7 delectable chocolate cake recipes (and the perfect teas to enjoy with them)

Chocolate cake and a good cuppa, our favourite combination. We’ve teamed up with National Tea Day for these delectable, hit-the-spot pairings.

Lime custard cake with chocolate lime glaze

Chris Alack

MAKES 1 X 23CM CAKE FILLING

4 medium egg yolks
100g golden caster sugar
grated zest of 2 limes
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g cornflour
500ml whole milk

FOR THE SPONGE
150ml whole milk
30g unsalted butter diced
2 medium eggs plus 2 egg yolks
200g golden caster sugar
115g plain flour sifted
1 tsp baking powder sifted
35g cocoa powder sifted

FOR THE GLAZE
100ml double cream
100g dark chocolate with lime (about 50 per cent cocoa for example Lindt Excellence)
finely grated lime zest to decorate

1. For the filling, whisk the first four ingredients in a large bowl, then whisk in the cornflour. Bring the milk to the boil in a medium non-stick pan, whisk it onto the egg yolk mixture then return this to the pan, and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until you have a thick custard without any lumps (if you like, use a mini-whisk to help achieve a nice smooth texture). Strain the custard through a sieve into a large bowl, cover the surface with clingfilm and leave to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Select a loose-bottomed cake tin about 23cm across and 7cm deep (no need to butter or flour it).
3. For the sponge, place the milk and butter in a small pan and heat until melted and combined. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in a large bowl for 5 minutes using an electric whisk, until very thick, moussey and almost white. Combine the three sifted ingredients and fold them into the flour mixture in three goes. Gradually whisk in the milk solution in three goes until you have a smooth batter. Pour this into the tin and give it a couple of taps on the work surface to bring up any large air bubbles.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface of the cake looks set and spongey. Place a wire rack over the tin and invert it, allowing the cake to cool completely in the tin upside down (this helps prevent it from sinking). Remove the collar of the tin, stand the cake the right way up and slice it in two horizontally.
5. For the glaze, bring the cream to the boil in a small pan and pour over the chocolate in a small bowl. Leave for a couple of minutes and stir, then continue stirring from time to time until you have a smooth glaze.
6. To assemble, give the custard a stir and spread it over the lower layer of cake to within 1 cm of the rim then set the top layer of cake in place. Spread over the glaze, taking it up to the rim. Decorate with a little finely grated lime zest and chill for a couple of hours. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before eating.

PERFECT PAIRING
Catherine by The Amber Rose Tea Company, £14.95 per 100g, theamberroseteacompany.co.uk

Orange hazelnut brownies

Chris Alack

MAKES 1 TIN FOR SLICING

120g lightly salted butter diced plus extra
for the tin
200g dark chocolate with orange (about
50 per cent cocoa) broken up
100g light muscovado sugar
2 medium eggs
200g ground hazelnuts (see tip in method)
30g cocoa
1 rounded tsp baking powder
2 tbsp fresh orange juice

FOR THE TOP
100g dark chocolate with orange (about 50 per cent cocoa) broken into pieces
25g unsalted butter diced
1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau (or orange juice)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Butter a 23cm brownie tin and line the base and sides with baking paper, snipping the corners so the sides sit flat. Gently melt the chocolate with the butter in a large bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and whisk to smooth out any lumps.
2. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture one at a time, beating until glossy and amalgamated. Gently fold in the ground nuts (tip: if you can’t find ground hazelnuts, whiz the ready-roasted kind in a coffee or spice grinder). Sift over the cocoa and baking powder and fold in without overmixing. Stir in the orange juice.
3. Transfer the mixture to the tin, smoothing the surface, and bake for 25 minutes or until just set in the centre. Leave the cake to cool.
4. Gently melt the chocolate and butter for the glaze as above, then stir in the liqueur and 2 teaspoons of water and continue to heat, whisking until the glaze is completely smooth. Lift the cake out of the tin and peel back the baking paper sides. Pour the glaze over the top and smooth it towards the edges using a palette knife. Chill for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. You should get about 9 generous brownies, 16 medium or 25 minis. It will keep well for several days loosely covered with clingfilm.

PERFECT PAIRING
Organic Earl Grey by Hope & Glory, £11 for 28 tea bags, thehopeandglory.co.uk

Double choc-chip muffin cupcakes

Chris Alack

MAKES ABOUT 12

80g unsalted butter melted and cooled
180ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
200g plain gluten-free flour (for example Doves Farm) or use plain flour
50g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds
200g golden caster sugar
100g milk chocolate chips
100g dark chocolate with sea salt (for example Lindt) see method
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
100ml double cream

1. Heat the oven to 190C/170 C fan/gas 5 and arrange 12 paper muffin cases or wrappers within a 12-hole muffin tray.
2. Whisk the melted butter, milk, vanilla and eggs together in a large bowl. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into another large bowl, and stir in the ground almonds and sugar. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and stir to loosely combine – there should be no traces of flour, but the mixture should appear wet and lumpy. Fold in the chocolate chips. Fill the paper cases by two thirds. Chop 50g of the dark chocolate and scatter a little over each cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until risen and crusty and set in the centre. Leave to cool, then dust lightly with icing sugar if wished. You can serve these plain or finish as follows.
3. For the frosting, melt the remaining dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Gradually whisk in 100ml double cream and continue to heat gently until you have a smooth glossy glaze with a good trickling consistency. Drop a teaspoon of this over the crown of each cake, swirling it a little with a teaspoon if you wish.

