Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Rockin’ The Retro Cake

Over the last week or so I’ve had a craving for chocolate cake. Now, I know Easter is not long behind us, and I should be well and truly sick of chocolate by now. The truth is I really didn’t eat much of all the sweets we made and my pantry is full of unopened chocolate that I will be taking to work next week to share the chocolate love.

I was flicking through my cook books and realised that all the chocolate cake recipes I found contained things like buttermilk, sour cream, corn oil or almond meal. I began to reminisce about the type of chocolate cake I had when I was a kid. Surely chocolate cake was chocolate cake but clearly it isn’t! It is something else entirely these days and obviously has been for quite some time.

The realisation of how old I actually was hit me when I searched on line to find a classic chocolate cake recipe and was unable to find one. I scanned my bookshelf again and found my old cookbook we had to buy when we were studying Home Economics in high school. It’ s called “Cookery the Australian Way” and I think you will find it on every bookshelf in the country, if you went to school here. The first edition of this book was published in the 1960’s and it’s now up to its 10th edition.

You just can’t fault the recipes. Everything I have tried have turned out beautifully. It instructs you how to de bone/joint/pluck/use your mincer/convert measurements…absolutely everything you need to know about cooking (and dare I say, being published in the mid 60’s, how to be a great housewife). Full of very English dishes like ‘Lancashire Hot Pot’, it was not known for including international cuisine, although that may now have changed considering mine is a very early edition of this book.

Seriously though, if I wanted to enter my scones, biscuits, slices or cakes in a Country Fair, this would be the book I would turn to. The fact that I eventually found the exact same recipe on line an hour after baking my chocolate cake, under the heading of “Old Fashioned Chocolate Cakes” was evidence of not only my age but of how much things had changed in the world of chocolate cakes. Was it really that unacceptable these days to make a chocolate cake with flour, butter, eggs, milk and good cocoa powder?

Anyway, what follows is a ‘mix all in one’ “Retro Chocolate Cake”…It was wonderful…just what I was looking for. It tasted like cake! You can easily double this recipe but you will need to increase the cooking time. It doesn’t rise a lot so it’s a great idea to double the recipe and pour into 2 separate tins and then sandwich them together with chocolate frosting. I used a square cake pan but you could use a round pan if you like. Also, if you don’t like using a ‘mix all in one’ method just follow the traditional creaming method and all will be good.

Chocolate Cake Recipe


1 cup SR Flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup soft butter

1/3 cup milk

2 eggs

2 – 3 tbs cocoa powder blended with 2 tbs boiling water.


Set oven at 180 C

Place all ingredients in electric mixing bowl.

Beat for 3 -4 mins at moderate speed.

Pour into greased and lined cake tin.

Bake for approx 40 mins (mine was done in 30 mins)

Cool on cooling rack.

Ice cake when completely cooled.


1/2 cup icing sugar

2 tbs butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs cocoa with 1 tbs boiling water


Sift icing sugar.

Cream butter, adding icing sugar gradually.

Add vanilla and mix thoroughly

Add dissolved cocoa to creamed mixture and beat until well combined.

Frost cake when it has completely cooled.


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