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Great Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

Great Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

great grandma's chocolate cake pinit
great grandma's chocolate cake with slice removed

I knew I had to share this chocolate cake recipe with you with today being national chocolate cake day. I remember making this chocolate cake numerous times as a kid. In fact, it was with this recipe that I officially overtook my mum as the best baker in the house according to my dad. It wasn’t until recently that I learnt this was actually my great grandma’s (my grandad’s mum) chocolate cake recipe.

This cake has warm spices and a deep caramel flavor from the golden syrup. Topped with a basic chocolate icing, the dense texture makes it perfect for dipping in a cup of tea or coffee.

great grandma and great grandad
My great grandparents in New Zealand

Making Great Grandma’s chocolate cake

This cake is made in a pot, rather than a mixing bowl. Start by melting together the butter, sugar, golden syrup and milk over a medium-low heat.

butter, sugar, golden syrup and milk in a large pan

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Next add the eggs one at a time whisk vigorously. You want to start whisking as soon as the egg hits the mixture so the eggs do not start to cook.

melted ingredients with cocoa powder added

Finally add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices and mix until combined. This mixture will be very runny. Carefully pour into your prepared cake tin and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

completed mixture in pot

Selecting the correct pan

This recipe makes a generous amount of batter. The best size pan to use for a traditional round cake is a 10 x 3 inch pan. A 2 inch tall pan is not recommended as the cake will likely run over. Your cake pan should be 2/3 full. If you only have a 2″ tall or 9″ round pan you can bake the extra batter in a muffin pan or mini loaf pan.

Where can I find golden syrup?

Golden syrup is a staple in New Zealand baking. We always had a big red can of Chelsea’s golden syrup in the pantry growing up. When I moved to America and started making my mum’s recipes I realized golden syrup was not a baking staple here as it was back home.

Thankfully, you can still buy golden syrup online from both Amazon and Walmart. I have also heard that select supermarkets carry it in their international section. If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own golden syrup.

I would not recommend substituting the golden syrup in this recipe as it is the key ingredient that provides the golden caramel flavor.

great grandma's chocolate cake pin

Great Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 45 min Rest Time 10 min Total Time 1 hr 5 mins


Great grandma's chocolate cake has warm spices and a deep caramel flavor. The dense texture makes it perfect for dipping in a cup of coffee.



    1. Preheat oven to 350F
    2. Grease 10 x 3 inch cake pan and set aside
    3. In a large pot melt together butter, sugar, golden syrup and milk
    4. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder
    5. Add eggs one at a time, whisking vigorously after each egg is added
    6. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, all spice and cinnamon and stir until combined
    7. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 45 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean
    8. Let cake cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to finish cooling
    9. Once cake is completely cool ice with basic chocolate icing


See article above for alternative pan size

If mixture is not whisked vigorously after the addition of each egg the eggs may cook in the hot mixture

Keywords: Chocolate cake, Grandma's cake, Chocolate icing

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