Weekend Wonderings: Baking For Dummies

Happy Saturday, readers…today we’ve got Frankie coming to the rescue with a recipe for “Chocolate cake for people who don’t know how to bake”.  I KNOW there are some of you out there…I remember the furor following me not being able to find my balloon whisk.  I firmly believe that cakes should never be bought when it’s so easy to make them yourself…just follow Frankie’s fail-safe tips and you will have a CHOCOLATE CAKE.  THAT YOU MADEYes, really:

 Picture on the wall of my friend’s house. I totally agree.

Apart from fairy cakes as a child, I’d literally never done the grown up thing of baking a cake.  But last year I decided I would bake a cake for my friend’s birthday, and have bizarrely now turned into a baking obsessive.  It was with the help of my amazing-way-better-than-Nigella-Lawson mother-in-law*, who gave me the simplest, easiest recipe, a MAGIC RECIPE that is near on impossible to get wrong.

* who makes beautiful cakes like THIS


If you’re a complete beginner then here it is – the easiest cake recipe ever. If I can do it, you definitely can.


Dodgy writing, nice cake.



These are the things you need

An oven

Oven gloves

Cake tins to bake the cake in (the ideal ones for this recipe are 8 inches in diameter)

Cake tins – the kind to keep the cake in afterwards

Electronic scales

An electronic whisk

A big mixing bowl

A Pyrex or plastic bowl or two to weigh things in

A tablespoon

A cooling rack

Kitchen roll (to grease the tins)



Self raising flour

Caster sugar

Icing sugar

Cocoa powder

Free-range eggs

Butter (or cooking margarine eg Stork)

Baking powder

Note: I use unrefined sugar and good quality butter eg Kerrygold – seeing as you’re baking you may as well reap the full nutritional benefits of making something from scratch, using nice ingredients.  That said, unrefined sugar (eg by Billingtons) is more expensive.


What to do

How much of each ingredient is worked out by the number of eggs you use.  For an average sized cake tin (like the one mentioned above) go for three eggs.


Pre-set the oven to 170 degrees.

Take your cake tins and grease them – you can use a folded piece of kitchen roll smothered in butter to do this.

Weigh the eggs still in their shells.  Note down how much they weigh.

Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl.

Weigh out exactly the same amount of flour.  Take it off the scales, then take out a generous tablespoon of it and put it back in the pack of flour.  In its place, put a generous tablespoon of cocoa powder.  Take out a small teaspoon of flour, and replace it with a small teaspoon of baking powder.

Put the flour-cocoa powder-baking powder mixture it in the mixing bowl with the eggs.

Weigh out exactly the same amount of caster sugar, put it in the mixing bowl.

Weight out exactly the same amount of butter, put it in the mixing bowl.

Whisk it all together using the electronic whisk.  I start on slow and increase the speed as the mixture comes together.  Whisk it until it looks nice and quite smooth.

Spoon it into the tins as evenly as possible, then put it in the oven and cook for around 15 minutes

While it’s baking in the oven, lick the bowl. Blatantly.

Carefully take the tins out of the oven, and tip the cakes out onto the cooling rack, let them cool.

Make icing.  I like to make chocolate butter icing for the middle, to sandwich the cake halves together with.  You use approx. twice as much icing sugar as butter to make this, and add cocoa powder to make it all chocolaty.  For the top of the cake you can either use butter icing or you can make normal icing by mixing icing sugar, a teaspoon or so of cocoa powder, and some water.  Perhaps add some sugar stars or other decorations on if you want. That’s it.

Maybe coerce someone else into doing the washing up.  THAT’S REALLY IT.


Why bother?

If you are like me and think why bother with baking?  I’ve come up with three reasons.

It’s so much better for you eating stuff that’s homemade.  Cake in packets from the supermarket is full of preservatives etc that our bodies could probably do without.

Everyone loves it when you bake and you get loads of compliments.

It’s actually really fun and you get to eat the mixture (which I personally find tastier than cakes)

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Categories: Food, Weekend Wonderings
11 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Sandra C
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Right, ill try again to make a cake. I’ll report back later on today!! I am the original baking numpty!! Thank you for the recipe.

    • Posted June 30, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      It’s just like chemistry in the lab, but YUMMIER! :-p

      K x

  2. Esme
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Yum! Our kitchen aid has not been used in a while – good excuse!

  3. Frances
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Mmm, more recipes :-) Baking is possibly my favourite thing to do at the weekend – it’s relaxing, the cake lasts all week and it tastes so much better than shop-bought cake *nibbles on cake crumbs*

  4. Posted June 30, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I don’t need to bake this weekend as I’m heading to stay with my parents-in-law this weekend and my MIL seems to be under the impression that I need feeding up with cake. I don’t, but I’m still not going to object :-D

    Next weekend though…

    K x

  5. Carly
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Yummy cake.

    On a different note, I also have a friend that I call Bexicle. I thought I was being highly original!

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Oh how WEIRD! I thought it was original too! I call her Princess Bexicle – hahaha – I don’t know why!

  6. Sam
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I am currently making this cake for my son’s 6th birthday & will report back on how it turns out!

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Awww Sam that’s great – please do let me know how you get on.

2 Trackbacks

  • By The Place That Made Me Me – Frankie on July 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    [...] running supporters, and we’ve run a few of her pieces before; her Any Other Photo, her baking for beginners, her take on working parents. They’ve all been great (obviously). But this one, this one, is [...]

  • By Weekend Wonderings on July 14, 2012 at 7:01 am

    [...] brains, I was at the back of the queue.  It is not a gift I possess. Even with Frankie’s ‘Baking for Dummies’ I got as far as ‘cake tins to bake the cake in afterwards’ and I was floored. I own [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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