I love to bake, but I’m not a ‘pretty baker’ … for the most part my kids don’t seem to mind what my cakes look like, but they really do care what they taste like.  Except for the dog that is, he’s a Labrador so doesn’t care what anything tastes like he’ll eat it anyway! 

This Easy Peasy Chocolate Tray Bake is hands down the easiest and moistest (is that a word??) cake you will ever eat.  It’s super easy (spoiler alert is in the title) and despite what other bakers say, I cut mine into portions and freeze them so that when you need emergency cake, you can just whip out a slice and leave it on the side to defrost for 15 mins. 

Prep Time: 20 minutes // Cook Time: 32 minutes // Total Time including faffing: 1hr  

CAKE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cups (228g) plain flour (sieved)
  • 2 cups (414g) caster sugar (sieved)
  • 3/4 cup (85g) cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs  
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot water (save till the end) 

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (224g) butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups (345g) icing sugar (sieved)
  • 1/2 cup (57g) cocoa powder (sieved)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4–5 tbsp (60-75ml) milk

Your favourite sprinkles, smarties or whatever you like most!

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare a 9×13 inch cake pan with baking parchment. I just leave mine to hang over the edge and trim it afterwards

  1. Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and set aside
  2. Add the wet ingredients (except the water) to a separate bowl and set aside
  3. Add the wet ingredients (except the water) to the dry ingredients and mix well
  4. Slowly add the hot water to the mix on low speed until well combined
  5. Pour your mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. It will look runnier than normal cake mixtures you are used to working with – this is normal.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven when it’s done and leave to cool completely. Don’t be tempted to whack on that frosting before it is, you’ll land up with a melty mess.

To make the buttercream frosting

  1. Mix the butter on a high speed until it resembles the colour of mayonnaise
  2. Combine the icing sugar and cocoa together in a separate bowl and set aside
  3. Mix together your milk and vanilla essence in a separate bowl and set aside
  4. Once your butter is ready, add the icing sugar and cocoa mix to it one large tablespoon at a time, alternating with your milk mixture and mixing well in between each addition.
  5. Don’t let your mixture get too thin – it should look like thick butter
  6. Once all the ingredients have been mixed together, turn up the speed on your mixture and beat for a further 1 minute

Once your cake is completely cool – blob on the buttercream mixture and spread it generously over the entire cake top with a spatula or a spoon.  Sprinkle like it’s going out of fashion and enjoy!