I do not insert anything into the cake until the top feels firm but spongy to the touch. I then place the probe down the side of the tin to warm up, before inserting in the cake. Once I am happy it is cooked, I turn the oven off and leave for five minutes before removing from the oven. Finally when cooking larger cakes, they will invariably be higher in the middle than at the sides and slicing the top off is not unusual. It is a favourite part for my family, who gather round to taste the trimmings.

  13. Hi Sheila.
    I have just baked this delicious chocolate cake for the 1st time but it sank a lot in the middle of the cake. What could have caused this do you think? It rose lovely but dropped in the last half hour. I baked it for 2 and a half hours exactly at 140c and it’s cooked perfectly but the edges and top were crispy. The tin was 12inch square 3 inch deep. The cake rose higher than the tin but sagged in middle then. I had to carve a good bit of top to get it level.

  14. @ Roberta. I am glad that you like the fruit cake receipe. With regards to your sponge cakes, I would always make small ones and then build them up to make the larger size. The problem with sponge cakes, is that you need a higher temperature to ensure they rise and then you end up with thin, crispy edges and a high middle and a denser consistency which you have already found. I can give you a formula to alter the proportions. Are you using the receipes from this site or do you have your own? I am assuming you are making square cakes, so just let me know the cake tin size for the receipe you are using and the cake tin size you will be making and I will post the formula for you. Sponge cakes should be find to take to a wedding as it will keep beautifully up to 7 days, but if you want to make a Madeira this would be firmer for decorating and travelling. If you do not have anyone with nut allergies, you could always try a Madeira type cake with ground almonds as the almonds keep the cake moist.

  15. Hi Mary, thank you for your fabulous fruit cake recipe which I have used several times. I am now going to need to make large chocolate and lemon cakes for a wedding cake in Septwmber. I have 2 questions which I hope you can help me with. 1. Is it better to bake large cakes in separate tins to ensure they are baked throug? In which case,now can I alter the batter proportions as I only have 1 10″ tin. Or do you have tips to ensure one large cake cooks properly.. Mine always seem to be cooked but when I cut them look heavy and a bit underdone right in the centre 2. I need to make the cakes ice them and travel 250 miles to wedding 3 days before. Would a Madeira cake be better for this as I know it keeps, if so how can I ensure it is moist? Sorry, That’s more than 2 questions. I will appreciate any tips you may have. Many, many thanks

  16. Am looking forward to this coming out of the oven, it smells divine and took great willpower not to lick the bowl! Just 2 pieces of advice; you need a supersized bowl to mix it all together in – my largest mixing bowl (30cm) which I thought was pretty big didn’t leave any real room to mix it all up – it was a very careful job! And secondly, if using a 12″ heart shaped tin (3.5″ deep), don’t expect all the mixture to fit in and be wary of overfilling. It rises to double the depth of the mixture. Looking forward to eating it on Saturday!!

  17. @churcherm. Hi buttercream freezes very well if you are using cocoa powder to make the chocolate buttercream. However if you have decided to put melted chocolate in it instead, then freezing it would change its consistency. I usually freeze the cake alone and then fill it with the buttercream and decorate it when it is defrosted.

  18. Hi, I am making a wedding cake for the first time and the information available on your website has been invaluable. I have used your fruitcake and chocolate sponge recipes. I am going to split and fill the chocolate sponge before I freeze it and I am just wondering if I can make a full batch of chocolate buttercream, freeze half of it and use it to cover the cake when defrosted ready for the fondant icing? Thanks.

  19. Hi Sheila
    Thanks for the reply, I will be making a square cake but like your idea of a smaller one for me although this is just a test run so needed to make a smaller one as a trial bake. Thanks

  20. @ Nigel. Can you confirm if you are making a round or square cake as the calculations are different depending on the shape? Alternatively you could make the 12″ and use the spare mixture to make a smaller cake for yourself. I do this regularly as, not only do I get an indulgent treat, but I can check that the recipe has worked.

  21. Hi. I am planning to use your recipe for a 12 inch wedding cake for my daughter but also need to make a 9 inch choc sponge like the one above do you have a recipe or the amount of ingredients for this please. thanks

  22. @Margie Yes you can freeze this cake once it has been filled and before you ice it. I have successfully frozen this cake up to six months in advance. Just make sure it is fully defrosted before you ice it. If not the moisture will affect your icing.

  23. Thanks for this website and recipe. I am planning to do a 30cm tin…
    Can I freeze this chocolate cake already filled with chocolate ganache? Once defrosted I would ice it about 2 days before the wedding…

  24. @ glenysputnm Thank you for pointing out this error. I have corrected it now. the chocolate chips and butter can be melted in either a saucepan or the microwave.

  25. Hi I am a little confused, the recipe specifies choc chips and to melt in pan with butter, then a bit further down it says to melt choc chips in microwave?? So not sure which is correct.

    Looking forward to trying the cake!

    Thank u


  26. @Caroline. I have very successfully frozen this chocolate cake up to 6 months and it is certainly a way of ensuring no last minute disasters. The cake must be fully defrosted before decorating as the extra moisture will spoil the decoration. If you decide to make it closer to the event, leave it a day before slicing and decorating as it is less crumbly the next day.

  27. Hi Sheila

    I am so pleased to have found your website. I am making my daughter’s wedding cake and they wanted a chocolate cake and fruit cakes. A friend had lent me some square tins the largest being 14″.
    I was very worried about scaling up a recipe, also I was not having a lot of luck finding quantities for square fruit cakes. Then I found Cakefrills! My question is does the chocolate cake freeze well or is it better to make it a few days before the wedding?
    Thanks for your help.

