Find tried and tested recipes from McCarthy Stone homeowners, teams and the restaurant chefs in our assisted living (Retirement Living PLUS) developments

Mary Berry's Gorgeous Ginger and Chocolate Cake Recipe

When it gets dark and chilly, you need to ward off the winter blues - and a delicious cake recipe from Queen of Cooks, Mary Berry will do just that! 

a slice of cake on a plate
Posted 12 December 2016
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Prep: 45 minutes (including cooking) Cook: 35 minutes


For the cake

  • 200g butter (room temperature) or baking spread (at least 70% fat), plus extra for greasing
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped

For the filling and topping

  • 225g icing sugar
  • 115g butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp stem ginger syrup
  • 1 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 pieces of stem ginger, finely shredded

Special equipment

  • 2 loose-bottomed, round sandwich tins, 20cm diameter and 4.5cm deep



  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan 160ºC/350ºF/Gas 4). Grease the sandwich tins and line the bottom of each with baking parchment. Put the cocoa powder into a large, heatproof bowl. Stir in 6 tbsp of boiling water, then add the milk. Mix to make a smooth paste.
  2. Add the remaining cake ingredients and combine using an electric hand whisk for 1–2 minutes only (or 3 minutes with a wooden spoon); do not over-mix, or the cake may not rise.
  3. Divide the cake mixture equally between the prepared tins and level the tops. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the cakes shrink away from the side of the tin and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in their tins, then turn them out and peel off the paper. Turn the cakes the right way up and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Make the filling and topping: sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter, stem ginger syrup, and milk, and beat together using an electric hand whisk (or wooden spoon) until well blended. Transfer one of the cakes to a serving plate and spread half the icing over the top. Place the second cake over the filling and cover the top with the remaining icing. Use the palette knife to draw large “S” shapes to give a swirl effect, then decorate the edge with the shredded stem ginger.

Smooth mixture

  1. Cocoa powder can be lumpy, so mix it to a smooth paste with boiling water, then milk before adding the remaining ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to break up any lumps.

Evenly iced cakes

  1. Make sure the butter for the icing is at room temperature, so it will spread easily. Use equal amounts of icing between the layers and on top of the cake, and cover right to the edges.

Buying cocoa powder

  1. This cake looks and tastes very chocolatey, but it doesn’t actually contain any chocolate – it’s made with cocoa powder. Buy a good-quality cocoa powder, preferably an organic one. This will be darker than the less expensive varieties, and will ensure that your cake has a deep, rich chocolate colour and flavour.
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