Chocolate Frosted Traybake

Chocolate Frosted Traybake

Super quick, make it faster than you can say Jack Robinson, no mixer required chocolate traybake.  Tastes blooming lovely which is a shame – I promise it will be gone in next to no time too!

I suppose this is a strange one for me to be posting, I’ll hold my hands up, it’s not my recipe, it’s an old American classic that I converted many moons ago.  But, it’s a Clemens’ family favourite and a slice of this went with me to my very first Bake Off audition, so it must be half alright!



110g butter

120ml boiling water

2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder

190g caster sugar

130g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

60ml milk

1 egg, medium


100g butter

2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tbsps milk

200g icing sugar, sifted

Easy peasy, let’s get going.  You’ll need a pan and an 8″ square tin (or thereabouts) lined with baking paper.  No prizes here for superneat, squish in the paper and let’s go!

Preheat the oven to 160c (fan)/180c/Gas Mark 4.

In the pan place the butter, boiling water and cocoa powder.  Heat it over a medium heat until the butter melts and it begins to bubble.  Bubble the mixture for 30 seconds and then take it off the heat.

Mix together the flour, caster sugar and bicarbonate of soda, mixing them now should stop you getting any lumps of flour.  Add this dry mixture to the pan and give it a good stir .


Add the milk and egg to the pan and mix it well again.

Cake mixture done.  Pour it into the lined tin.


Into the oven, that’s if it’s managed to preheat in that short time, and bake for 20 minutes. Wash out your pan, you’ll need it for the frosting in a bit.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin.

Once cooled it’s time for the frosting.  Into the pan put the butter and cocoa powder.  Heat gently to melt the butter, and then allow the mixture to bubble gently for 30 seconds to zap off any extra moisture, you don’t want to be boiling it hell for leather, if it get’s too hot the butter will split, give it a good stir and remove from the heat.

(If you do split the butter, allow it to cool slightly off the heat and then whisk it as boldly as you can – you should be able to rescue it)

Stir in the milk and then add the sifted icing sugar.

Mix until smooth and then pour over the cake still in the pan.

Leave the frosting to set, cut into slices and then hide it for yourself serve.

A few are have trouble getting the frosting to set, so I have reduced the milk in the frosting to 2tbsps and do make sure you gently bubble the butter and cocoa mixture for 30 seconds before taking off the heat which will remove any excess moisture before adding the milk and icing sugar – hopefully you’ll all set well then! R x

(Middle slices for grown-ups, smaller ones for children of course)

Easiest (and probably loveliest) chocolate traybake ever.

If I told you I doubled the quantities and baked this in a roasting tin would you think badly of me?

Chocolate Frosted Traybake

Chocolate Frosted Traybake

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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204 Responses to Chocolate Frosted Traybake

  1. Kelly-Jane says:

    Looks gorgeous, nice and fudgy.

  2. Grace says:

    Ooooh this looks so yummy! One more Pink Whisk recipe to go in my recipe book! x

  3. This looks delicious and something quick and easy to whip up. Definitely trying this one.

  4. cathryn says:

    I will SO be trying this!!

  5. Kathryn says:

    The texture of this looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it.

  6. Lydia says:

    That looks lovely might just have to give it a try.

  7. Oh absolutely divine-looking!

    I think it’s far enough away from all that Christmas overeating to start baking again, don’t you? 🙂

  8. my honest says:

    Ha ha! Would never think badly of you, I’m sure you’re economising by saving on fuel. If you made twice the amount of cake, but had the oven on for the same amount of time, it cost half as much, no?

  9. sarah says:

    can’t wait to try this one, think I’ll make it now!!

  10. Mel says:

    Going to make this tomorrow I think 🙂

    Quick question – if I used gluten-free Doves Farm flour, would I need to add extra water or extra milk? The packet just says ‘extra liquid’.

    • I would make it up as is (I think it will be fine) and then see how the mixture is at the end, it should be runny. If it’s too thick add some more milk a tablespoon at a time until you can pour it from the pan into the tin. x

      • Mel says:

        Thankyou, will do! I’ve never baked with gluten-free flour before but this looks like a good place to start 🙂

        • Helen says:

          Hi. Just to let you know, I made Ruth’s syrup sponge cake a week or two back with Doves Farm GF plain flour. I thought it would be ok as Ruth’s original recipe used PF and a raising agent, and her recipe also uses hot water to make a runny batter. Sadly it really didn’t work! The result was a big heavy stodgy lump, which didn’t really rise at all. Though it did look normal before I put it in the oven. I’ve made it before lots of times with normal flour.
          I think what happened was that the flour sucked up all the water as soon as it started to bake, leaving such a thick batter that couldn’t rise.
          I hope you get on okay, but thought this might be useful info. If it does go wrong like mine did, please post, that way I’ll know we definitely need to add extra water!

