Donna Hay’s chocolate custard poke cake

Chocolate has a mysterious kind of power, a dark exotic magic – and nowhere is this more evident than in Donna Hay’s rich chocolate custard poke cake.

From Modern Baking by Donna Hay

SERVES 10-12

375g self-raising flour, sifted
50g cocoa powder, sifted
220g caster sugar
90g light brown sugar
4 medium eggs
430ml buttermilk
250g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate (70 per cent), melted

200g dark chocolate (45-55 per cent), finely chopped
325g store-bought good quality thick custard
250ml buttermilk

400g dark chocolate (45-55 per cent), melted

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line a 20cm x 30cm cake tin with nonstick baking paper, leaving 4cm paper above the long edges. Place the flour, cocoa, both the sugars, the eggs, buttermilk, butter, vanilla and chocolate in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tin.
2. While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate custard icing. Place the chocolate and custard in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat, add the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
3. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke deep holes, about 4cm apart, into the cake. While the icing is still warm, slowly pour it over the cake and tap the tin gently to release any air bubbles. Refrigerate until cold.
4. To make the chocolate curls, pour the chocolate on to the underside of a large baking tray. Spread it evenly to 5mm thick and refrigerate until set. Using a sharp knife, scrape the chocolate away from you to create shavings.
5. Use the paper lining to lift the cake from the tin. Place on a serving plate and top with the chocolate curls to serve.

Modern Baking by Donna Hay will be published by Fourth Estate on 18 October, price £30. To pre-order a copy for £24 (a 20 per cent discount) until 21 October, visit, or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15. Donna’s TV series Basics to Brilliance Kids continues on UKTV until 26 October; to be followed by Basics to Brilliance later in the year. To mark the publication of Modern Baking, she will be in London at the end of October for events at Fortnum & Mason ( for details) and The Soho Hotel ( for details). And you can catch Donna on BBC Saturday Kitchen on 3 November.