"Ovaltine" Chocolate Cake


Even though Nigeria was (still is) one of the highest producers of cocoa, it was quite difficult back then (when I was growing up) to find cocoa powder or real chocolate bars to cook with, so we often had to improvise.

My father owned a bakery and I was always able to experiment with different buns, bread, rolls and cake recipes. I still remember clearly when my dad was developing the recipe for making brown bread to supply the popular supermarket chain called Leventis back then. Inspired by this, I found ways to make chocolate cake without using real chocolate. Instead I used the popular hot chocolate drink powder; Ovaltine!!!!


   It worked! I achieved the chocolatey taste and flavour in the cake. Ovaltine also imparted some chocolate colour to the cake and this met mine and my siblings expectations of a chocolate cake just fine! It was fun to make back then and still is now.


I am sharing this recipe to inspire those who wish to bake a chocolate cake but do not have easy access to real chocolate bars (for cooking) or cocoa powder. I encourage you to explore whatever ingredients you can access and make creative improvisation. Enjoy!





What you need
  • 175g plain flour (sift to aerate) 
  • 4 tablespoons of ovaltine chocolate powder 
  • 120g of your favourite plain chocolate bar 
  • 100g of caster sugar 
  • 175g of unsalted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (you may use any flavouring of your choice)
  • 2-5 table spoons of fresh milk or evaporated milk 
  • 3 medium size eggs 
  • Chocolate buttons & icing sugar for decorating




Ovaltine Chocolate Cake
What to do

  1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 
  2. Mix butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until fluffy. 
  3. Whisk the eggs and add to the mixture. Mix well. 
  4. Mix the baking powder and the ovaltine powder into the flour and gently add to the mixture. 
  5. Melt the chocolate bar. (You can use the microwave on low power or over a bowl of boiling water.) 
  6. Fold the chocolate into the batter and mix batter well with a wooden spoon. 
  7. Add the milk to adjust the consistency of the batter. The batter should run easily when lifted with a spoon. 
  8. Transfer batter into a baking pan and bake for 25 minutes until cake is cooked through. Use the toothpick test to check when the cake is cooked. The tooth pick must come out clean when pierced into the cake. Allow the cake to cool.
  9. Decorate cake with some chocolate buttons and a dusting of icing sugar. Alternatively, you can use other decorative materials that you prefer.
  10. Serve cake with tea or coffee or as a dessert with some cold fresh milk.


Served with some fresh milk

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