Chocolate Muffins (and the perfect chocolate cake recipe)

Chocolate Muffins

So here is my recipe for huge chocolate muffins with a surprise chocolate sauce filling – you know the kind you can buy in coffee shops and bakery chains up and down the country.  They are twice the size of your average cupcake but take some beating!  This is also my go to chocolate cake recipe and the quantity will be perfect for splitting between two 8″ tins.


165g butter, softened
300g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, large
70g self raising flour
200g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
70g cocoa powder
225ml milk
25ml malt vinegar

100g chocolate chunks of your choice to top the muffins

150ml double cream
150g dark chocolate (Bournville)

Makes 12.

Don’t let my photos confuse you I’m making a bigger batch for my hungry boys!

Start off by measuring out the milk in a jug, add the 25ml of malt vinegar, give it a quick stir and leave it to stand until later.

Preheat the oven to 160c Fan/180c/Gas Mark 4.

One of the keys to big muffins is these tulip type cases.  You can make them yourself but I find it fiddly and hard to do so I buy them!

Brown Tulip Cases

Coloured Tulip Muffin Cases

Add the tulip cases to a 12 hole cupcake tin.

Cream together the butter and the sugar.

Add the vanilla extract and eggs and beat together well.

Weigh out all the dry ingredients into a bowl together, I don’t sift them it doesn’t seem to make a difference with this recipe – add them all to the mix.

Now add the milk/vinegar combo and give the whole lot a really good mix up.

How easy is this recipe – and it works every time!

Add the mixture to the tulip cases about 2/3rds full.

Chop some extra chocolate and sprinkle the chunks on the top.  Sometimes I’ll use chocolate chips but these do tend to drop into the cake rather than stay on the top like good big chunks do.

Bake them in the oven for around 25 minutes until perfectly cooked.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before taking a sharp knife and piercing a whole in the muffin.  Wriggle the knife around inside a little to make space where you will add the filling.  If you put the knife in through one of the cracks in the top no-one will see it later.

Now leave the muffins to cool completely.

To make the filling chop the 150g chocolate into small pieces.  I’m using chocolate chips as it saves me having to chop it by hand – lazy? me? no just time saving!

Heat the cream in a pan until nearly boiling.

Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.

Allow the mixture to stand for a couple of minutes and then mix until you have a smooth glossy ganache.

You now need to leave this to stand for about 15 minutes until it has cooled down slightly.

To get the filling into the muffin you will need a piping bag and a metal icing tip.  You have two options here – one of these long needle type tips designed for filling the likes of jam doughnuts.  I have a Masterclass Flavour Injector (which they sell in Lakeland).  The needles screw onto a syringe but I just fit them to a piping bag.

You can also do it with a regular icing tip (PME no 43) which is wide enough for the filling to squeeze through.

Fit the tip to the piping bag and fill with your cooled ganache.

Place the tip into the top of the muffin through the knife slit you made earlier and squeeze in the filling.  If your ganache is difficult to squeeze in it has cooled too much so you will need to warm it up a little first.

As the muffin fills with ganache you will see it plump up the top and when it is full it will start to ooze through the whole you made so now’s the time to stop squeezing.

Fill all your muffins and then serve!

Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Muffins

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

Finalist on BBC2 The Great British Bake Off

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150 Responses to Chocolate Muffins (and the perfect chocolate cake recipe)

  1. Mrs Stepford says:

    Oh wow! They look delicious.

    Do you need to grease the tin before you put the cases in?

  2. Ruth says:

    No you won't need to grease the tin – the cases do all the work for you x

  3. Anne says:

    They look yum! Love the idea of the chocolate filling too mmm!

  4. Jean says:

    So that's how you get the filling in – I never knew !!

  5. Anonymous says:

    What if I can't get hold of tulip cases – will muffin cases do??

  6. Claire says:

    Is there any particular reason to use the tulip cases instead of standard muffin cases?

