Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(930 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



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

  • Without icing
Nutrition info


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  • 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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  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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parulaggarwal's picture
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Amazing recipe and a well explained one! It was my first ever attempt at baking and the recipe made the experience so easy and wornderful. I baked this cake yesterday for my husband's birthday and it turned out to be yummmmm! All my family and friends just loved it and couldn't believe it was baked at home! I just did a little tweaking here and there though....used 100 g dark chocolate and 100 g milk chocolate as I didnt want it to have an overwhelmingly dark choco bitter taste. I also used dessicated coconut dust with choco fruit and nut dust for the decoration. So, all in all - A MUST TRY for all Beginners!

Star baker's picture

Mumm... very nice! I made it for George's 6th birthday cake! The whole family loved it, but it took a LONG time in the oven. It was all eaten before it was off! I Used 175g dark Chocolate and 300ml double cream for the icing, but the same amount of golden caster sugar.

MissAnna's picture

I have made this cake twice for my husband and every time it has been a winner although I bake in two sandwich tins. My sponges rise and do not sink and the ganache is just right. It's an easy recipe and love the darkness of the chocolate!

sks1994's picture
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This has to be hands down the best chocolate cake recipe ever. Made it for my bf's graduation party and it was an absolute hit! The sponge of mine turned out like a dense brownie type texture and was super rich but to be honest that's how we like our cake haha! It's super indulgent and a bit pricey to make but would definitely recommend for special occasions!

thistlepops's picture

This is my go to recipe for special occasions, always works, looks amazing and tastes just as good too, this time I followed kitswright and made white chocolate ganache for a change, filled the centre with ganache and fresh raspberries and topped it with white ganache and fresh raspberries looked and tasted stunning.

hannyboo's picture

Awful recipe! At first the mixture looked amazing! As soon as I took it out the oven it sank right down! Then it was a lovely hot brownie, but within hours it was rock hard! Wouldn't suggest using this recipe!!!

helenzenobia's picture

absolutely adore this recipe. usually use half the amount of coffee as it comes out quite strong otherwise. i've also found that cooking it for less time than stated (about an hour max.) makes it come out beautifully moist and slightly gooey

Cake4.2's picture

Absolutely delicious. I made a couple of changes to the cake recipe and used 160g Lindt milk chocolate and 40g dark chocolate in place of the 200g dark chocolate and removed the coffee.

I also made chocolate butter icing instead of the ganache (which would be great for a child's birthday cake) but will definitely try white chocolate ganache (suggested by kitswright) next time!

kitswright's picture

Love this cake!

Made it yesterday for my boyfriends birthday, it took longer to cook than stated above but I think it's my oven- it wasn't burnt on the outside either so it didn't really matter.

I followed the recipe exactly, apart from using white chocolate for the ganache which tasted AMAZING, you need to try white chocolate ganache! The cake did crack a little on the top (but thats covered anyway), I left it overnight to cool and cut it this morning. It cut quite easily although a piece broke off when assembling back together- it is a very fragile cake.

It tastes and is texturally like a brownie, which is delicious as I'm not much of a cake lover myself. It's a must bake, try it out.

supergoldenbakes's picture

This is a fantastic cake but the recipe definitely needs some tweaking... I have now made this 6 times recently (once for a wedding reception) and I think I have nailed it. I have used a very easy whipped Nutella filling instead of what the recipe suggests and a fantastic fudgy chocolate glaze. Recipe (and video) here http://www.supergoldenbakes.com/2015/06/ultimate-chocolate-and-nutella-c...

ConnorD29's picture

great cake very moist, the gauche is very runny, leave to chill for a least and hour or add more chocolate to thicken.

Paulhi's picture

Not sure what happened. I followed the recipe to the letter. It took over 2 hrs on 140 fan and was still gooey. When the skewer came out clean I turned it out and it was difficult to handle. I tried a taste and binned it. Won't try this again.

Sjlynch's picture

The best chocolate cake recipe I have ever tried - the ingredients are more expensive than your typical sponge but are definitely worth it! I have made this a few times and prefer to use two sandwich tins rather than cutting as it is so moist that it falls apart. Also, I whip the ganache when it has cooled a bit rather than pour as this holds the cake in place much better, then I cover it in fondant for designs etc. I have also made this and covered it in peanut butter and Nutella buttercream with some ganache poured on top and running down the sides - it was heaven!! Definitely my go to recipe for chocolate cake orders at the min!!

tpsk's picture
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The long baking time is completely worth it for this cake. Amazing moistness which remained in the cake for 4 days! I left mine in the oven for a little longer so the top layer would get a bit more crunchy and that remained after 4 days as well!
I didn't put the ganache all over the cake, only the middle and around the side because personally I found it a bit too much and that was the perfect amount instead.
I also made mini cakes (just a bit bigger than muffins) which only took half an hour to make and the taste was exactly the same!

somethinggood's picture
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what!! i love making cakes and they almost always come out amazing! i made this for my little brothers birthday and it was terrible!! it was rather sloppy when i put it in the pan and when i took it out the aga it was even more sloppy. i baked it for longer then they said in the recipe but in the end the cake was so moist and was falling apart. AND finally to crown it all - the ganache was the runniest i have ever seen!! any way i had to go out an buy a shop cake. Never again!!! i will stick to recipes that work for me!

G.e.a.jackson's picture
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Cooked this for my other half's birthday and it went down incredibly! It is definitely more brownie consistency than what you might typically expect from a cake but I thought it was delicious.
I cooked this in 2 cake tins and used 1/3 milk and 2/3 70% dark choc. I also added a layer of salted caramel sauce because I know my other half has a sweet tooth!
Will definitely be making this again :)

Essexhels's picture
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I made this last week and took it to work where it was described as 'immense'! I cut it into two because it was a bit too delicate for three and I put some raspberry jam in along with the ganache. I made the ganache out of milk chocolate and added some rum which really added something. Decorated with chocolate stars and sprinkles. Gave it 4 because it looked a lot more home made than the one in the picture :)

gilllegge's picture
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Made this yesterday for my daughters 7th birthday. Made the cake exactly as per the recipe, the only difference was I used milk chocolate for the icing as it was for children. Managed to cut into three layers although the bottom layer (originally the top) did crumble but held together once iced. And the result - blooming lovely! Will deffinately be making this again. Decorated with flake, maltesers and large chocolate stars. Looked fab. My other daughter tried warming a slice In the microwave today for tea and it was lush. The icing became a sauce, yum yum.

erichvon's picture

Talk about a useless recipe! DO NOT FOLLOW THE GANACHE INSTRUCTIONS! I followed the recipe exactly due to the fact I'd not used it before. There was no mention of letting the ganache cool down or whipping it to thicken it so I followed the instructions and poured it on. Needless to say it just soaked into the cake, went everywhere and then the cake (which looked good) disintegrated. Fortunately my girlfriend, who I was baking the cake for as a birthday cake saw the funny side. I however did not see anything remotely amusing considering how much it had cost for ingredients or my time. Looking up ganache on here tells you how to make it and use it unlike this recipe. Would I use it again? No chance!