      • Mel says:

        Quick update – I made this yesterday with gluten-free plain flour and left the quantities of liquid the same, and it was perfect! Thankyou Ruth 😀

    • Trina says:

      Hi – I made this with gluten free flour at the weekend and just needed to add a little tiny bit of extra milk. The cake went down a treat at work!

  11. Oooh thanks for this! My husband always “requests” that I make him lots of cake to take for work lunches. I usually make brownies but this will give this a try on Sunday 🙂

  12. Magnolia Verandah says:

    I don’t think badly of you – makes perfect sense to me!

  13. Jennifer Shefki says:

    It’s always useful to have cake recipes that are quick to whip up and this one looks like just the thing for this afternoon.

  14. Karen Weston says:

    Trying this, this afternoon – looks irresistible!

  15. Mairead Hardy says:

    Read this and immediately made it – the smells emanating from the oven are divine! Such a straightforward recipe and with ingredients I normally have in my larder… 😀

  16. Kerry says:

    It’s in the oven now – cant wait!!

  17. Grainne Redmond says:

    Thanks for the recipe and the confessions – good to know I’m not the only chocoholic.

  18. Maureen says:

    Too lovely for one roasting tin – how about two!!

  19. catherine says:

    All made, just waiting to cool! Looks scummy!!

  20. Bernice Mitchell says:

    looks super squidgy and just right for licking your fingers afterwards – waste not want not!
    Thats mine and my four year old daughter’s Saturday morning baking club recipe sorted for tomorrow.
    Thanks Ruth x

  21. Kirsty says:

    I often use a roasting tin for tray bakes – only way to make sure there is enough left for me!

  22. nicola says:

    Looks absolutely gorgeous! I love the fact that you don’t need fancy bars of chocolate to make it either – I’ll give this a go over the weekend x

  23. sarah says:

    absolutely divine, wish I had made double batch now cos it went so quickly! Thanks Ruth

  24. joe says:

    Fab cake but frosting won’t set… Made it yesterday and left for 3 hrs was set enough to cut but when put in cake Tin frosting is now on on bottom of the tin not the cake….

    • oh no! I think something might have gone wrong with the measuring out x

    • Kirsty says:

      My frosting also hasn’t set! I was really careful measuring out the ingredients having already seen this comment. My cake is currently in the fridge in an attepmt to get it set enough to cut.
      Next time I’m going to reduce the milk (in the frosting) and see if that helps – unless there is anything else you think it could be?

  25. Leanda Saunders says:

    I love the hide it for yourself comment, I’m feeling under the weather today and it did make me giggle 🙂 I thought a treat was in order so I have the bake in the oven as we speak, looking good so far xx

  26. Kath says:

    Just made these, they are gorgeous !

  27. Karrie says:

    Sounds fab – will be trying this later. Love your commentary and yes you were made for TV / video!

  28. Helen T says:

    Absolutely delicious – and so easy! Thanks so much

  29. Jayne says:

    No waiting for butter to soften, no washing up the mixer, fantastic! Looks delicious, I will be making this for sure!

  30. Wendy says:

    Made this with my teen dd, can’t wait for it to cool..looks amazing and so easy, we too doubled the quantities …

  31. Judi Delaney says:

    Was doing so well with healthy new year eating and it’s all gone to pot as I’ve eaten 2 slices since 3 o’clock, but hey, the snow’s falling and a girl needs calories to keep warm – no calories no point that’s my motto! Divine.

  32. Harriet says:

    Wow, I can’t stand chocolate but even I think this looks amazing! Will be making for my (chocolate-loving) family tomorrow 🙂

  33. clairey says:

    Is it wrong of me that I told the kids that they couldn’t possibly lick the leftovers on the spoon/pan etc. because it was a hot mixture this time and would absolutely be far too hot for them??!! Sneaky, bad mother!!!

  34. sarah says:

    the cake is delicious!!!!
    dont try to shortcut sieving the icing sugar for the frosting (like i did!!) because you get lumps of icing sugar in the frosting that you cant get rid of!
    also I wouldnt make as much frosting next time (and there will be a next time) because I had far too much.

  35. Vicky Beenham says:

    Just made them and they taste great but all my beautiful smooth icing cracked turning it out of the tin. Think I may have to take it out of the tin before icing next time.