  7. PinkCat says:

    Clever stuff. They look delicious! x

  8. Ruth says:

    The tulip cases will hold nearly twice as much mixture as standard muffin cases giving you the huge coffee shop type muffins. If you prefer use standard cases but the recipe will make a larger quantity. xx

  9. Abi says:

    May have to treat me and le boyfriend to a batch of these next week- making biscuits this week.

    I only have an icing syringe- would that work just as well for getting the chocolate in?

    And can you get the tulip cases from Lakeland, as I'm liable to forget and have to run into town to get them!

  10. Holly @ Recipes from a Normal Mum says:

    These look amazing! Wow. x

  11. Claire says:

    If only had seen these earlier!!!!

    Would have made it as a B-day treat for everyone from me 😀

    Thanks anyway Ruth. Everyone in my house <3's you!!!!

  12. Sally - My Custard Pie says:

    A baking session with my teens is in order after reading this recipe. They'll love them.

  13. Ruth says:

    Abi – yes an icing syringe will work but you will need to keep refilling it, Lakeland don't sell the tulip cases (yet!) but if you have a local cake decorating shop they may stock them x

  14. Anonymous says:

    I'll def be making these once I get the cases but tell me Ruth can I make whole of recipe in mixer – no need to stir in flour separately?

  15. Ruth says:

    Hi Glo – absolutely yes, this is the most forgiving cake mix I know, chuck it in and turn it on – job done x

  16. jill says:

    these look so nice!
    will they taste just as good without the filling because im not too good with stuff like that x

  17. Please may I? says:

    Gosh they look yummy!

    Such a shame I've given up chocolate for lent!

    X x x

  18. Anonymous says:

    These look so good!
    do you have to do the filling as I don't think I will have time to make it?
    thanks for all the great recipes Ruth!

  19. Ruth says:

    No if you have no time or don't like the filling just leave it out and munch them as they are! xx

  20. traceyh says:

    i made these yesterday,without the filling.
    they were really light,moist,and a great chocolate hit!
    will be making them on a regular basis.
    thanks again ruth xx

  21. tyla says:

    what milk would be recommended, or does it not make a difference?

  22. Ruth says:

    Tyla – whatever milk you regularly use from skimmed to full fat it doesnt make any difference x

  23. Minty Magic says:

    I made these last night to sell for Comic Relief in our office today. I didn't do the gooey middle! They are selling like the proverbial hot cakes! Truly scrummy!
    I love your blog!

  24. tyla says:

    thank you!looking forward to making this!x

  25. Steph says:

    Just made my first batch and i have finally found a moist chocolate cake recipe!! Thank you so much Ruth!

    One question, would it work with milk choc instead of dark?

  26. SarahWW says:

    Hi, Ruth~ it looks great!~ it just reminds me the classic French dessert called "Fondant au chocolate" . I may make it next week, hope you could leave me some comments on my Blog-"Dessert.S"
    ( I have already add you on my blog roll and your post of Pancakes has been linked to one of my post: "Pancakes for Pancake Day", have a see on it~)

    Official blog:

  27. Lisa says:

    Have just got a batch of these out of the oven…they look and smell amazing 🙂

  28. Anonymous says:

    i just luvv choc muffins!

  29. shewhisks says:

    I thought I had found my go-to chocolate cake recipe but I think I'm definately gonna have to give this a try. Yesterday, I made vegan chocolate cupcakes substituting vinegar for the eggs but I'm intrigued to see eggs AND vingar in your recipe. Will definately need to try this out! Thanks

  30. Dessert.S says:

    Hi~ Ruth~ I am SarahWW. As I promised this week I will make a French dessert-Chocolate Fondant, and I have posted to my new Blog "Dessert.S".
    I hope you could have a see and leave me your comment~ thx~!


  31. SumaiyyahAbidah says:

    Hi Ruth, I wonder if there's a substitute for malt vinegar? I have no idea what that is. Thanks!

