Grandma's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

"Old fashioned Chocolate Cake. On Sundays in South Africa, you're more than likely to find something sweet on the table in a Cape Malay household. A welcome reprieve after heavily spiced curries or stews with raisin-studded yellow rice. My grandmother used to make this cake when her hands were able. When the papaya seed tea helped her arthritis that week. Brought to our home in a big cake tin...Brought to us three girls because we would be expecting it. Open the tin and smell grandma's rose perfume mingling with the sugary chocolate. I love it. I'm an old fashioned kind of girl."
-- @thedaleyplate
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  • Recipe Card
Prep time 10mins
Cook time 30mins

Recipe Card

For the Cake


  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon castor sugar
  • 6 extra large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour

For the Frosting


  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease and line two 8” cake tins.

  • Step 2

    Beat sugar and egg yolks until creamy. Gradually add the oil while continuing to beat until the mixture is fluffy and pale. Continue mixing while adding the water, salt and vanilla extract, until the mixture is thick and foamy.

  • Step 3

    Sift the baking powder, cocoa and flour together and gradually add to the creamed mixture.

  • Step 4

    Beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed, but not dry. Fold into the mixture and mix by hand until smooth. Divide the mixture into the greased cake tins and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Turn out on to cake racks and allow to cool.

  • Step 5

    Make the frosting: Whisk butter and cream cheese until fully combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar and finish with the vanilla.