Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(895 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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ecstow's picture
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I was a bit nervous about this recipe when I saw the very negative comments because I'm not a very competent baker but I read the recipe and the advice in the comments carefully and the cake turned out really well - truely delicious. I have made it twice - for a Macmillan coffee morning and for my daughter's birthday and both times have had very positive feedback: it was a huge hit with my daughter's flatmates. These are the amendments I made to the recipe:
1. I made the cake with 50:50 milk chocolate and 70% dark chocolate because I thought 100% dark chocolate might be too intense.

2. I added 1 tsp instead of 1tbsp instant coffee because I thought the coffee flavour might be too strong.

3. I didn't have any buttermilk so made buttermilk substitute by adding 5ml lemon juice to 70ml milk

4. I didn't want to risk cutting the cake horizontally into layers so I divided the mixture over two tins and baked for half the time. I tested them after 45 minutes in the oven and they were fine.

5. It is REALLY important to let the cake (s) cool completely before you try to take the grease proof lining off or take them out of the baking tin(s). They are really crumbly when just out of the oven. Best to make the cake the day before you want to serve it.

6. You need to put the ganache in the fridge for 2-3 hours to thicken before coating the cake, otherwise it will be too runny and won't adhere.

I would definitely make this cake again - it's yummy.

aoibhingormley's picture
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Really delicious - dense and fudgy as other people have said. Takes quite a long while to cook (especially when your other half turns oven off half way through!!!).

Sue In Belize's picture
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I was a bit nervous about this recipe as there seem to be a wide range of opinions about it. I am a fair cook, but not regular cake maker. However, I "made" it in my head, and it seemed it would work, so I went ahead. The only change I made to the cake was to use all plain flour and more baking soda - that's because we can't buy self raising flour here, and I cut the sugar down to 300g of plain white as I can't get the fancy stuff. Also cut the coffee to a teaspoon. I used Belizean organic dark chocolate, my own free range eggs, and a knob of butter in the gannache, as well as a Tbsp of rum. I cut it in two, and sandwiched it with home made mango jam.

I cooked it for an hour and 30 minutes, in a loose bottomed tin lined with baking parchment. The cake rose a little and cracked slightly, but that was no bother as it a) made it look home made and b) was covered with ganache anyway. I left it overnight to cool, and cut it in half with a very sharpknife, it was easy to do.

The ganache, I made and left to cool and them beat it to thicken it. It went on without a single drip, although it wasn't a smooth glossy finish. I decorated the cake with tropical flowers from the garden - hibiscus, yesterday today and tomorrow and the like. It looked stunning, wish \i had taken a pic!

I believe the problems people have had with this cake are that it is very fudgy, not really a light sponge at all. Also, if you make it with good dark chocolate, it is very intense - which is just what I like. I guess people who think Herschey is chocolate might be expecting a different taste. I can imagine making this with a good dairy milk chocolate, in which case I might cut back on the sugar still more.

Everyone adored it, and I would absolutely make it again, but, if you want something for kids, or something light, it might be a bit too much chocolate.

cutie32's picture
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I am not a chocolate person so I can't rate it myself but the people I made it for loved it.

I used 72% dark chocolate. I think the cake on it's own without the icing taste good and the icing is not necessary BUT my issue with the cake is that the top rose above the edges and cracked. I pressed it back down before icing it. So I wouldn't be able to serve it without icing it.

I also had issues cutting the cake in half. The top was very fragile and part of it broke off but I was able to put it back together before icing it and the icing made it less noticeable. She should have given us tips on how to cut the cake in two without the top falling apart. If I had cut it in 3 as she suggested it would have been a mess. Then again I used a slightly bigger tin.

IFYOU ARE USING A SILICONE TIN CHECK THE CAKE AFTER 50 MINS. I am lucky in that I checked the cake after 1 hour. I think if it had cooked anymore it would have burned. So be careful with silicone tins.

I ADDED 1 TBS EXTRA OF SUGAR TO THE ICING CUZ I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE TOO BITTER. SO TASTE THE ICING BEFORE YOU USE IT.

And YES you should put the cake in the fridge after you ice it for the icing to set.
I live in a tropical country so this is a MUST. But I think you should anyway.

Serve it with vanilla icecream. That way if people are not dark chocolate lovers they can make it more sweet.