  32. Ruth says:

    You could substitute the malt vinegar for white wine vinegar or lemon juice xx

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruth. Can this recipe be adapted to make a coffee cake? Can I just swap the cocoa powder for the same weight in coffee powder and a few chopped walnuts? Thanks

  34. thehouseofjones says:

    Woweeeee these look delicious!! yumma yumma!
    How would you make your own tulip cases? Just out of squares of greaseproof?
    Jones x

  35. Ruth says:

    Homemade tulip cases are made from squares of folded baking paper – it can be done but I find its very tricky wrestling with them! x

    For coffee cake you could make it a mocha cake by adding instant coffee to the milk

  36. Jillian says:

    I made these yesterday. Didn't have malt vinegar so used Balsamic instead, but ran out! Topped up the final 10 ml with raspberry vinegar, which gave a really nice flavour. I was thinking that as a variation you could use 1/2 raspberry vinegar with white chocolate chunks and maybe some of those freeze dried raspberries, etc.

  37. Abi says:

    Just made these bad boys, however am having to await return of Father to try them- I can't stand the sight of chocolate after cooking with it! Really easy though! And my first time making a ganache went flawlessly!

    Half the batch is going to Mother for Mother's Day, other half is going to boyfriend because he defied me to make a better muffin than his favourite coffee shop!

  38. Sara says:

    If making just one cake with that recipe, do you think using a single 23cm tin would be appropriate? What would the baking time be?

  39. Anonymous says:

    If you wanted to make these without cocoa powder, would you just add more flour? thanks
    love your blog xx

  40. Ruth says:

    Yes just substitute the same weight of cocoa for flour x

  41. Ruth says:

    Sara – yes a 23cm tin would be fine – I would say 30-40 mins at 160c but keep an eye on it x

  42. Callum says:

    Made these on Thursday and took them in to my work. Everyone said they were the best chocolate muffins they had tasted! I replaced cream filling with a yoghurt, icing sugar and vanilla filling – tasted great piped in to the middle of them.

    The recipe's a keeper! Cheers!

  43. Jodie says:

    I have just made these and they smell amazing. The only problem I have had is that they don't seem to have risen up as much as they should. Any ideas why?

  44. Ruth says:

    Hi Jodie – I would check the date on your self raising flour and bicarbonate of soda – they should rise up pretty well for you x

  45. rebeccakerry says:

    This was so useful to me as I'm trying to work out how to make a banoffee muffin with a liquid carmamel-toffee centre! Quite excited by finding that Lakeland do a syringe, but I'll check my piping bag set first.

  46. Tracey says:

    I made these today and although they are delicious, they didn´t look quite as appetizing as yours. I halved the recipe so that they would fit into muffin cases as I didn´t have any tulip cases. They are a lot lighter in colour than yours and shop bought double chocolate muffins. Does this depend on the type of cocoa powder used or did I do something wrong? What brand of cocoa powder did you use? I live in Spain and used a Spanish brand (Valor) which was recommended to me.x

  47. Anonymous says:

    This has now become a weekly thing! EVERYBODY wants me to make them for them :o) Thanks for the recipe Ruth, going to use this for a giant cupcake cake at the end of the month also! x

  48. Anonymous says:

    Hello Ruth, This receipt looks perfect for baking cakes for my partners birthday. I was just wondering how long the cake will last once baked?


    Amy x

  49. Ruth says:

    If baked as a cake it will last around three days in an airtight container, but to taste the best it is better freshly baked x

  50. Anonymous says:

    hi ruth,
    was just wondering why vinegar? with the milk.i know from bread making that milk with vinegar or lemon juice are used to substitute sour milk or that the same reason here??.


    p.s. keep up the good work its fantastic and ever so helpful for us beginners.

  51. Ruth says:

    Vinegar with milk is a good substitute for buttermilk. For me life's too short to trawll round trying to find buttermilk in the shops, plus I've always got milk and vinegar xx

  52. Anonymous says:

    thanks Ruth,
    thought so but wasnt sure.where i live its easier to buy buttermilk than it is to buy malt vinegar.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I have made these twice and they are GORGEOUS..The chocolate filling adds a richness to them.
    I may make a large cake this weekend and cover it in the Granache. Mmmmm.
    Love your recipes Ruth they're easy to follow, the step by step pics are a great idea….Thanx

  54. Tu x says:

    wow – I am a complete novice at this baking lark but even I manged this! – delicious – thank you so much for your fabulous recipies and time!

