Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(865 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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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.

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.

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.

chris220883's picture

This is an amazing recipe, really easy to make as well. Couple of things: 1) make it in 2 tins and reduce the cooking time to about 50mins. This is much easier than trying to cut it. 2) with the ganache, make it as described but leave it to cool as it firms up nicely and makes it easy to work with. I think I left mine in the fridge for about 2 hours, kept stirring it though. Also, instead of chocolate shavings on the top raspberries work exceedingly well and help cut through the richness of the cake. To serve, I liked mine cold out of the fridge but my mum and sis liked theirs walked up in the microwave. Either way it's amazing!

hanah.hd's picture
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I tried this recipe for my father's birthday and it turned out really well. It was my first time to bake a cake and I have no regrets. The only thing that I found difficult was slicing the cake into three portions. I thought that the height was not high enough to make into three layers. I ended up slicing it in two.

sroberts134's picture
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Completely have to disagree with the comment below, I've made this twice now and it comes out wonderfully! like a couple of others have commented I've divided the mixture into two tins rather than cut it into three as the recipe suggests. I also used apricot jam in addition to the ganache to add a soft citrus touch.

sherlockanonymous's picture
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I attempted to use this recipe so I could make my best friend a birthday cake for her 16th. I did not have self raising flour so I just used plain flour and did not alter any of the other ingredients. However when it had been in the oven for approximately an hour and i went to check on it, it had bubbled over the cake tin I used even though it was bigger than it specified. I can't imagine would would of happened had I used self raising flour. And in the end I had to disappoint one of my oldest friends because of a recipe gone wrong. There was clearly something wrong with the recipe but I do not care what it is nor do I care to find out, as next time I will be finding a different recipe.

megaz123's picture

You can't really blame the recipe when you replace self raising flour with plain flour. It sounds like it was your silly fault not following the ingredients. Can't be a very good friend if you couldn't be bothered to pop to the shops to buy self raising flour. This is not what this website is about.

danimpaul's picture

It sunk and tastes too much like coffee, not impressed

beetaylor's picture

I have made this cake A LOT. Mainly because once I made it for work, I was never allowed to make another cake again. That said, if you don't get the ganache right it's too runny. I have found reducing the amount of cream works, as well as putting it in the fridge before icing. It's hard not to break the cake though, so I've never fully achieve a split level unless baking it in two seperate trays.

missburns's picture
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If you whisk the mixture once cooled that will get some air into it and you'll find it won't be as runny. I would still leave it in the fridge overnight though.

Anitayakkundi's picture

Love this recipe! I was very vary of making a chocolate cake as they cab be dry if you don't get it right. With this recipe I was able to get the perfect moist rich chocolate cake that my whole family enjoyed. This is now added to my favourites. I hope it works as well each time.

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