  36. Sarah M says:

    Gorgeous. I made these this evening. Easy and totally delicious. Well done Ruth, another wonderful recipe 🙂

  37. Helen says:

    Hi – love the site! Tried this today, but found that 20 minutes wasn’t sufficient to bake – it was still very wobbly in the middle. so did it for another 15. Ok, so I am in the southern hemisphere – would that make a difference? Shouldn’t I’d think? Also, mine had a bit of a mountain in the middle – what would cause that? Thanks!!

    • I shouldn’t think that that would make a difference? too much bicarb would make for the mountain in the middle or too many eggs? This cake doesn’t mind being squished back down in the middle whilst it cools (but I know thats not good cake treatment behaviour!) x

  38. Elaine Tickell says:

    I made a double batch for a cake sale. It was made in record time and is delicious. Went in minutes Have been asked to make two lots next time!

    • Tina Ingamells says:

      i have just made this and the cake is fab but the butter in the icing seemed to split away from the chocklit and icing sugar!!
      what did i do wrong~ maybe i should have let it go cold before adding the milk??

      ive drained off the excess butter and i wont be defeated..

      • Hi Tina, eek I’ve never had it do that! Make sure the quantities are correct and that it’s butter as opposed to a marg. Heat the butter and cocoa powder in a pan until the butter is melted and give it a good stir, let it bubble for 30 seconds and then add the milk and icing sugar and stir it well. If a mixture splits you can often rescue it by beating it really well until it comes together x

        • Helen says:

          My butter split too when I made the icing, so I just mixed in the icing sugar any way and beat the hell out if it. It was fine.
          The cake is divine, ate 2 pieces in about 5 minutes. The only thing I would add is to sieve the cocoa as well, as my icing had little lumps of cocoa in it.
          Thanks Ruth, this one will be made again and again.

  39. david and Daye says:

    absolutely fabulous, and much easier than other chocolate cakes we normally make, cut and all gone immediately, suppose we will have to make some more. Thank you.

  40. Tina Ingamells says:

    ahh ..thanks Ruth..i just drained the excess butter off and beat it like mad..and you know what,,its flippin FAB!
    sent the link to my sister..& will take some in to my work tomorrow (i work in a very small chocolate factory) so we never get enough chocklit!! haha

    Thanks again


  41. bakingaddict says:

    This looks amazing!! Great idea baking in a roasting tin – there will definitely be enough to go round then 😉

  42. Amy matthews says:

    I made this yesterday it was awesome!better the next day I found once the frosting had longer to set! Definatly make this again thanks for putting the recipe up!x

  43. Amanda says:

    Oh my goodness!!!

    I made this for my hubby today as he was feeling fed up with the snow…he absolutely loved it, and so did I!! So simple to make too, I’m going to make it and cut it in small squares for one of my secret tea parties.

    Thanks for passing the recipe on Ruth!!

    Amanda xx

  44. Annika says:

    Made these while we were snowed in over the weekend, and they are soooo yummy! Unfortunately the kids liked them too, so I had to share 😉 Will definitely be making them again, thank you for the recipe! x

  45. Maggi says:

    THANK YOU RUTH! A truly scrumptious chocolate recipe. Dead simple and loved by too many!!
    Need to make some more tomorrow , no problem there tho’
    Thanks again, maggi

  46. Mmmm, I just made this (& immediately ate two slices as soon as I cut it, whoops!!) it’s really tasty & so easy to make, thank you…definitely going to become a regular in our house 🙂

  47. Lucy says:

    We made this cake this weekend and it didn’t last very long in our house. I have forwarded the recipe to all my friends here in Madrid as they aren’t very good at baking but I have assured them that this really is the easiest cake to make ever (plus it is a fun way to have an english language class!!). This is definitely one I will repeat. Many thanks for sharing.

  48. Sharon Speakman says:

    Absolutely blooming fabulous. Really love the topping too, expecially as you have to suck on the spoon to get every last morsel off it. Definitely have to go back for 2nd and 3rd helpings. Not very willing to share this cake but will have to share it out to save pilling on the stones….. Thanks for sharing this recipe Ruth x x x

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  50. Sharon Peters says:

    My daughter made this for my hubby and I at the weekend. It is absolutely gorgeous and tastes really decadent!

  51. Debbie says:

    Made it pay, so simple but the kids love it! Result!

  52. syma says:

    Hi I made this yesterday and it was delicious!!! I brought in into work and it was all gone before I had a chance to take another slice….note to self ALWAYS save a piece!!
    My frosting also took ages to set, but 2 hours and then an hour in the fridge later, it was perfect.

    Tanks again Ruth

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  54. Elaine says:

    Omg, I made these at the weekend and I couldn’t stop going back to the tin to eat them!! Absolutely gorgeous and my kids loved them too! V easy and v v moreish. Think I’ll be making these over and over!