    I am thinking of making a large version as a birthday cake for a friend as she adores these – any thoughts as to whether it would it work in a deep tin (roughly 8cm x 17cm) and what sort of cooking time?

    Thanks again for your fabulous site!

  55. Katherine says:

    I used this recipe for a chocolate cake this weekend for my mums birthday and it was awesome! The quantities were perfect for 2 8" round tins and I baked them for about 35-40 mins. They sank a little when they came out (perhaps a little underdone in the middle) but were still a good inch or more thick.

    Filled and topped with double cream whipped with a little caramel sauce. Delicious.

    This will certainly be a staple for me.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruth, An earlier post asked if you could substitute flour instead of cocoa powder. You advised to replace with the same amount. Would this be plain or self raising flour?
    Kay x

  57. Ruth says:

    Hi Kay – would replace with the same quantity of plain flour. xx

  58. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruth,
    what kind of chocolate powder to be used with this recipe?
    Natural unsweetened or Dutch processed (alkalized)?
    I see some recipes calling for specific ingredients.

  59. Ruth says:

    I just use regular cocoa powder, usually a supermarkets own brand so no expensive specific cocoa powder needed x

  60. Yummy Mummy Baker says:

    I made these yesterday for my hubby for fathers day. These are his favourite kind of muffins. Never made chocolate ones before though. They are divine! I ran out of cocoa powder so melted some dark choc and added that- worked a treat. I also used yummy milk chocolate for the chunks as I'm not a fan of dark chocolate (unless it's cooked in something!!). I will be making these again! I'm actually about to dive into one with my lunch!! Thanks Ruth.x

  61. Nook News says:

    Just cooked first batch (of what I imagine will be many) of these – my chief critic (15 year old) gave a big thumbs up!!!
    The mixture was much runnier than I thought it might be – I poured it into a jug and transferred it from there into cases…
    Ruth, given that it was so runny, should I have added less of the milk/vinegar to the mixture or would this impact on the overall consistency???
    Thanks for all your baking greatness!!!

  62. Ruth says:

    Hi Nook News – glad they're a hit in your house too! The mixture shouldn't be too runny, try it again next time and if it turns out runny again I would just put a little less milk mixture in xx

  63. Nook News says:

    Thanks Ruth… will experiment!
    FANTASTIC recipe though, taste is light and luscious..
    One more question, if I might! If I'm using it for a sandwich cake, dividing between two tins, can you just confirm what temperature and how long I should leave it in my fan oven?
    Thank you x

  64. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruth
    If making this as a cake would the ganache work as a filling or would it be too runny? Also do you think Royal Icing would work OK on the top?
    Thank you
    Kerry x

  65. Ruth says:

    Hi Kerry – If you make the ganache and then let it cool to room temp – or cooler in the fridge it will be lovely as a filling, royal icing sounds great on the top! x

  66. Linda says:

    Mmm, best muffins I've ever made… actually best I've ever tasted anywhere I reckon. Thanks Ruth… these will become a family favourite for sure. I'm also planning on using the recipe for my daughters birthday cake.

  67. Carol says:

    Have just baked a batch of these, they look fantastic! Had some mix left over so popped it in some ordinary bun cases, waste not want not lol!
    Gave them a little longer as my oven is a bit temperamental.
    Am waiting for my friend, the choc cake tester, to arrive for a brew and to try one…
    Think this is going to be a regular recipe I use, thank you Ruth for sharing it with us 🙂 x

  68. Syma says:

    Hi Ruth

    Thanks for the recipe… They’re amazing!!


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  73. Elizabeth Bruinsma says:

    I can not believe how soft, moist and tasteful these muffins turn out every single time! I use apple vinegar, as I have not been able to find malt vinegar here in the Netherlands yet. (Yes Ruth, you are also quite popular here)

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  75. Katie Sturge says:

    Hi Ruth, really fancy having a go at making these but I have a full packet of Lakeland Muffin cases I’d like to use as they aren’t any good for my cupcakes, rather than invest in tulip cases yet. I take it that 2/3 is still the best measurement to use to transfer this recipe into muffin cases?
    thanks Katie

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  77. Debbie says:

    I’ve been looking for the perfect ‘coffee shop’ muffin for a while now and have tried lots of recipes (including one from a well known master baker) and all of them end up looking no different to a chocolate cupcake!!!

