Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(873 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 30 mins - 40 mins Cook: 1 hr - 1 hr, 30 mins Plus baking and cooling time

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Cuts into 14 slices

Indulge yourself with Angela Nilsen's heavenly moist and fudgy chocolate cake - perfect for celebrations - birthdays, weddings, christenings - any excuse!

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Without icing
Nutrition info

Nutrition

kcalories
541
protein
6g
carbs
55g
fat
35g
saturates
20g
fibre
2g
sugar
40g
salt
0.51g

Ingredients

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids
  • 200g butter
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk (5 tbsp)
  • grated chocolate or curls, to decorate

For the ganache

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, as above
  • 284ml carton double cream (pouring type)
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar

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Method

  1. Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk.
  3. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don’t worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2004

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Comments

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Sarah198700's picture

This is possibly the worst thing I have ever baked. I spent a fortune on top quality (as suggested) ingredients, followed the instructions and measurements precisely. I was left with a soggy mess in about several pieces. I consider myself to be a good baker and my cakes are usually of very good standard. Don't waste your time or money making this.

morganlefae's picture
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Have tried loads of choc cake recipes with success but this is THE one - everyone says so! Using butter rather than oil, as in other recipes, makes for better flavour. The cake was moist yet crumbly, delicate yet full of flavour. Somewhere between a fudge cake and traditional victoria sponge. Great texture and great flavour. Could make a delicious black forest. In fact I doubled my recipe below, put into 4 tins and then (having cut holes in 3 layers, sandwiched with ganache, filled with sweets, placed last layer on top) made into pinata cake.
Having read other comments, here are my amendments.
Fan 140 C (Neff)
Butter and line two 8" sandwich tins.
200g butter
200g choc (Sains basic half dark, half milk)
Half tbsp instant coffee
125ml water
85g sr flour
85g plain flour
Quarter teasp bicarb
125g light muscovado sug
125g golden caster sug
25g cocoa
3 med eggs
5 tbsp buttermilk
Divide between tins. Bake 50 mins. If using ganache, definitely need to cool in fridge before whisking.

fattybum34's picture

I baked this cake for a celebration. It was fab!! Takes a little time but worth it.
The day after it's even better!

sputnicki63's picture
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I cooked this for a birthday and it turned out really well. I'd recommend the recipe to anyone. As others have mentioned it does take a lot of time, particularly post-baking. Have patience.

I forgot to add sugar to the ganache but the cake tasted just fine. Then again, I prefer bitter chocolate to sweet.

Saving this recipe for birthdays to come.

laonie's picture
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This is a brilliant, café-quality cake. As others have said, it’s not one to make if you’re in a rush. It needs to cool completely before you cut the layers and the ganache needs at least 2-3 hours to set after that. I baked mine the night before I needed it. The next morning I sliced a very thin layer off the top to make it perfectly even (a good trick is to then invert the cake so the bottom becomes the top) then I sliced it in half (thirds would have been fiddly and it wasn’t really necessary) filled it with a layer of homemade fine-cut strawberry jam and glazed it with the ganache. The result was a picture-perfect, glossy chocolate torte that sliced beautifully. The interior was dense and moist without being heavy and the fresh, tangy jam perfectly offset the richness of the ganache. I only used 100g of muscovado sugar and I used half milk/half 70% chocolate, both for the cake and the glaze. Sensational! This a keeper for sure.

