Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(977 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 (1460)

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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!

somethinggood's picture

hey!! i wish i had seen this sooner! i found exactly the same!! i had made ganache once before - a long time ago and forgot what to do!!

vrog's picture

Also works well with gluten free flour - slightly crumblier but still rich and gorgeous

gla98avb's picture

Super cake, all gooey, chocolately goodness... turned out perfectly and will be making it a regularly. Everyone loved it.


Questions (90)

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.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Alison, thanks for getting in touch. Sounds like a good idea. We'd bake the cupcakes for 18-22 minutes, but check after 18 and allow a little extra if a skewer isn't coming out clean. Let us know how they turn out! BBC Good Food team

little_liloo's picture

We've just made cupcakes and they took around 20mins, but I'd check from about 15. Love the sound of baileys buttercream!

emmadingle's picture

Is there anything I can use as a buttermilk substitute which will work as successfully? I can't seem to buy any locally, and I was wondering if you have any recommendations?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. You can actually make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tsp of white wine vinegar or lemon juice per 200ml of regular milk. Best wishes, BBC Good Food team

st_milenkova's picture

You'll nedd Milk (just under one cup) and 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice. Mix them together and let the mixture stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

SKLewis's picture

I substituted the buttermilk with half greek yoghurt / half full fat milk, it worked great!

kerryyoung's picture

How do you make the chocolate curls?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. You can buy chocolate curls ready-made or make them yourself using a vegetable peeler to shave curls from a bar of chocolate. This video shows you two methods for making curls: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/technique/how-melt-chocolate

KateA's picture

Hello, i was wondering if you think its possible to turn this cake into cupcakes instead. Just by making the mixture the same and then splitting it into cake holders and add the ganache on top like icing? If so how long would you recommend to cook for?
Thank you.

st_milenkova's picture

I was thinking about the same thing but have not yet done it. Have you, was it successful?

antheabake's picture

Hi, i've made this cake 4 times, every time successfully and its always been for celebration cakes. I am making a birthday cake, but time is restricted and i need to make it in advance, can i freeze it?

suetaylor62's picture

I would like to use this cake recipe for a wedding cake as it is sooooooo good. can you advice how I up-scale this recipe suitable for a 12 inch square tin. Thank you.

mrsboo87's picture

My mother in Law made our wedding cake the same size and recipe as you're looking. Basically it is your ingredients plus half. So instead of 200g its 300g etc

antheabake's picture

Ive made this as two tiers on a 4 tier wedding cake. Make sure you use dowling to support it, but it works incredibly well. Other tip - coat with a thin layer of marzipan to prevent the chocolate bleeding into pale icing

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Sue, As we haven't tested this cake in different sizes we can only give you a rough estimate. For a 12 inch cake, we'd suggest tripling the recipe and cooking for around 2 - 21/2 hours - probably closer to 2 1/2. Check the cake after 2 hours to give you an idea of how much longer it'll need. You my want to do a test run beforehand. Hope that helps!


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