    Yours are truly lovely and I haven’t even tried them with the ganache in yet! They got the thumbs up from my chocoholic 6 yr old daughter who is very fussy over her chocolate cakes!!!

    Many thanks 🙂

  78. Debbie says:

    Hi Ruth, me again!

    How could you convert this recipe to make lemon drizzle muffins or do you have a recipe for these?

    thanks again, Debbie

  79. karen says:

    Hi, I have been looking for a chocolate muffin recipe like this for years. I would love to try it but wondered how they need to be stored once made due to the fact they have a fresh cream filling?

    Thanks Ruth

    • If they’re not being eaten the same day I would put them in the fridge. The other option would be to store the cakes in an airtight container and then add the filling on the day of serving.

  80. patricia holloway says:

    my grandaughter made the blueberry and chocolate muffins from your recepie and they were absolutely delicious she was so pleased with the results that she is on the road to making a lot more

  81. Sarah says:

    Hi ruth, am going to try these for my next farmers market. How well do they freeze if I wanted to make a big batch?

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  83. Rebecca says:

    Oh wow these sound amazing! My 3 year old loves baking and we are fast running out of recipes, we will try this one tomorrow. xx

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  87. Isabelle says:

    Apart from the fact that they look delicious, could you tell me where did you buy these tulip type cases from?

  88. Emma says:

    These are AMAZING! My kids managed to eat all their dinner in record time so they could share one and they loved them!!! Thanks, I am just taking up baking and am going to be going through your site and baking as much as I feel able to!!!

  89. Natalie says:

    These are brilliant!! I made these today and my whole family loved them! I am going to make coffee ones next, could you give any guidelines on how much coffee you would add to the milk? Thanks

  90. Clar says:

    Hi just wondering about the malt vinegar in some of the recipes..Is it the run of the mill dark coloured malt vinegar.. As in what goes onto chips etc!? Thanks

  91. Laura says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Just want to say THANK YOU for the recipe. These are the best cupcakes I’ve made, they were very light, moist and tasted amazing (Although I didn’t have time to do the ganache filling)(next time). I am looking forward to making a few more recipes from your page.

  92. Nicole Plunkett says:

    If using recipe to make chocolate cake do you use the filling between the sponges?

  93. Wow the muffins came out lovely i love them thank you so much every time i make muffins this is the recipe i will use

  94. Wow the muffins came out lovely i love them so much thank you every time i make muffins this is the one i will use 🙂

  95. julie homer says:

    going to make these thank you Ruth,
    my son only likes chocolate cakes
    no fancy detail i,e icing
    hope he doesnt mind the middle 😉 xx

  96. sharon says:

    hi ive just bought some tulip muffin cases in Waitrose at £2.99 for 12!!!! Found them on e bay for £7.99 for 200!!!! Wish i knew before going Waitrose. Well my muffins are in the oven as we speak. Fingers crossed they turn out nice

  97. Mariam says:

    Hey Ruth….I can’t seem to find the link for the muffin cases?

  98. Amy Matthews says:

    My sons could not wait to be let lose on this recipe. So easy and fantastic tasting, we made a bit of a mess filling the muffins however! But they taste fantastic. Your recipes are so great, we often make your things as they work brilliant everytime!!!

  99. Becca says:

    Thank you Ruth for this recipe, I’ve been making birthday cakes for years as a sideline business that I have, but always struggled to find a recipe for chocolate cake that I was happy with, before it was always oh these are lovely but I wasn’t happy myself with them they lacked that little something but wasnt sure what it was, I followed this recipe for my own daughters cake and bingo I found what I was looking for in a cake thank you so much ill bake with confidence again

  100. Helen says:

    Just made this into two 8inch cakes for my very picky 16 yr old sister in law’s birthday. I’ve made the recipe for work before and they’ve gone down a treat. Thanks so much for taking the time to do these recipes and putting them out there for us all to follow!