Next time I will try to make it without the icing. I might have to take it out the oven earlier to prevent the top cracking

Flaboon's picture
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Quite simply the worst cake I have made or tasted, I should have read the reviews before I started. In a nutshell, the cake took 40 minutes more than the 1hr 30 before the skewer poked clean, impossible to cut in to 2 let alone 3, the ganache is bitter and so is the cake, I made it look pretty by sticking cigarillos around the edge and filling the top with raspberries but the cake was a stodgy mess, those who ate it referred to as "dense". Half the cake was left and that was only after I forced a couple of friends to take some home, I am using the left over half for a rather attractive door stop!

Wendy Endersby's picture

This recipe needs significant changes if you are going to get a successful result - I suggest reducing the coffee to a teaspoon and reducing the sugar to half as much - ensure you use good quality chocolate and divide into 2-3 tins so it cooks through properly. It is more like a brownie mix so needs to have well lined tins so it can be removed once cooled - however does taste good.

leannebassett's picture

I agree Wendy. I haven't reduced the sugar as yet - but I do increase both flour to 100g and I HAD to reduce coffee (in my case to half a teaspoon) as the first time it was overwhelming.
I divide the mixture veteran three tins and cook for 40 minutes. To my friends and family I call it my 'chocolate brownie cake' as it is very much like a brownie when finished.

I use milk chocolate or a mix of dark and light depending on what is in the cupboard- all dark was again overwhelming.
Delicious cake- my husband loves it and he not into chocolate.

LaurenJCh94's picture

I made this for my birthday. Came out perfect!! A very very nice chocolate moist cake. The ganache makes it. Definately depends what chocolate you buy as this will effect the overall taste.

elizabeth1965's picture

Baked in 2 tins and sandwiched together with a jar of Tesco salted caramel Sauce. Topped with melted chocolate. Very well received and many requests for recipe. I'm not famed for my baking so v pleased with this cake

cheekymama's picture

Terrible recipe! Avoid avoid avoid! Unless you like cakes that sink and fall apart!

cheekymama's picture

This is the worst cake recipe I have ever followed and I'm a good baker! I had to make this cake twice and both times the cake sank miserably in the middle, doesn't even taste very nice and the texture is terrible! The ganache is the saving grace as it's divine. I will never make this again!

L.attia's picture
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Fabulous moist cake which I have made on many occasions. Delicious.

mother_ship's picture
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I used 3 tins so I didn't have to worry about slicing it in 3 or that it was cooked through which made everything much simpler, and it was very well received at the work do I made it for.

abz1604's picture

is this cake good to bake for a party?????

Lucie10's picture
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Delish!
Made with my 14 year old and wasn't that hard, just lots of different things to put in.
Edges were a bit cracked but didn't turn out of tin for about half hour after taking out of the oven and once it was cooler, wrapped it snugly in baking parchment, then foil, and by the next day it had stuck back together.

Changed the recipe a little - we only used a teaspoon of coffee in the 125ml of water, used 400g of golden caster sugar (none of the other sugar in) and used 1 tbsp milk with 4 tbsp natural yogurt.

Didn't bother with the ganache topping - used melted chocolate instead with pieces of curly wurly and crushed oreos.

This cake was moist and rich but not sickly and a great celebration recipe. Will definitely make again.

jithanishant's picture
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The best chocolate cake I have made so far. I am so happy that I have found the most fool proof recipe for a classic chocolate cake for any occasion.
As has already been told in the previous comments, I reduced the amount of sugar to a total of 320 grams. I did not have light muscovado sugar or golden caster sugar. Instead I used normal granulated sugar and caster sugar. It was a really really yummy cake. Doubled the quantity and made two batches. It went down like a storm. Made it for a lunch party at a friend's place and it was a super hit.

katiabh's picture
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This cake is so moist and very crumbly, and very rich. The top fell apart when I cut it in half. So next time I will try baking in 2 tins. It was like a brownie cake.

katytobin's picture
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I made this cake with a white chocolate creme fraiche icing to give a lovely contrast between the fudgy moist cake and lighter creamy icing. Great recipe if you want an impressive cake for a special occasion.

Mojopearl's picture

I have cooked this cake more than 5 times and it has always been wonderful. I not a particularly experienced cake/sweet chef but it is working for me every time. I do however always use very good quality chocolate.

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