Chocolate cake

Chef Mark Allison's version of chocolate cake.

Growing up in the North East of England as young lad, I always remember Sundays as being the best day of the week.

Why you ask? Well, Sunday was the day my brother Michael, my sister Julie, and I would help Dad in the garden and Mam in the kitchen. Dad would pick the crop of the day from his garden, and Mam would prepare all the goodies.

Sunday was always roast day, chicken, pork or lamb. If we were especially lucky because Dad might have worked overtime, it might be a fore rib of beef with Yorkshire puddings and lashings of thick gravy with roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and garden peas. For afternoon tea, my Mom would make apple and blackberry pie with custard or rhubarb crumble with clotted cream from Marks & Spencer.

But her signature dish, as we chefs like to call it nowadays, was her to “die for” chocolate cake. Three layers of dark chocolate sponge cake with double cream oozing out of each layer and thick milk chocolate fondant (always Cadbury’s) covering the top made this the most delectable, delicious, mouthwatering, scrumptious, and satisfying cake.

I’ve come up with my own version. Please give it a try as it’s so “easy peasy” to make. You basically just whisk everything together and pop into the oven. Voila! It’s done.

Let it cool slightly, dust with icing sugar, otherwise known as confectioners’ sugar, and it’s ready to be devoured by you and the kids. Yes, it’s a cake and has flour, sugar, and chocolate powder, but since you made it, you know what’s in it.

 I have cut out the heavy cream and thick chocolate fondant so it’s a little healthier. Sit back and enjoy a slice on a warm spring Sunday afternoon or cozied up with the kids on cold winters night.

Serves 8-10


1 ½ cups self-rising flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup very cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Confectioners’ sugar (optional, for dusting)

How to cook:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350’F and line and grease a 9 inch cake tin
  2. Sieve the flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt together over a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk together the water, oil, vanilla, and vinegar in a separate small bowl.
  4. Blend together the wet and dry mixtures together, whisk until smooth, and pour into a greased 9-inch round cake pan.
  5. Tap the edge of the pan against the edge of the counter to any pop air bubbles that might be lurking in the sponge mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed gently.
  6. Allow to cool before removing from the pan and dusting with confectioners’ sugar. Serve and enjoy a slice or two!!!!
Chef Mark Allison

Mark Allison, Executive is Chef of Culinary Innovation at the Cabarrus Health Alliance. Check out for more recipes and a list of upcoming cooking classes with Chef Allison.

Mark Allison is Executive Chef of Culinary Innovation at the Cabarrus Health Alliance. Check out for a list of upcoming cooking classes with Chef Allison.  Want more recipes?  Visit

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