  101. Memole says:

    Hi Ruth, I have got a question regarding the ganache, can I use the single cream instead of the double one? If so, should I change something in the preparation for it?
    Thank you xx

  102. Clare says:

    Would this chocolate cake if made as an 8″ cake be suitable to cover in sugar paste as a birthday cake?

  103. Áine says:

    I made this as one cake in an 8.5 by 8.5 inch tin at 160c and it took over an hour to cook but sank in the middle. Any ideas why? Thanks.

    • It could still have been a little underdone Aine, if the structure of the cake hasn’t set it can cause it to sink in the middle, I would check the temperature of your oven with a removable oven thermometer just to check what its doing x

  104. Riya says:

    Looks yummy..any substitute for eggs- vineger/oil?

  105. Jen B says:

    My daughter Flora (aged 8) wanted to make chocolate muffins with a hot choc centre for my husband and my Wedding Anniversary. We made these together and they were definitely the best muffins I have ever had – so light! We made a hot choc sauce from milk, cream and dark choc and poured it all over the top. Delicious warm with the sauce and vanilla ice cream!!

  106. Hahahahh says:

    They turned out so brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  108. Victoria M says:

    Hi. Instead of trying to pipe in the melted choc mixture to make a chocolate surprise in side. Could you put a chunk of chocolate in after half filling the cases then covering it with more mixture?
    I have seen this technique in other recipes and wondered if it would work here.
    Looking forward to making these! !

  109. Natalie says:

    Do you need the malt vinegar?

  110. mandie davies says:

    Hi Ruth
    Made these yesterday, they were amazing….I wanted to ask, if I substitute the cocoa for the plain flour (fancy making cranberry and white chocolate).. would you still use the vinegar.


  111. mandie says:

    Hi Ruth

    If you want to make these in vanilla, do you still need the vinegar.

    Made the chocolate ones, they were amazing

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  113. mandie says:

    oh sorry, somehow my post came out twice haha

    okay shall just stick to the chocolate ones

    thanks Ruth

  114. mandie says:


    do you happen to have a chocolate chip vanilla recipe that could be used with these tulip cup cases


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  116. mandie says:

    okay, thanks Ruth xx

  117. Clare says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I love the look of these..Have been trying to find a good choc muffin recipe for a while! Ive got a couple of pots of buttermilk in my fridge that need using, could I substitute them for the milk/vinegar combo? If so would I use the same amount?


  118. Karen Vipan says:

    You can buy tulip cases on eBay very cheap

  119. Debbie G says:

    Would this type of recipe work in a larger cake tin. 10″ or 12″ or is it too soft? (increasing the quantities of course)

  120. Medbh says:

    Hi Ruth- I love this recipe. Do you think the muffins would freeze ok?

  121. Kathryn Davies says:

    Hi Ruth!
    This recipe is great! I have made it several times without the filling and they’re fab! Making them today with the filling as a treat to my colleagues! So easy but super tasty x

  122. Beth says:

    Hi Ruth

    I know this is quite an old recipe now but I just wanted to let you know how much I love these muffins! Yours is my go-to recipe – it really is the perfect chocolate cake recipe!

    I’m planning to share the recipe (with a few little tweaks) on my blog – I hope this is okay!

    Beth x

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  124. Debbie says:

    Hi Ruth, these look great! Would the cooking time and temperature be the same if the recipe was split into 2 8″ tins? Thanks.

  125. Jen Sutton says:

    Love your recipes, so nice to find ones where the mix is enough to make the quantity mentioned! Just one question, I made your raspberry ripple sponge using Flora Buttery (wonderful) and wondered could I substitute Flora for butter here and would this negate the need for milk (I read in another of your posts that Flora is softer so milk not needed). Thanks!

    • Hi Jen, Yes of course you can use butter, I’d mix it up without the milk and then if the finished cake mixture seems a little thick beat in a tablespoon or two of milk x

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