Chocolate Cake, The ICA Way

Legendary baker Vivienne Rigley shares her recipe for chocolate cake.

ome prefer a light, airy, buttery sponge others a darkly luscious, fudgy chocolate cake but the one thing they share is the intensely sweet, heady cocoa aroma that makes the chocolate cake one of the most popular in the history of baking. As it happens, the discovery that led to the invention of chocolate is credited to the appropriately named Dr James Baker, who in 1764 first ground coca beans to extract a paste that could be used to make chocolate. It was mainly used to make drinks and confectionery until the 1900s when a more sweetened version of chocolate became commercially available, and the first recipe for German Chocolate Cake appeared in print. The cake was actually created in America by German immigrants. Since then the chocolate cake has become our go-to cake for special occasions and occasional indulgence.

Vivienne’s Chocolate cake

200g butter or margarine
225g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
50g drinking chocolate
¼ tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp natural yogurt

In a mixing bowl or food processor cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, continuing to mix until fully incorporated then beat in the yogurt. Sieve the remaining dry ingredients together and add to the mixture 1 tbsp at a time, beating until you have a smooth batter. Grease and flour 2 x 20cm (8 inch) round tins. Divide the batter equally between the two tins and bake in a pre-heated oven at 18°0 C (gas mark 4) for 25-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and their tins and place on a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Butter-Cream 

80g butter or margarine
150g icing sugar
50g drinking chocolate
A few drops of vanilla essence

Sieve the drinking chocolate and icing butter into a mixing bowl or food processor, cube the butter or margarine into the mix along with the vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.


To Decorate

Choose from (optional)
Chocolate buttons
Glace cherries
Grated chocolate
Fresh berries

Spread 1/3 of the butter-cream over the cake layers and sandwich together. Spread the remaining butter-cream over the top and sides of the cake, smooth or create a pattern using a butter knife. Finish with the decorations of your choice or leave plain if you prefer.


ember of Arles ICA Guild and Secretary of Laois Federation, Vivienne Rigley is an expert baker. Twice winner of the An Grianán Simnel cake competition, Vivienne is a regular at County Shows and this year alone has picked up some 34 prizes including two perpetual cups for her baking skills. She added another two perpetual cups to her haul through Federation competitions. Her passion for baking was inspired by a trip into town with her mother in the pony and trap to sell eggs and butter. Vivienne had made a butter sponge with vanilla icing for the trip and her parents enjoyed it so much they encouraged her to keep baking. Vivienne’s chocolate butter sponge is very popular, especially in her local Country Market every Friday where she makes them for orders that have been placed that week. We’re delighted Vivienne agreed to share this recipe with us and we can’t wait to give it a go.

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