Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(970 ratings)

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


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


  • kcal541
  • fat35g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs55g
  • sugars40g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.51g
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  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids
  • 200g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium egg
  • 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


  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.

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Comments (1453)

nadia.andres's picture

This is cake is the favorive one for my family. I have been cooking it since 2012 every birthday of my doughter. It is not the easiest cake I have ever made, but It has a wonderful taste.Cake has a lot of cacao that I most like. I have just cooked it yesterday. And I had a big prolem with my cake. I should cuted the cake in tree pieces, but it wasn't possible because my knife clinged to cake. So I have cuted just in two pieces. And it cracked a little. I was stressed. After all I have done the birthday cake. But it was the last time I cooked it :)
Any way I know it is the unique cake that I really like to eat, and everybody enjoy this dessert :)

hpugsley's picture

Lovely cake, I increased the ingredients by half and make a spider cake for Halloween. Used the buttercream from the hedgehog cake, also on this site. Kids and adults all loved it.

gashlee's picture

This recipe is wonderful. I was really skeptical as it breaks a lot of my baking rules but it works really well, i didnt add the coffee as i dont like it and i couldnt find buttermilk and i couldnt believe i was adding water to melting chocolate but it worked and was really really nice, although didnt rise very well, need to sub plain flour for self raising!

minionj's picture

can you please help me by answering that for how long do I need to preheat the oven at 140C/convection????

ToyinMarie's picture

I had to register because I felt it was important that I comment to recommend this amazing cake! Wow!
It has so much depth and richness the coffee tantalises your taste buds. I was afraid that it would make it bitter but no, it took it to another level and that is something coming from a non coffee lover! I despise the drink, just dont get it! Anyway I digress!
Instead of using all dark chocolate as suggested I split with milk chocolate that contains at least 35% cocoa solids, as didn't want it to be too bitter! Also added butter and a tsp of vanilla extract to the ganache! (Might substitute the sugar with golden syrup next time hmmmm....)
Due to baking at a low temperature the texture you get is somewhat like a pudding especially after you split and spread some of the ganache to the cake and then sandwich, I couldn't believe the awesomeness in my mouth, moist gooey delicious chocolate fudge pudding type cake! I tell you, there were fire works going off in my mouth, brain and body! Great Endorphins were most certainly released! Yumyummyummyummmmm!!!!
I made chocolate twirls and grated bits, from making a white,dark and milk chocolate marble effect chocolate look, which gives a lovely effect and then dusted the cake with some coco and cinnamon (I just love cinnamon, can't get enough of the stuff)
The instructions were clear and precise and I will be making this cake again using milk chocolate only to see what the outcome is might add a little rum to the ganache too....hehehehe there goes my diet! Lol
Whatever the case is I strongly recommend this cake just bear in mind - good quality chocolate is important and also know your taste buds dark chocolate isn't for everyone and so modify a little to suit your palette!

parulaggarwal's picture

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!

coolalac's picture

This is a favourite at home and my husband LOVEs it! I sometimes put some milk chocolate instead of dark to turn the intensity down a little

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!

Neet75's picture

Hi Anna, I was planning on baking in two sandwich tins too. Did you reduce the cooking time? Thanks!

sks1994's picture

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!!!

trinaz's picture

Dear hannyboo..

I had the exactly the same problem.. We must be related.
I am never making again!


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.


Questions (86)

goodfoodteam's picture

We wouldn't advise using honey instead, the recipe has not been tested with this, for best results stick to the original recipe.

caron12's picture

What quantities do I need for a 10" round cake tin please.

goodfoodteam's picture

As we haven't tested this cake in different sizes we can only give you a rough estimate. For a 10 inch cake you're best to increase the quantities by 1/3rd again. Thanks.

Ozzy_and_Elvis's picture

hi, can I use 3 sandwich tins instead as I don't have a cake tin? thanks! ;)

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, yes you can use three sandwich tins, although you may have to trim the tops of two of the cakes as they will rise and dome so the cakes won't be flat for sandwiching together. Also the cooking time will be much shorter, check after 30 minutes with a skewer, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes at a time until it comes out clean, thanks.

mailynmarilyn's picture

Can you send me the ingredients for augela Nilsen ultimate chocolate cake for a 10" round cake tin please.

L Hill's picture

I'm thinking of making this in advance for the middle tier of a wedding cake. Will it dry out if I freeze it for up to 4 weeks?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, the cake will not dry out as long as you wrap it well in parchment then cling film before freezing.

davideevee's picture

I don't have buttermilk, will semi-skimmed do instead?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. Use semi-skimmed milk mixed with white wine vinegar or lemon juice, allow 1 tbsp per 250ml of milk and stir then leave to stand for 10 minutes, thanks.

Mogsy's picture

I've made this cake many times and everyone loves it! Can it be frozen?

BlondieSuze's picture

Hi! I have made this cake many times and it is always a winner! However, it's my Dad's 70th birthday this weekend and I'm looking to make a two tier version using both a 7 inch and 10 inch cake tin (sandwich tins). How long do you think I would need to bake each cake for (bearing in mind they will be baked in sandwich tins)? I'm thinking 45 mins or so for the 10 inch and 25 mins for the 7 inch... Do you agree? Thanks!

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. Yes, those timings sound like a good starting point, just remember to check with a skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is ready, if not return to the oven and cook for a further 5 minutes before checking again.

Looney76's picture

Hi, just 2 quick questions to people who have made this cake. Can you taste the coffee? And would it matter if I left that ingredient out? Thanks x

missburns's picture

People generally say you can't taste the coffee (it's meant to bring out the flavour of the chocolate more effectively) but I leave it out anyway as I try and avoid caffeine (except in chocolate of course) and this cake is perfect without the coffee. I still add the water, minus 35ml as I add Disaronno liqueur to give it a nice hint of almond. Works very well!

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in toucn. In this recipe you can't actually taste the coffee - it's added to enrich the chocolatey flavour, but leave it out if you prefer. Best wishes, BBC Good Food team

Looney76's picture

That's great, thanks. I'll do it as per the recipe and adapt it next time if I need to :)

alisonscox's picture

I would love to try these as cupcakes with a Baileys buttercream...does anyone know how long I should bake them for? x

missburns's picture

They need approx 50 mins if baking at 140c. The Bailey's buttercream sounds lovely! Disaronno liqueur works well with this recipe too. I put it in with the water, chocolate and butter instead of coffee.


Tips (13)

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