As Old Speckled Hen’s Hunt for a Hen Travelling Bar arrives in its final secret location in London on the 4th April,  we introduce this adults only chocolate cake for those who can’t find it.

See the end of the recipe for details!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Total Time: 40-45 minutes  


  • 175g self-raising flour
  • ¼ level tsp baking powder
  •  1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 275g dark brown soft sugar
  •  110g spreadable butter
  •  2 large eggs, beaten
  • 50g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 200ml Old Speckled Hen
  • For the Icing:
  • 200g butter, soften
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp Old Speckled Hen
  • 50g dark chocolate, melted
  • Cocoa powder or grated chocolate to dust


Preheat the oven 180°C, fan oven 160°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of 2 x 22cm round cake-tins, with non-stick baking parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a freestanding mixer.

Add all the other ingredients, except the Old Speckled Hen. Either using an electric hand whisk or the freestanding mixer combine all the ingredients for about one minute until you have a smooth creamy consistency. Add the Old Speckled Hen a little at a time until thoroughly combined.

Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and bake for about 30–35 minutes. The cakes are cooked when pressed lightly with your little finger and the center springs back.

Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling further on a cooling rack.

To make the icing: melt the chocolate in the microwave – 2-3 minutes on medium should do it – or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.

Beat the softened butter, gradually adding the icing sugar a spoonful at a time. Once all the icing sugar has been added, whisk the icing for about 5 minutes on a high speed with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the Old Speckled Hen and mix thoroughly. Add the melted chocolate and beat until everything is glossy and smooth. Spread or pipe half the icing onto the bottom layer, top with the other cake, spreading the remaining icing on top. 


Hunt for a Hen

Old Speckled Hen will be hiding its Hunt for a Hen Travelling Bar in its final secret location in London on the 4th April, rewarding those who find it with a free ale. Anyone who’s up for the’aleventure’ should follow @SpeckledHenry on Twitter and keep an eye out for his brew-clues posted with the #huntforahen hashtag. Explorers can also win prizes from the chance to win Free Beer for a Year to £1,000 in cash, as well as thousands of other exciting goodies…