Chefs' Recipes

Burnt cocoa sponge cake

Don't be fooled: this rich fondant-like cake is so simple to prepare it could soon become your standby for all those moments when a last-minute dessert is required.

  • 15 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 4
  • Print
"Over 10 years ago I tried a pão de ló in Portugal - the shops have these cakes all lined up along the bench surrounded by frilly paper," says Mat Lindsay. "The traditional version is a classic eggs and sugar kind of thing and never has cocoa, but our take is kind of like a chocolate fondant self-saucing pudding. It's really simple to make and there's no mess; you serve it in the paper that you bake it in."


  • 2½ tbsp dutch-process cocoa
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • 50 gm (⅓ cup) plain flour, sifted


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 220°C. Sift cocoa over a baking tray thinly but evenly, then roast, stirring every minute until dark and it smells toasted (3-4 minutes).
  • 2
    Grease and line four 12cm-diameter cake tins or ovenproof bowls with 30cm square pieces of baking paper, squashing folds of paper against tins.
  • 3
    Whisk yolks, eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and doubled in size (3-4 minutes). Gently fold in flour and toasted cocoa until fully incorporated. Divide batter among tins and bake until centre is just set but still a little runny (7-9 minutes; it may take you a couple of tries to get the timing perfect). Cool in tins for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with pouring cream.


Drink Suggestion: Punset nebbiolo chinato, Piedmont. Drink suggestion by Julien Dromgool