    Thanks 🙂

  55. kathryn swaffield says:

    I wonder if some of the people who couldnt get the icing to set made the same mistake as me – the first time i made this it was heavenly , this week i made it again with margarine instead of butter by mistake – disaster – dense thin cake and of course the icing wouldnt set because marge is never hard like butter 🙁
    i wont do that again! yay for english butter!

  56. Eileen Wightman says:

    I don’t think badly of you – I’d have done the same! LOL With all these lovely comments I think you are onto a winner here so I must try it at the weekend it sounds lovely. Thank you for sharing!

  57. Callum says:

    Made this on Sunday and can’t believe how quick it was to make. It’s a fantastic recipe (though it felt/looked strange melting butter in boiling water at the start!).

    I’m already getting requests from a few people who would like a batch for Valentine’s day (good timing posting this recipe.)

    Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  58. Catherine says:

    Hi Ruth, made this at the weekend and it went down a storm. Even been told that its the best chocolate cake ever tasted! So much so that my sister wants me to make it for my niece’s birthday cake (she’ll be 5)! Any inspiration on how I can “pimp” it up to create a celebration cake? Many thanks for your blog, it’s fabulous!

    • That’s great – my Fin had this for a bday cake when he was 6 too – I served it as the full thing with added candles, milky way stars, white choc buttons and some chocolate curls! x

  59. Roo says:

    This is truly indulgent, stick to your teeth kind of fudgy yumminess!
    It tastes amazing but I had the same problem as a previous post, the fat in the butter separated in the frosting. I beat the heck out of it and thought I’d won but as the frosting set I was left with little white bits of fat around the edges. It didn’t spoil the taste just doesn’t look very pretty. I use “proper butter” and measured very carefully- am wondering if over heating it when bubbling the butter/cocoa mix would do this…?
    Didn’t have any problems with frosting not setting, in fact it was almost set within minutes of putting it on the cake!

  60. Claire says:

    I made this yesterday using Stork baking margarine for both the cake and the frosting and it worked a treat – just thought you might like to know! Absolutely delicious, yum yum….

  61. Chris says:

    Fabulous recipe – worked perfectly and didn’t last long!!!
    Chris x

  62. Rebecca Whitelock says:

    It just came out of the oven, cooling at the moment so just the frosting to do! so easy, and I already regret not doubling up on the mixture its not gonna last 5 mins in this house. Nom Nom x Thanks again Ruth

  63. Emily says:

    Hi, this looks lovely and easy which is great when you’ve got a clingy baby with you in the kitchen.

    I wanted to make it for a party at the weekend but one of the guests has an egg allergy. Is there anything I can substitute for the egg?

    Thanks Emily

    • You could try it without – some cakes will work and some definitely will not! Failing that you’ll need an egg replacement which you can get in the special diet sections in larger supermarkets x

  64. Belinda Wood says:

    Very easy to make. I would say this is a great tray bake when you only have store cupboard ingredients to hand. It would be perfect for a community bake sale when you know that you’re not going to be getting more than 25p a slice for anything – leaving the bakes with more decadent ingredients for yourself!

  65. Jennifer says:

    Deeelicious! This is going to earn the honour of being written into my recipe folder so will be used over and over. Thank you.

  66. Ann says:

    I made this recipe this morning and the cake part is delicious however like some others have posted, my frosting went really weird. It first was really greasy so I beat the heck out of it with a little extra icing sugar and it went very grainy. I still used it anyway, it’s not pretty but tastes as it should.

  67. Ann says:

    forgot to say I used butter but melted it in the microwave instead of on top of stove. Probably my fault for not following recipe!

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  69. Julie says:

    Made this for my Birthday treat for the Boys & Girls at Work, I have never seen a cake go so quickly, wish I had made two or three, think this will become a regular bake for me.

  70. Denise says:

    Im a baker for a local cafe and have tried this choc traybake! OMG its fantastic, the double recipe in the roasting tin turned out well. This IS a really good cake, thanks for sharing Ruth 🙂

  71. Syma says:

    Ok so I made this again & realised that if you don’t boil the butter cocoa combination enough the frosting will be runny. This time I let it bubble for a minute et voila nice thick frosting.

  72. Cleo Burgess says:

    Sitting here enjoying a slice(s) of this delicious traybake. Sooooooo yum! You are to baking what Kirstie Allsopp is to craft.

  73. Nicola Polley says:

    This is soo simple my 3 year old pretty much made the whole thing (apart from the melting of butter) Yet another tip top recipe – thank you Ruth! Xx

  74. Luisa says:

    certainly earned me brownie points with the men in my life! My 7 year old even came downstairs from where he was absorbed in lego heaven to see what the lovely smell was! Thank you Ruth x PS the frosting set perfectly and I followed the 30 second rule. 🙂

  75. Laura Birkin says:

    Wow wow wow! This cake was amazing! Made this as a valentines cake and made lots of fondant hearts to go on it!

