Tuesday 20 May 2014

How To Make A Chocolate Cake for Only £1

The anti-poverty campaign Live Below The Line is challenging people to live on £1 a day for 5 days, to highlight the 1.2 billion people who are living in poverty around the world. For those of us who are not brave enough to take up that challenge, Choclette from We Should Cocoa has proposed trying to make a chocolate cake for £1. Sounds easy, right? After all, you can get a lot of supermarket cakes for just a quid - own brand madeira and angel cake for instance. So surely it's possible to make one at home for the same price?

It's actually harder than you might think. I priced up a pretty simple Nigella chocolate loaf cake, and even using the supermarket basics/low value range (luckily Sainsbury's basic eggs have the RSPCA Freedom Food stamp of approval) it came to £2.13 and that was without any icing.

Eggs and butter were two of the most expensive ingredients in the recipe so I decided to try going vegan. I've made quite a few vegan cakes for a friend and some of them taste amazing; I have a chocolate recipe I've used in the past which is very light and moist. I played around with the recipe for a few minutes to bring down the costings, and realised it was cheaper to use melted plain chocolate from the basics range than to use cocoa powder for instance.

This is the recipe that I finally ended up with:

285g plain flour - 10.5p
225g caster sugar - 33p
100g basics plain chocolate, melted - 30p
1 tsp baking powder - 4p
1 cup warm water - free (I decided not to include costings for heating the oven and so on)
80ml vegetable oil - 80ml - 9.5p
1 tsp distilled white vinegar - less than 1p
As that comes to 88p I decided I could afford to make a glaze:
40g basics plain chocolate, melted
2 tbsp boiling water
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease or line a cake tin (I didn't include whatever you want to use for this in the costings for ingredients).
Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl then pour in the water and mix well. Mix in the melted chocolate, oil and vinegar.
Spoon into the loaf tin and cook for 30 minutes. Test with a skewer to make sure it is cooked through.
Allow to cool in the tin then on a baking rack. To make the glaze, mix the melted chocolate with the boiling water and pour over the top of the cake.


This doesn't sound like much, and doesn't look like the prettiest cake in the world, but it did actually taste very nice. I wrapped a few slices up in foil and took it on a picnic.

I'm sending this to We Should Cocoa for the £1 chocolate cake challenge.

I'm also sending this to Family Foodies, hosted by Bangers & Mash and Eat Your Veg, as their theme also ties in with the live below the line challenge and they are asking for recipes that are cheap and cheerful.

 I'm also sending this to Calendar Cakes, hosted by Rachel at Dollybakes. This month she is asking for bank holiday bakes that we made to share with friends or take on a picnic, which is just what I did with this.

Finally I'm sending this cake to Credit Crunch Munch, the frugal blog challenge hosted by Gingey Bites this month and started by Camilla at Fab Food 4 All and Helen at Fuss Free Flavours.


  1. Yummy, if I had to give up all cakes except one then Chocolate Cake would have to be the winner! Thank you for sharing your frugal recipe with Credit Crunch Munch;-)

  2. Great cake Caroline, I've become quite a fan of vegan cakes. They taste a lot nicer than you'd expect. Well done for coming in well under £1 and for quite a large calke too AND glazed. Thanks for joining in with this month's not so easy challenge.

  3. So delicious and so thrifty - its a win win!

  4. Wow - can't believe you made that for under a pound. Great work and a perfect entry for this month's Family Foodies challenge. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. I love that you made a vegan cake and that you had enough budget left for icing! I found it quite difficult to get my costs down.

  6. I went for a no bake 'cake' for my #WeShouldCocoa entry - a salted chocolate peanut butter & jelly torte > http://culinaryadventuresofthecocoanut.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/budget_recipe_caramel_chocolate_peanut_butter_jelly_torte/ Also used the Basics choc - shocking just how cheap it is!


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