Now, I hold my hands up and admit I am a bit of a chocolate fiend. Given a dessert menu, my eyes are automatically drawn to the word “chocolate”, and I am a firm believer that chocolate maketh man more productive!

This particular recipe is one I have used for years, primarily because it’s quick and easy – no need to get out the mixer or soften the butter. I have often rustled it up on my coffee break while working from home.

The recipe uses oil and milk and always comes out lovely, moist and spongy. I love nuts, so I’ve cheated a wee bit and used a bar of chocolate with hazelnuts for the icing along with a couple of tablespoons of hazelnut chocolate spread.

It’s not a bad idea to make this as cupcakes if you want to stick to a small portion size and periodically grab one throughout the working week – just give it 30 seconds in the microwave and it will come out warm and scrumptious.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes


  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150ml canola/sunflower oil
  • 150ml semi-skimmed/whole milk
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g chocolate bar with nuts
  • 2–3 tbsp hazelnut chocolate spread, for icing (more can be used in between the layers too)
  • walnuts or other nuts, to decorate


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line two 18cm sandwich tins or one deep 18cm baking tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a another bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add the oil, milk and golden syrup and mix well.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the oil and milk mixture, mixing well until smooth.
  5. Pour into the cake tin(s) and bake for about 30–35 minutes, until risen and spongy to the touch.
  6. Once the cake is cool, melt the chocolate bar in a bowl placed over hot water – be careful not to get any water into your chocolate or it will dry up and curdle.
  7. Add 2–3 tbsp hazelnut chocolate spread and mix thoroughly (this will be lumpy because of the nuts).
  8. Evenly frost the cake with the hazelnut mixture. If you’re making a sandwich cake, use the hazelnut spread between the two layers. Decorate with nuts on top and/or on the sides.

Lumpy hazelnut chocolate cupcakes

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