  76. Iola says:

    Gorgeous recipe Ruth. Made this last week, can’t get over how light the sponge mix was and the icing was perfect, I think tho’ I’ve put on a few pounds after eating it. So easy to make, but I don’t know what I did wrong but my cake came out of the oven lob sided, 1 side bigger than the other. Oh well I’ll just have to try it again.

  77. Jamelia says:

    Wow I made the frosting and put it on top of your vanilla cupcakes and it taste’s lovely. The frosting is delicious, I can’t wait to make the full traybake now. Thank you for posting this recipe. X

  78. Sheila Wilcock says:

    Oh my goodness Ruth, this cake is amazing. Made it this afternooon, it was so easy ( not much washing up ) and it tastes wonderful.
    Thank you so much for this recipe. A must-make-again soon cake.
    Shame my son has given up chocolate for Lent, he would love it. Sorry James

  79. Lisa Shannon says:

    This is gorgeous, I am just about to make it again to take to work tomorrow. Lovely!! Thanks Ruth x

  80. Rhonda says:

    Made this for my son’s birthday. Added some royal icing stars!! We all loved it ans it was so quick and easy to make. Will defo be a regular bake in this house:-)))

  81. Lindy Penny says:

    I also had problems with the icing! It split and was very thick, had to use a knife dipped in hot water to spread it! Still tasted fab though! Passed the recipe to a friend who also had the icing split! Will just have to make it again to see if I can get it right!

  82. I’ve just made this for a 2nd time with very different results! Haven’t cut it yet but the cake seems a lot more dense & “sticky” (not necessarily a bad thing!) and the icing is a lot thicker (perhaps due to reduced milk amount?) – last time it poured easily from the pan, leaving lots of scrapings – whereas this time it formed one, almost oily, ball of icing which came away clean from the pan & then had to be spread onto the cake.

    Hopefully it will still look/taste nice when cut as this one is for my Grandma to share with her friends tomorrow…fingers crossed or I’ll be up late tonight baking another one!!

  83. Jenny Phillip says:

    Wow! Have made this twice now with my 2yr old, as a friday treat for his big sister coming home from school. Such a quick and easy bake, with perfect results both times, this will make a regular apearance in our house!

  84. Sheila says:

    I made this chocolate traybake today, you would have thought tasting it I had used the best chocolate bar you could buy instead of Cadbury’s Cocoa. It is delicious my husband and I loved it, I know it will become a firm favourite in this cottage.

    Thank you Ruth.

  85. Sheila says:

    PS:I meant to add I followed the recipe to the letter and did not have any problems with the chocolate topping.

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  88. Francesca says:

    Ooh lovely, thank you Ruth. Ever since you posted this I have wanted to try making it. I was just wondering, could the recipe be adapted with different flavourings or is the butter-cocoa-water combination quite essential?

  89. Rosie says:

    Thanks so much for taking part in our campaign to end child hunger. Your recipe is v.much appreciated!
    Rosie, Save the Children

  90. Wrenster says:

    Another HUGE fan of this Ruth! I made it for a charity bake sale and wish I’d made double. My icing split as well and went all oily and I was exact in the measurements and bubbling it off as I’d read the comments on here. I just poured off the excess oil and spread it onto the cake rather than poured it on and it looks rustic rather than glossy! Topped each piece with a mini egg and tried to restrain myself from eating it rather than selling it! Thank you xx

    • oooh lovely! When I’ve been testing for the splitting problem it definitely does seem to be down to overheating the butter, sorry yours split, hope you still raise lots! x

  91. I made this 12 days ago and it is amazing! So quick and easy to make and extremely moist. I don’t know how long you are supposed to be able to keep it for, but I had some tonight and it is still very moist and it has only been left in a plastic container and not in the fridge or freezer. There isn’t any fresh cream in it so I don’t think it will have gone off. (I also put a few pieces in the freezer the day after I made it). I had no problem at all with the icing, it set just fine and I notice that someone posted that there was too much icing, but I don’t think there was, mine had just the right amount. Will definitely be making this again (and again and again and again!!!).

  92. Vicki says:

    Thankyou so much for posting this recipe, I bake it and take to work when I am on nights. It vanishes as soon as it brought out at “tray o’clock” (about 0530). See’s us all through to the end of our shift!

