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Back to School Gooey Chocolate Cake

Our family tradition is to bake a gooey chocolate back to school chocolate cake on the first day of school as a treat, to make the day special. We hope you enjoy this easy recipe.

Close up of Gooey Chocolate Cake topped with chocolate ganache & smarties


We have a Back to School tradition in our house.
I started it when my son started school and we continue on with it each year.

On his first day back at school we make a chocolate cake together.
Not not in the morning! You're having a laugh. Do you know how mad the first day of school is?

Of course English schools break up later and the children are starting back next week, so I'm hoping when I share my son's Gooey Chocolate Cake it might start a tradition in another home.

Last year we walked into town after school and spent way too long in Waterstones book shop, in the cafe and then looking at books so we didn't have time to make chocolate cake.

We made Malteser Fudge Brownies instead and boy were they yummy, but more importantly they were quick. This year we came home so we have plenty of time for a full sized chocolate creation.


Getting ready for the new school year starts way before the first day of term with all the traipsing around shops buying uniform, a school bag, a pencil case and all that jazz.

Of course there has to be a sharp back to school haircut and this year we braved the hipster barbers Mrs Lovett's.

Just so you know how hipster it is, my son sat on a skateboard to boost him for his haircut and the spray water bottle was a Jack Daniels bottle.

Too cool for school (excuse the pun)!

Anyway the guy spent ages on on his hair, but I was a bit nervous when he took the cut-throat razor to his parting. 
I think he ended up looking pretty sharp (sorry another bad pun)!


The first day of school eventually rolled around and my son was up early for porridge before school and then eager to get there and see all his friends.

He had a great first day back and once we got home he quickly got changed out of his school clothes so we could bake.

I always have some Betty Crocker frosting in the house for last minute baking and the boy picked the chocolate frosting and little chocolate beans to decorate his cake. 
We stuck with our tried and tested cake recipe and off he went. I assisted with the oven and read out the quantities and he did the rest.

I think you will agree he made a marvellous job of the cake?

pin it for later

A family favourite chocolate cake with a touch of coffee to make the chocolate taste richer. Filled and topped with chocolate buttercream, then finished with chocolate buttons. Perfect for a back to school treat. #backtoschool #firstdayofschool #backtoschooltreat #backtoschoolcake #chocolatecake #birthdaycake #bestchocolatecake

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I tried a little piece of the cake that broke off when I was peeling off the greaseproof paper, but that's all I got. 
I wasn't in the mood for cake that evening and the next day he decided to take it into school to share with his class.

I'm sure his teacher was delighted, a very gooey chocolate cake and a class full of children in crisp white shirts.


Back to School Gooey Chocolate Cake


I've not tried to make this cake vegan yet, but I would basically just make flax eggs to substitute for the eggs and use almond milk and dairy-free spread. 
The frosting is already vegan. Actually I must try this some time and share the results with you.

UPDATE: I have now made a vegan version of this cake and it is so, so good and easy to make too. 

Back to School Gooey Chocolate Cake


If you are looking for another vegan chocolatey treat try: 


For more back to school inspiration check out my back-to-school two week lunch plan

Print out the grid, choose from the options, stick it to your fridge and take the stress out of term time. 

Psssst! The plan is great for adults too!


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chocolate cake, gooey chocolate cake, smarties cake, back to school, back to school baking, back to school cake
Yield: 8 - 10
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Back to School Gooey Chocolate Cake

Back to School Gooey Chocolate Cake

A gooey chocolate cake to celebrate the start of a new school year. A fabulous back to school treat.
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 50 Min


  • 225g / 1 cup plain flour
  • 400g / 2 cups caster sugar
  • 80g / 1 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 250ml / 1 cup buttermilk (or 250ml milk with a squeeze of lemon juice mixed in and left for 10 minutes)
  • 120g / 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 200ml / 1 cup + 2 tbsp strong hot coffee


  1. Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan/350/gas mark 4.
  2. Grease two cake tins (18 cm) and line the bottom of each with greaseproof paper.
  3. In a large bowl add the flour, cocoa, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Give it a mix until well combined.
  4. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla and pour into the dry ingredients. Whisk in a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer until smooth, then pour in the hot coffee and mix gently with a spatula, it will seem quite thin, but will work.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the cake tins and bake in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes. A skewer inserted into the cakes should come out clean.
  6. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for a while then tip them onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
  7. Fill and top the cake with homemade or shop-bought chocolate frosting and chocolate beans or Smarties.
  8. Enjoy!



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  1. Goodness, Coop looks like a little man, doesn't he! (And aren't those razors scary? Himself just got one, and I could NOT like watch him go round his throat with that thing. Eek!)

    I have made a cake close to this vegan-ized; I don't always bother with egg substitutes or flax eggs, I just bodge in a bit of vital wheat gluten, and how much depends on the recipe. (It's a LOT of trial & error, as I'm sure you know.) One thing I haven't yet tried is recommended by the Betty Crocker mix folks: mashed bananas or potatoes!? THAT would be worth seeing someone (else) do!

    1. Yes he is getting so grown up. Luckily they only used the razor on his parting and that was scary enough. I was thinking don't sneeze, don't move, not an inch!

      Mashed potatoes, I've never heard of that. It may be worth a go. I find flax eggs fairly reliable.

  2. What a lovely tradition and beautiful cake. Our tradition is to go for cake at a cafe on the last day, but this sounds like a great one for the first!

    1. Ah well that sounds like a great tradition too and much less messy.

  3. This is a very useful cake recipe, for kids vacation, I'm looking forward to make it before next week, thanks

  4. Ooey gooey cake! Yum... I don't think there would be any cake left by the time my son got back home from school. :D

    1. Haha. Well he made it and took it away the next morning so I had little chance :)

  5. Cooper is a doll and he deserves a gorgeous chocolate cake like this. It really does look like the best kind of cake!

  6. I'm ALL about surprising my kids with treats when they come back from school! this cake looks spectacular!

  7. Looks absolutely amazing. Perfect to make all year round :-) x

  8. I rarely make cakes as I always think it's too much fuss, but this sounds easy, and ready in just 45 minutes! This cake looks likes a dream, will definitely try it next time I am in need of a chocolate fix!

    1. Oh well if you are in need of a chocolate fix Monika..........

  9. It doesn't seem long since Cooper had his very first day at school and started this tradition. He is certainly growing up and I love his grown up hair cut.

    1. I know it's all gone really quickly. Too quickly x

  10. I saw the photos of his hair when you posted them that day, it looks so sharp and natty, love it. Of course his cake looks gorgeous, and lucky class getting it on the first day, usually people only do that at the end of term, right, so it's a great treat. Wonder if the all made a mess of their new uniforms!!


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x