• Quick-mix chocolate cake (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

This chocolate cake is one of those crowd-pleasing ones. It’s super simple to make, rich in flavour, moist in texture and perfect for any occasion – what more could you want? 






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (39 votes)

The added sourdough starter discard adds a lovely sourness that won’t be obvious, but it will highlight the chocolate flavour. 


  • melted butter, to grease
  • 150 g salted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 220 g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
  • 100 g sourdough starter discard (100% hydration), at room temperature
  • 100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour
  • 55 g (½ cup) cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder 

Chocolate icing

  • 250 g (2 cups) pure icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2-2½ tbsp water, at room temperature

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time: 30 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 20 cm (base measurement) round cake tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper. 

2. Combine the butter, sugar and milk in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and use a fork to whisk in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside until cooled to room temperature. 

3. Add the sourdough starter discard to the cooled butter mixture and use a balloon whisk to stir until just combined. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder over the butter mixture and stir until just combined. 

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely (about 1 hour). 

5. To make the chocolate icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a medium bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir in 2 tablespoons of the water, adding the remaining ½ tablespoon if necessary, to mix to a very thick pouring consistency. Spread over the top of the cooled cake. Set aside for 30 minutes for the icing to firm before cutting.


Baker’s tip

• This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 


Recipe from Not Just Bread by Anneka Manning. Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Kat Hunt. Food preparation by Vanessa Miles. Download the free ebook with all of these recipes right here.