  93. Deirdre says:

    Have just made this with mini eggs on top as an Easter traybake – plan is to cut into squares each with an egg in the middle. Fingers crossed

  94. Sarah says:

    Sorry to be a pain but when you say 2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder how much do you mean? Do you mean 60 ml (2 x a standard tablespoon measurement i.e. 15 ml, then doubled) How much does it weigh?

  95. julie says:

    ive just baked this ,and now got to cut it up for my little tasters too 😉 xxx
    ok minus one piece!!! well i did bake it;) x
    thank you Ruth for another lovely recipe xx

  96. Vanessa says:

    I made these for my daughter to take to school as she’s been doing her sat exams this week & they were loved by the whole class! Great recipe Ruth x

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  98. Clare says:

    Made this yesterday for my rowing crew, must have been good as it disappeared pretty quickly 🙂 Have just made it again for my friends birthday tomorrow. Great recipe, really quick and easy to make.

  99. bec says:

    This looks delicious. Would it work as a birthday traybake? How many does it serve?

  100. bec says:

    This is the nicest, easiest cake I have ever made. I LOVE how thick the frosting is (although I had to use the first batch I made on some cupcakes because I ate too much of it whilst ‘testing’ it 🙂 Thanks!

  101. Alex says:

    I made this yesterday with double the cake mix and single amounts of icing, which was perfect. It reminded us all of a Heinz (tinned) chocolate pudding, but much nicer of course! Thanks Ruth 🙂

  102. Ruth clarke says:

    Agreat recipe that is so quick and easy to make. It does keep for days but generally it does not last long as everyone wants more and more. I love how cheap it is to make. No expensive ingredients! Thank you for introducing it to me.

  103. Sallie says:

    Don’t know where I went wrong but cake is very thin. Tastes good but just not much of a mouthful. Used an 8″ square tin but may try smaller tin next time to increase depth of cake.

  104. Gina says:

    Ive made this twice now and it’s great, can’t believe how quick and easy it is to throw together and very little washing up. It’s set to become a regular! Thanks Ruth!

  105. ~Becca says:

    I baked this last Thursday & it was GORGEOUS! I may bake it again tomorrow 🙂

  106. Maxine says:

    Hey, my top tip with the icing is that if it starts to split add a tiny amount of boiling water and then whisk well, this should bring it all back together again and leave it glossy. Add the water bit by bit as you don’t want too much, you can always add but taking it back it harder.

    Hope this helps a few of you x

  107. Charlotte says:

    Baked this for the MacMillan Bake Sale at work as I didn’t have much time – can’t get over how many compliments I have had. Even from hard core bakers! Thanks x

  108. Suzanne Doe says:

    I made double the recipe and baked it in a roasting tray! Looked beautiful until I tried to lift it out of the tin…..when the icing cracked. Didn’t matter a jot though, everyone loved it! Easy to bake and looks and tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen…thanks for sharing the recipe…this is a keeper!!

  109. Debbie Parker says:

    I have just made this chocolate cake and it is scrumptious. I don’t think it is going to last long!!

  110. Laura says:

    Just made this for the second time (1st time a year ago and my icing split, once drained i ended up smearing it on – but still tasty). This time it split once more, despite a super low heat, but i decided my tactic was to ignore it! So i let it bubble, mixed, added in the icing sugar, mixed some more, splash of milk, mixed some more, and magically it just came together even though up until the last minute it was greasy with melted butter swimming around it all. Very unusual, but ultimately the outcome was the same, and very delicious once more 🙂

  111. says:

    I’ve been looking for a chocolate traybake recipe for years after a local cafe used to sell one which was divine. It looked very much like this, I’m off to try it!

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  113. Robyn Linney says:

    Made this tray bake yesterday as I already had everything in to make it. It was devoured so quickly the hubby has requested I make another one today for them at work and my mum asked for recipe. Its lovely and fudgey and the icing is delish. Hubby has said it will definitely be a weekly make :)Thumbs up from the family

  114. Dawn says:

    Made this last night and am ashamed to say am currently enjoying my third piece! My boys are soooo looking forward to coming home after school as they know it’s waiting for them. Out of interest, having used 2 tbsps of milk I had a big lump of fondant, and found I had to add an extra 2 tbsps. Perfect!

  115. Elise says:

    Hey, this recipe is getting made in my kitchen today 🙂 can I just ask is salted or unsalted butter the preference, or does it not particularly matter?

  116. Cheryl says:

    This recipe looks fab,going to attempt it tomorrow:-) Could you tell me if the butter is salted or unsalted pls?

  117. Maxine says:

    Hi Ruth – I love your site and all your recipes. I have used this cake recipe loads – as a birthday cake for my son with chocolate ganache icing covered in chocolate buttons and also then to make a shaped birthday cake – made 6 assorted shapes, sandwiched with chocolate buttercream and covered in regal icing to make a football shirt cake. Such a good recipe to adapt and makes a lovely moist cake – thank you!