I’d give the recipe 5 stars but the link won’t work for some reason.

redlipstick's picture
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This cake is absolutely delicious and everyone loved it. The most important thing I learned is to LET IT GO COLD. I was pressed for time so cut it while it was still slightly warm in the middle, which unfortunately meant the edges fell off while transferring the layers. Luckily I was able to put these back on and once the ganache was all over it, you couldn't tell. Next time I will make this the day before the event so I can take my time.

anita_l's picture
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Fantastic ever chocolate cake recipe!!!! I have to agree it is fragile when cut into, but it was well worth the effort! Highly recommend this recipe for chocolate lovers

jasdev's picture
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Made this for a colleague's birthday - it got great feedback and people were very impressed with the appearance. Also made a practice cake beforehand, as this was my first ever attempt at baking cake, and my family couldn't believe it wasn't store-bought!
Easy to make, cheap, tasty and crowd-pleasing.
P.S. Very grateful for the tip below about cutting it into half rather than thirds, as it's not tall enough.

ncaffrey's picture

Absolutely fabulous recipe - used this for my daughters first birthday cake and it was divine....our friends agreed that it was nicest chocolate cake they had ever eaten! Altered the recipe after reading others comments - used half dark, half milk in both the cake mix and ganache, added 100g of plain / self raising flour. Also reduced the sugar to 150g of each. Finally with the ganache - used just 250g of cream and as others suggested left it for several hours in the fridge before pouring it on the cake - perfect and looked fantastic. I had to use a 23cm diameter tin so had a slightly flatter cake - so just cut in two rather than three as suggested.

CharlCharl's picture

I love this recipe! It's so easy, I followed it exactly, except the baking time. Mine was ready after 40 minutes at 150 and also cutting a layer in half? Nope with the mixture I managed to get 3 tins out of it and just spread cherry jam on one of the layers to sweeten the dark chocolate. It's now my favourite to make. I kept it for 5 days and the last piece was as moist as the first.

suesimpsonmojacar's picture

The best chocolate cake ever. I used 55% milk chocolate as I thought it might be too intense for the children with dark chocolate. It went down extremely well at Grandpa's party last week and I have just made another for a friend on his return from hospital. Very easy recipe best made the day before needed as I find the ganache needs plenty of time to chill in the fridge. Cooked in 1 tin it only needed 75 minutes at 150 in my oven. I used Greek yogurt instead of butter milk and Demerara and white caster sugar as they were to hand.

MangoCake's picture
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A very chocolatey and tasty cake! Made half of it in one 22 cm round tin without icing.. it took around an hour to bake and resulted in a very flat cake which tasted best after 2 days. I used 45% cocoa chocolate, normal caster sugar and light brown sugar.

SuzieZ13's picture
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This is the best ever chocolate cake recipe- I'm not allowed to make any other!
Can anyone advise how many days in advance they've made it? Will it survive 4 days and still be okay before icing?
I've left cupcakes made of this recipe for about a week and they've been fine, but not tried to leave a cake.

laonie's picture
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If you wanted to make it well in advance I'm pretty sure this cake, whole and without the ganache, of course, would freeze really well. I'd just take it out the day before I wanted it and prep it a few hours before serving.

Brulay's picture

I am American. May you change the cups, please. It sound wonderful and I hope I can make it for a friend birthday.

laonie's picture
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Americans insist on putting 'sticks' of butter in their recipes even though no one else in the world uses them so why should we change ours? :) Seriously though, weight is universal so you should be fine but if you don't have kitchen scales there are plenty of US conversion tables out there. It's well worth it because this recipe is gorgeous. Good luck!

mrsrc5's picture

This a wonderful cake I have made it many times for my children! The trick is DON'T RUSH IT! Make the cake the day before so it has time to cool and cut into two once cold. Pour the ganache over it at least 2 hours before you want to eat it - pour whilst cake is on an old plate and move to a serving plate after the ganache has cooled and set slightly, as it will run off onto plate - then top with grated chocolate (a mixture of dark, milk and white looks stunning) Like a lot of people I can't bring myself to add 400g of sugar so I half it and serve with cream! Best chocolate cake ever!

pollydar's picture

Please help me. My cakes always bake much more quickly than the recipe states. This one included. If I leave it in longer than 30 it burns. Also it doesn't rise. I follow the recipe exactly. Could it be my oven, my gas supply, or the tin I bake it in? Any advice would be gratefully received.

megaz123's picture

Are you at altitude or sea level this can adjust the cooking time a lot. Also humidity is a factor.

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