Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(885 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

Additional info

  • Without icing
Nutrition info




  • 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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Comments, questions and tips

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JoSigal's picture

I have made this recipe 4 times now. Love it. Take your time and finish the day before so the ganache has set.

caroline7881's picture
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I made this cake to take as the dessert for a dinner party I was going to. As my husband doesn't like coffee I substituted the coffee with damson gin and also added some raspberry coulis. It was gorgeous and everybody loved it. The perfect dinner party dessert as it can be made in advance and everybody loves it and it's much more special than an ordinary chocolate cake. Always use good quality chocolate.

lesley2's picture

Hi I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, do you think I could use milk chocolate?

missburns's picture
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I use Cadbury's milk chocolate for this recipe and it works really well.

koomalesh's picture
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Been making this cake for 9 years now and it never ever fails me. It's rich and gooey and just the best to make at home! You do not need to be great at baking to do this! I love it even more when I put some in the fridge and consume it after a day or two, chilled.

helenthom's picture
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Best. Chocolate. Cake. EVER!
Always turns out moist and gooey and fudgey.
I've made this for my sons birthday cake for the last few years and he LOVES it.
Never made the ganache though as I always go for elaborate fondant icing designs as decoration.

Bake it, and you'll NOT be disappointed.

myasmummy's picture
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The BEST choc cake EVER - I have now made this cake several times and every one who tries it loves it - However i have NOT attempted to cut it into 3 but I halve ingredients into 2 cake tins. ALSO a TIP if u want it more "cakey" I got cocky thinking i could make it from memory & put in 200G of each plain & raising flour ( same as the sugar) instead of 85g of each - it turned out perfectly! just slightly less of a fudgy texture - try it you will suddenly become very popular!!

maneesha005's picture
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Fantastic easy recipe . Absolutely loved it . First time dare to prepare the chocolate cake and it turned out fantastic . Became fan of u bbc food .
need some more help . could you please advise what should i be using for egg replacement as i want to make once more without eggs .

HannahD1989's picture

Absolutely love this recipe! The cake is lovely and moist. I use this recipe for cupcakes too as I find most other chocolate cupcake recipes are dry. I'm making more this weekend, swapping the plain chocolate for 70% cocoa in a chocolate orange flavour. Will also add orange zest to the cake. Always fancied a chocolate orange cake but other recipes haven't worked... fingers crossed this one will!

anita454's picture

Hi Hannah! Did your modifications with orange zest, etc work?

Cookie7777's picture

I have only been baking for about a year but I found this cake quite easy to make, I added a third more to all the weights and made a double cake for a colleagues birthday in the office and a single one for home - three cakes in total. They turned out really well, all rose, not a great deal like other cakes do but enough and none dipped in the middle. left them all in the oven for 1.5 hours, even after all that time the bottom were quite very moist and delicate. For the ganache I added another 100g and left all other weight as stated, but left in the fridge for about 3 hours until thick and hard. I used it for the middle, top and sides of the double cake and just the top of the single. The curls I found impossible and in the end had to spread out chocolate, and cut out curl sections of chocolate, layer on grease proof paper, around a thin rolling pin and pop in the freezer to set! But once placed on top with some icing sugar they looked fab!

I had comments from some that it was the best chocolate cake they have ever had! It's really moist and delicious. This will become one of my favourites!

SKLewis's picture

Gorgeous moist cake, very sweet though so might be a bit too much for some people. I used two 8 inch tins instead of the deep one stated above, it worked fine but was ready in a much reduced 35 minute baking time.

mariannemari's picture

It took me a little longer to prepare this cake as is mentioned in the recipe, mostly because the ganache was too runny and I put in in the fridge overnight.
However, it turned out great and everybody enjoyed it.

st_milenkova's picture

Excellent, easy cake! I prepared this for my 20th Birthday and everyone loved it! It's so rich and dense and exciting, you ought to serve smaller pieces since it's hard for anyone to eat a whole piece at one going. Absolutely adore it and most definitely will do it again! Absolute success! I could not do better cake for my celebration. I'm just wondering should I try and make this into muffins ...

gmccarthy's picture

Unfortunately the ganache was way too rich and runny for me. It ended up ruining the cake.

Scraped off most of it and its much nicer without the ganache.

Olsen I's picture

Great cake, would recommend - Cooked it in two 8' tins, rather than one. Also, reduced the sugar to 250g (125g of each) and used half milk and half dark chocolate. Perfect.

Rebeka84's picture

This is a great recipe, although I reduced the amount of sugar the second time I baked it as is was a bit sweet for me.
I baked this in my new Zila Cake Mould (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvXe0OsxjnA) and added some Mascarpone cream and fresh strawberries to make it less sinful, therefore I can now justify eating it after 8pm:):)

clareweston56's picture

Gorgeous chocolate cake. I made this exactly as the recipe (including adding the coffee) for my daughter's 17th birthday. Everyone loved it! It's very rich but fabulous for a special occasion. I definitely recommend it and will be making again - very soon!

TechBoy's picture

Great, easy to make cake which looks and taste lovely. I took the advice of an earlier comment and made the ganache first.. Great advice, it was perfect to spread and worked a treat!!