  118. chrissie says:

    Ruth OH MY GOD! So Simple and soooooo sweet & yummie….I too doubled the receipe for my roasting tray. No shame here with 3 boys in the house aswell! My 42 year old brother nearly ate the tray of them….. marshmallow sweets next me thinks…Thanks for the inspiration

  119. amy says:

    Just made this and it is really yummy! the icing split but with a drop of milk and a good beating with the hand whisk it came together beautifully and thick, so will do this next time as well. Thank you for another recipe for the folder.x

  120. Lisa says:

    I just made this with a one-month old baby strapped to me in a sling – I had everything I needed in my cupboard already and managed to sort out my insurance quote and wash up while it was baking. So easy and so lovely – the smell took me straight back to my childhood. May have to put some coloured sprinkles on top to please my older son (and bonus is I can cut him a really small piece). Thanks!

  121. Jessie says:

    If you replaced the cocoa with plain flour and added some vanilla essence do you think it would work as a vanilla tray bake?
    Thank you!

  122. Jodie says:

    I’ve made these a few times, and for some reason my batch tonight, the frosting tasted … burnt like? When it split, I managed to save it, but it just doesn’t taste too nice, what could have gone wrong?? :/ (Lovely when they go right though! 😀 )

  123. Donna says:

    OMG, Ive just baked this – it is the most gorgeous, stick to the roof of your mouth, fudgy, chocolatey goodness thing EVER! Everyone must try it!!

  124. Joanne says:

    Made this today – so easy and so very tasty. My three year old particularly loved it – thanks Ruth another fab recipe.

  125. Sharon says:

    I’m a big fan of this recipe, but recently found out that I can no longer eat gluten, I thought my baking days were over… however I used Dove’s gluten free plain flour yesterday and you could not tell the difference! Delicious!
    (I also double and bake in a roasting tin ;0)!)

  126. Jo Wotton says:

    I am taking over the running of our school meals in September and the children voted this afternoon for this to be on the menu, we only drizzle choc over the top, not cover it but it was the winner for the new menu by miles!
    Thank you xx

  127. Dom says:

    For the cake could you use vegetable oil instead of the butter

  128. Laura says:

    Made this today – amazing and very quick! 🙂
    My boys loved it too!
    Thank you Ruth x

  129. Kelly says:

    Still waiting for the icing to set, but had to comment to say that this is the first cake I think I’ve ever made that hasn’t either burned round the edges or sunk in the middle! It looks and smells gorgeous – thanks so much for posting a foolproof recipe! 🙂

  130. Sarah says:

    Made this tonight, very easy and quick. Tasted lovely, some has been nabbed for my brothers work too so there is only two pieces left! Definite winner, even with the husband!! But worried the icing was separating but just drained off the excess and stirred. Will be making for a charity coffee morning!!

  131. jane c says:

    Wow, this is a excellent recipe to add to your stand by, I only had 150g of icing sugar for the frosting and this still worked and my husband woof it down dont think it tounch the sides and then went back for seconds

  132. Victoria Flavin says:

    This recipe is delicious! I tried it for after Sunday lunch at the in laws. We’ve all been on a sweets and chocolate hiatus so this was the perfect treat. So easy. So chocolaty. So moist. Sooooo tasty!
    Thanks for the recipe, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making it many more times x

  133. Sharon Ishizaki says:

    Living in Japan, there are no home bakeries like the ones in the UK, so I made this today and it is absolutely fantastic!!! I followed the icing recipe to the letter, but the melted fats floated on the top of the mixture. I tried mixing the fats back into the mixture using a silicone spatula, but when the icing set, it was clear that the butter fats had not been mixed in (solid white fat on the top of the icing). The icing is still delicious and icing-like….it just looks ‘wrong’. Any ideas what I can do the next time I make this to stop this from happening. I plan to bake it again next Thursday!!!

    • Keep the heat very low which should stop the butter splitting. Also if you can try a different brand of cocoa powder? I have a lot of trouble with it splitting when I use Bourneville and instead use a supermarkets own brand x

  134. Jacqueline Chambers says:

    This looks delicious, just waiting for the icing to set and the family will tuck in! Very easy to follow recipe, thank you!

  135. Rachel Mitchel says:

    Made these last night and they turned out really well. I like having the step by step photos in the recipe as it leaves less room for error! Glad I found this website – going to use some of your other recipes!

  136. Jane, Bristol, England says:

    This tray bake is fantastic. It is so easy to make and my family adore it.