  28. @feyi. The recipe for a marble cake is the traditional Victoria Sandwich. This gives it the texture to maintain the swirls. However I would not recommend trying to make each cake as one. The larger the mixture the more dense it becomes and whilst it will taste nice the texture will be heavy and coarse. It would be best to make smaller ones and I suggest two layers for the 3″ and 3 layers for the 4″ deep. As for the ingredients required, I would have to make one this size to work it out, but when I made a 4″ deep 8″ round recently (two layers) I used 400g of Sugar, Margarine and Self Raising Flour and 7 eggs. When increasing the mixture do so by 100g of each mixture and one egg. I would suggest you start with the 12″ tin and make an initial mixture of 800g sugar, margarine and Self Raising flour and 14 eggs and see how you go from there. Make it in two halves reducing the flour by a quarter and replacing with cocoa powder. Add half teaspoon of baking powder for each 100g of flour/cocoa powder mix. Adding a quarter of a teaspoon of baking powder to the other flour will also increase the lightness of your sponge. Sorry I cannot be more exact and I wish you luck with your creation.

  29. Hi, i need to make 2 chocolate marble sponge cakes using a 12×12″ cake tin that is 4″ deep, and a 16×12″ tin that is 3″ deep. Can you please help with a recipe or tell me how I can adapt the one you’ve given on here?
    I”ll appreciate your help….many thanks

  30. Thank you Sheila! So the above recpie is now a 14″? Sorry if I’m being thick! I will have a test run & report back to you 🙂 x

  31. @ Hannah. I have upsized the recipe to a 14″. However I have not had chance to bake it so cannot guarantee the cooking times. Bake for the 3 hours and then check it and adjust as necessary until cooked.

  32. Hiya! I have stumbled upon your brilliant website & was hoping you could help me! I need to do a 14″ heart shaped & 12″ heart shaped wedding cake. Both tiers are separate. The bride would like a chocolate sponge cake. Would this recipe work in heart shaped pans? And if so would you have the conversion to 14″

    Thanks in advance, Hannah x

  33. @ Nichola. This is a recipe that I have not altered very much, but after giving it some consideration, I think that you could substitute the coffee for cocoa powder mixed with hot water and then cooled. I do not think that it would be a good idea to use milk as this will take the intensity of flavour away. However, I would add that you cannot taste the coffee in the finished cake, it just intensifies the chocolate flavour of the cake.

  34. Hi, I am wondering if this can be made without the coffee? Maybe with the same amount of Hot Chocolate made with milk? Thank you in advance.

  35. @ Jackie. Hi I know the mould you mean and the fact that it comes with a batter recipe. I have not actually made it myself, although my daughter made it for my birthday a couple of years ago with a traditional Victoria Sandwich mix which came out lovely. Unfortunately we do not know now what quantities she used. the following link however, not only gives a suitable recipe, but also instructions on how to make it using a 16oz (450g) Victoria sandwich mix http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/517880/victoria-threader-s-giant-cupcake. It seems very straightforward and I would love to hear how it goes and perhaps have a photo to put on the site along with any comments you have. As for the singed offerings, it looks as if you may have your oven a little too high. Also gently turn the cakes during cooking to ensure an even rise and browning.

  36. Hi there Sheila, i was wondering if you think a genoise sponge mix will be suitable for this cake i am hoping to make and if so, how do i convert batter mix quantity to accommodate a “cupcake” tin? i want to trial it first for a birthday? I can only give you the approx measurements of each pan which is, a “cupcake case” pan shape on one side
    6 inch width x 3 inch depth and then the “swirly top” pan is
    7 inch width 3 inch deep but this one obviously graduates down the sides which will then form the peak of the cake when turned out? Am i making sense!!?? I hsve no idea how to convert it,can you suggest a sponge recipe and do you have a golden rule of thumb cos mine are rather synged right now with pulling out burnt or soggy offerings from the oven!!! Thankyou Sheila, i appreciate all the help you can offer me. Regards, Jackie

  37. @ Lynda. The sizes of hexagonal cakes tins are very similar to that of square. The recipe could be sized down for an 11″ but when it is only an inch different, I tend to make the mixture up and fill my prepared tin to about two thirds full. Any mixture that is then left over I put in a small tin and bake for myself. You can then sample the cake, especially good if it is the first try of a recipe and gratefully received by family members who are tantalised by the smell of a cooking cake which is not for them.

  38. Could you help me please, I have looked everywhere for a chocolate cake recipe to fit an 11″ hexagon cake tin,would I still use the same quantity of ingredients as used in your recipe for the 12″cake if not could you please advise?

  39. Thank you so much for your reply and invaluable advice! Fantastic. Am going to make the cake this weekend.

  40. @ Margaret. Thank you for your kind words. Regarding the 12″ chocolate cake, it will work equally well in a round tin, but usually you go up a size for a round tin. for example a 12″ Square would be a 13″ round. If you are not able to do this, I would make the cake and fill your main tin first and if the mixture seems too much, put it in a small tin and have a taste yourself. This cake freezes wonderfully and although looks strange and dry when taken out, defrosts back to a lovely moist cake.

  41. Have just made your 14inch fruit cake for a wedding in a couple of months- thank you for all the helpful tips.
    Just wondering – the recipe for the 12inch chocolate cake – would this work equally as well in a round tin ? Also, have you ever made this cake and successfully frozen it ?

    Many thanks.

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