PERFECT PAIRING
Mountain Mint by Nazani Tea, £17.95 per 50g, nazanitea.com

Salted caramel chocolate Victoria sponge

Chris Alack

MAKES 1 x 20CM CAKE

WET INGREDIENTS
80ml groundnut oil or vegetable oil plus extra for the tin
2 medium eggs
170g buttermilk (or zero per cent fat natural yoghurt)
150ml black coffee (or diluted espresso)

DRY INGREDIENTS
130g plain flour sifted
50g cocoa sifted
250g light muscovado sugar
1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda sifted

FOR THE ICING
150g unsalted
butter softened
75g icing sugar
sifted plus extra
for dusting
75g dulce de leche (for example Nestlé caramel)
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 squares of fudge finely sliced, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Brush two 20cm cake tins (at least 4cm deep) with vegetable oil and line the base with baking paper.
2. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together the dry ingredients in another large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and tap them sharply on the work surface to bring up any air bubbles. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm and springy to the touch. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and leave to cool before carefully removing from the tins and discarding the base paper.
3. Whisk the butter until soft in a medium bowl using an electric whisk. Add the icing sugar and whisk for about a minute until pale and moussey, then add the dulce de leche and sea salt, and whisk until blended.
4. Spread or pipe a third of the filling over one of the sponges, sandwich with the second sponge and swirl the remaining filling over the top (or
pipe it decoratively as in the picture). Dust with icing sugar and, if wished, scatter over some slivers of fudge. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

PERFECT PAIRING
Pure Green Tea by Clipper, £1.99 for 20 tea bags, clipper-teas.com

Chocolate and honey yoghurt traybake with pecans

Chris Alack

MAKES ONE TRAY FOR SLICING
120ml groundnut or vegetable oil plus extra
for brushing
3 medium eggs
100g golden caster sugar
225g Greek-style yoghurt (for example Total full fat)
160g semolina
30g cocoa
2 heaped tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g pecan nuts
125g orange blossom honey

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and brush a 23cm square brownie tin with oil. Whisk the oil, eggs and sugar in a large bowl to combine, then whisk in the yoghurt and stir in the semolina. Sift the cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a small bowl and stir this into the mixture. Transfer it to the tin, smoothing the surface, arrange the pecan nuts over the top and bake for 30 minutes or until shrinking from the sides and firm in the centre.
2. Gently heat the honey in a small pan until liquefied, drizzle over the cake and brush over the surface, then leave to cool. To serve cut into squares (you should get 16 medium). These will keep well for several days in an airtight container.

PERFECT PAIRING
Classic English Breakfast by Newby, £12 for 125g loose leaf, newbyteas.co.uk

Double chocolate vanilla ring cake

Chris Alack

MAKES 1 x 20CM CAKE

FOR STEP ONE
150g diced unsalted butter plus extra for the tin
200g plain flour
150g dark chocolate (about
70 per cent cocoa) broken up
125ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
25g dark muscovado sugar
3 medium eggs
150g Greek yoghurt (for example Total full-fat)

FOR STEP TWO
40g cocoa sifted
1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda sifted
150g golden caster sugar

FOR THE FROSTING
250g milk chocolate, broken up
40g unsalted butter diced
60g cocoa
120ml whole milk plus
1 tbsp extra
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
dark or white chocolate shavings to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and butter a 24cm nonstick bundt ring or equivalent. Place the step 1 ingredients apart from the eggs and yoghurt in a large bowl. Set this over a pan containing a little simmering water on a gentle heat and stir the ingredients together to a smooth, thin cream. Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs and yoghurt.
2. In another large bowl stir together the step 2 ingredients, then pour over the chocolate cream mixture and beat until smooth. Transfer to the prepared tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until set and a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean. Invert the tin on to a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before removing it.
3. For the frosting, gently melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl set over a small pan containing a little simmering water, stirring until smooth. At the same time combine the cocoa, 120ml milk and honey in a small nonstick pan and heat almost to boiling point, giving it an occasional whisk. Strain this into the bowl with the melted chocolate and whisk to a thick, glossy icing, then whisk in the vanilla and final tablespoon of milk.
4. Generously trickle the frosting over the crown of the cake, smoothing it towards the edges so that it trickles down. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then scatter the chocolate shavings over the top and set aside for 30 minutes. Ideally serve within a few hours while the frosting is gooey. It will still be soft and fudgy the following day, but avoid chilling. Store loosely covered with clingfilm.

PERFECT PAIRING
Black Tea with Vanilla by Pure Leaf, £3.99 for 16 tea bags, pureleaf.com

Chilli-spiced chocolate ovals

Chris Alack

MAKES 8

100g dark chocolate with chilli (about 50 per cent cocoa) broken into pieces
125g unsalted butter, diced
50g light muscovado sugar
50g ground almonds
½ tsp ground ginger sifted
3 medium eggs
crème fraîche to serve
icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and have ready a nonstick friand tin (which will give you the oval shape), or alternatively you can use muffin cases in a muffin tin. Gently melt 90g ofthe chocolate in a bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Cream the butter and sugar together in a food processor, then add the ground almonds, ginger and eggs one at a time. Trickle the chocolate through the funnel with the motor running. You should have a smooth runny batter.
2. Half fill the friand tins or muffin cases and bake for 15 minutes until risen and just set on the outside, while slightly moist in the centre. Leave to cool; they will sink in the middle. Drop a teaspoon of crème fraîche on the centre of each one. Finely shave the remaining chocolate into splinters and scatter over. Chill for an hour and dust with icing sugar before serving.

PERFECT PAIRING
Sherlock Holmes Tea by Chash, £10 for 50g loose leaf, chashtea.co.uk

Our recipes come with teas recommended by Diaz Ayub, the chief taster at National Tea Day, who has based the combos on the flavour properties of each tea and cake. For information and the full tasting notes on each of our tea pairings, see Britain’s Best Tea Guide at nationalteaday.co.uk

Recipes by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.