  137. Jo says:

    Hi Ruth, I’ve trawled through all the comments and don’t think anyone’s asked this already… Can it be frozen? If so, with the frosting on or only before frosting?
    Tia. Jo.

  138. Jemma Cripps says:

    I’ve made this before and it wa perfect. Today it is barely 1cm deep. Plain flour and bicarbonate of soda, is that right?

  139. Emma says:

    I’ve made this so many times and every time it’s turned out perfectly and vanished in record time! Also, I use dairy free margarine and soya milk to make it suitable for the dairy allergic child in the house without any problems. It’s so easy to whip up in a saucepan without the worry of butter being at the right temperature etc, and only one dirty pan!

  140. sandra carr says:

    Made these last week and again earlier this week. They are amazing and so easy to make. So moist and so tasty. Enjoyed by myself, my family, my friends and my workmates 🙂

  141. shizlebot says:

    Made this at christmas to give out instead of christmas cards – went down a storm.

    I’d run out of caster sugar so used soft brown sugar and it was gorgeous.

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  144. Kathryn Davies says:

    I have made this recipe twice in the last 4 days! Once for my colleagues and once for home. It’s soooo yummy and incredibly easy to make. And no Ruth I would not think badly of you for doubling the recipe…have had the same thought myself 😉 I’ve jazzed mine up by scattering the frosting with mini white chocolate stars and a touch of edible glitter. I’m thinking of adding orange to it next time for a change…to be honest the possibilities are endless with this great but simple recipe xx

  145. Kathryn Davies says:

    Just finished making this with orange…will let you know how it tastes 😉

  146. ali says:

    chocoholics paradise:)

  147. Sally says:

    Absolutely fabulous.. I did 1.5 times the recipe for a 9″ square tin and it is the best darn chocolate cake ever and so simple.. thanks for the recipe

  148. Hannah says:

    Love love love this recipe! I doubled it yesterday for my birthday cake and it went into 35 portions! Everyone asked for the recipe!

  149. colette says:

    This is a firm fave in our house, I also make it for the school bake sales too. very yummy and squidgy and so quick to knock together for those sudden choccie cravings.

  150. toni vann says:

    Have made this a few times and no sooner its baked its gone and I’m making more my family absolutely love this and have shared it on my cake page on facebook just a bake away hobby page directing followers to the pink whisk recipe x

  151. Alex says:

    My family love this and I have made it for guests with chopped and whole maltesers on top to make it more visually impressive as well! If you wanted to make it in a round cake tin instead, what size would you use? Many Thanks 🙂

  152. Joanne Pillinger says:

    This tasted A-MA-ZING!!! Thank you so much for the recipe! I, like many others, couldn’t help keep reaching for another piece from the cake tin!!!
    I only had a 9in square cake tin and so cooked it for 16mins and it turned out perfectly! Yummy and fudgy texture! Will definitely be making this again, and soon!!!!

  153. Letitia says:

    Thanks for a fantastic recipe. I doubled it and added a pile of frozen raspberries then cooked it for about 30 minutes. It was spectacular. Just did a dark chocolate ganache for the top since I didn’t have enough icing sugar. It was such an easy and decadent christmas dessert.

  154. Angela walton says:

    Have just made this for the second time ready for family coming tomorrow and it was a great hit the first time ,it’s a delicious,fudge yummy chocolate hit !!:-)

  155. Louise says:

    Could I make this with margarine instead. I hate butter and often just use margarine in my recipes. Thanks :), Louise

  156. Kate says:


    Made it in a 1.5lb loaf tin and baked for 50 mins. Came out lovely, really moist and the fudgy topping is the bomb 🙂 just had a large slice to taste test and its delicious. Thanks for the recipe Ruth x

  157. Kate says:

    This is my new favourite bake! Made it twice today, going to mix it up a bit next time and make a choc orange one 🙂

  158. Fiona Draper says:

    Can this cake be made in advance and frozen please

  159. Leone Evrenos says:

    Do you have to use whole milk?

  160. Leone Evrenos says:

    Made this tonight and turned out good, very much like a brownie. My topping separated a bit but could have been due to being 9 grams short on the icing sugar, however it seems to be setting ok.

  161. Rachel H says:

    Made this today. The base, and topping tasted amazing individually. But like others my topping did not set, even though I let the butter and cocoa mixture bubble for 30 seconds.

  162. Nessa says:

    Sadly I gave up chocolate and cake at the end of Feb in order to lose weight but it hasn’t stopped me baking. I made this yesterday and topped it off with chopped walnuts. I gave in to try a bite (yes, only a small bite) and it is delicious!!! Think I’ll be trying dulce de Lethe brownies next!! Yum! Thanks Ruth for a great recipe.

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