A cake fit for royalty: Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite chocolate cake recipe

Hilary Hagerman
Shine On
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her birthday with cake in 1989. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

You can’t beat a royal family tradition – especially when it involves cake.

On Tuesday, April 21, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 89th birthday. With a rare week off from official engagements, the royal reportedly spent the day quietly celebrating with family at Windsor Castle.

According to Queen Elizabeth II’s former personal chef, Darren McGrady, the queen loves to celebrate her birthday in the same way we do: with chocolate cake. And not just any chocolate cake – the same recipe she’s requested for the past 80 years, which reportedly dates back to Queen Victoria’s chef.

If it’s good enough for the queen, it’s good enough for us. Here’s the recipe for Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite cake, courtesy of Eating Royally.

Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Chocolate Cake:

The sponge:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 oz flour
  • 1 oz Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 oz melted butter

The topping and filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 lb Ghirardelli dark chocolate

Instructions:
1) At least six hours before baking the cake, prepare the filling. Melt 8 oz of the chocolate and bring to boil 1/2 pint of the cream.

2) Pour the cream onto the chocolate and whisk it until smooth, then refrigerate until set.

3) Turn on the oven to 350 degrees and set a pan (large enough to hold a mixing bowl) half full of hot water on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Line an 8 inch sponge tin with parchment paper and grease.

4) In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, yolks and sugar and whisk together. Place over the bowl of hot water to allow the mixture to heat up.

5) Sieve the flour and cocoa and set aside.

6) Whisk the egg mixture until it doubles in volume and then fold in the butter and flour mixture. Spoon the mix into the cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes until the sponge springs back when pressed.

7) Remove from the oven onto a cooling wire and make the topping while the sponge cools.

8) Melt the remaining 8 oz of chocolate and bring to a boil the remaining 1/2 pint of cream. Pour the cream onto the chocolate and whisk it until smooth and then set aside off the heat.

9) Slice the sponge into three discs and spread the filling onto the bottom two discs and reassemble. Add the remaining chocolate mix to the hot topping and whisk in.

10) Place the sponge back onto the cooling wire and ladle the topping over the sponge allowing it to run down the sides. Cool the cake for at least two hours before decorating and serving.