Wedding cake - rich dark chocolate cake

Wedding cake - rich dark chocolate cake

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(96 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins Plus cooling


Serves 50
This recipe makes the bottom layer of our three tier wedding cake or a simple delicious chocolate cake, perfect with a touch of cream

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal274
  • fat16g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs30g
  • sugars20g
  • fibre1g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.23g
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  • 650g unsalted butter
  • 650g plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 100ml very strong coffee- espresso is ideal
  • 3 tsp vanilla essence



    The sun-dried seed pod of a type of climbing orchid, vanilla has an inimitable soft, sweet…

  • 650g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 2 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-…

  • 950g light soft brown sugar
  • 10 egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 2 x 284ml/9½ fl oz soured cream


  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter, double-line and wrap the sides of the 30cm deep-round cake tin as before. Put the butter and chocolate into a medium saucepan, then stir over a low heat until melted and smooth. Stir in the coffee and vanilla.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the biggest bowl you have. Add the sugar, breaking down any lumps with your fingertips if necessary. Beat the eggs and soured cream together in a jug or bowl and pour into the flour mix. Pour in the melted chocolate mix as well, then stir with a wooden spoon until you have a thick, even chocolaty batter.

  3. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 2½ hrs – don’t open the oven door before 2 hrs is up, as this will cause the cake to sink. Once cooked, leave in the tin to cool completely. The unfilled cake will keep for up to four days, wrapped as before, or frozen for a month.

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Comments (346)

mailynmarilyn's picture

Please could you let me know the quantities and timing for a 10 inch round cake please.thank-you

Kiraniya's picture

I have used around 2/3 the amounts above to make a 10" round cake :)

Sonniyaya's picture

I made this cake last week as a trial run for a wedding cake due next week , I followed it all the way through and sliced it into 2 layers before freezing , it had baked beautifully even, however , when I cut it up to serve today it looked more moist than I expected . Is this normal ? Is it just a very moist cake or could it have been undercooked , I've just baked another one and I've allowed it to bake for 3 hours at 150. I hope someone tells me it's how it should be

louise_garrod's picture

Does anyone know whether to use large eggs or medium ones for this recipe?

Thank you!

Kiraniya's picture

I always use large eggs and have always had a great rise and taste, if that helps :)

jenniferv's picture

Fantastic! Used the wedding chocolate, the vanilla sponge and the wedding cake assembly guide to make a 3 tier wedding cake for my niece (used delia 12 in square fruit for the base), 9 inch vanilla & 6 inch chocolate. All brillaint recipes, advice would be to make trial cakes to get the quantities correct. Thank you bbc good food!

stuartarnold's picture

it looks like a nice recipe to me but not sure why you would; on a wedding day; bake you re own when its actually the one feature of the wedding that is getting cheaper and cheaper. When I got married it cost £200 for the cake, these days its frequently something that gets thrown in with a cheap package commonly referred to as the “daytime catering package” check these venues out ( they all do deals where they throw in a good quality daytime catering arrangement with the venue, this is, btw the trend in events. Finally someone cottoned on to the fact that weddings are getting stupid expensive and now packages are all the rage. Having said that this cake looks pretty damn good to me so it might be a good way to knock off a few quid and have very good (and more personal) . but from my memory you won’t want additional pressure on the day.

nat171297's picture

Hi my daughter is getting married but hates coffee what can I use instead ?

Clovecooks's picture

You won't taste the coffee, it merely enhances the chocolate flavour.

mair harris's picture

I've made this cake (ingredients halved for 2 x 8 inch tins) and I've added 8 tsp coffee mixed with 24 mls water instead of the very strong coffee. I guarantee that you will not taste even a tiny bit of coffee in the cake. I've made Paul Bradfords Chocolate cake and this is what he uses in his recipe. I hate coffee and was very nervous about trying it because of it in the ingredients. You honestly can't taste it but it does enhance the chocolate flavour.

makcheryl1401's picture

May I have the recipe for round shape 11", 8" and 6" diameter. All with 3" deep pan.


Fiona cheng's picture

Hi, can I use milk instead of coffee? Tks

Comfydemo's picture

I have made this cake on several occasions, first time I used half the recipe and split between 2 8" tins and cooked at 140 fan with foils around tin for 1 hour 30 mins, Worked out perfectly. Too much for a 3 inch cake. I made again tonight and reduced ingredients to 0.4 of the original recipe and cooked it all in one 8" pan at 140 fan for 2 hours with the cake tin wrapped in paper. It rose perfectly just above the top of cake tin and no dome. I did not open the oven. Love this cake sooo much. Ive tried a few other rich chocolate fudge cakes but this is the best.

debbieransley's picture

I've now made this cake quite a few times, I made it for my 50th Birthday and the bottom layer on my wedding cake and it's always turned out perfectly. I have also adapted it to make a chocolate orange cake and tested it with my work colleagues who loved it, that was a trial for my son in laws 40th birthday in August so fingers crossed it will be just as good for the real thing. :)

thomas12's picture

Hi can you tell me how you adapted it to a chocolate orange cake? Many Thanks

gingerboris's picture

I've made this for my twin daughters' 40th birthday and only have had the trimmings so far but I can safely say it's delicious. I didn't keep a good enough eye on the chocolate and it caught a bit on the bottom of the pan but there was no way I could afford to start again so it went in as it was. I also had too much mixture for my tin size. If you are wondering can you leave the mixture over night, the answer is yes. I baked the left over batch the following day and it was perfect. This will become a family birthday cake favourite.

a_blurvert's picture

I've been making (chocolate) cakes for 14 years and this hits all the marks - it's dark, richly chocolate flavour but not too dense, has a moist sponge with spring, (I added a tsp of glycerine to the mix as I was baking this and another cake in stages for a wedding on the weekend), not too crumbly so you can ice it easily, and freezes/defrosts well - I baked it in two layers, let cool, then wrapped in clingfilm to freeze. Left it on the counter overnight to defrost.

Pity the accompanying buttercream recipe is a mess to work out as the instructions are part of the three-tier cake recipe, I had to do a lot of calculations to work out 600g of buttercream for this cake alone (I also scaled down this recipe to 75% to fit a 10 inch pan). I had just about enough buttercream, so do your maths if you want to only make one layer, or change it up from the original 3-tier recipe!

drck16's picture

Great cake recipe!!! very dense and VERY moist, perfect for wedding cakes. 1x of this recipe makes a 14 inch x 2.5-3 inches tall cake. I would definitely make this cake again!!

ayesha89's picture

Hi, what oven temp and how long did you bake it for the 14inch? Did you require 2x this amount to make it high enough? Thanks in advance!!

ruamac's picture

For anyone who wants to use a different size tin, here's a great site that helps with conversion of quantities and temperatures:

I'm planning on making this cake for my daughter's wedding in December so I'm grateful for all the tips and comments. I'm baking a test-cake next weekend to see how it tastes, how it freezes - with and without icing and filling - and how fresh it will stay if not frozen. I'll be putting many of the tips into practice and will post my findings.

Fingers crossed:)


Questions (63)

joaniev53's picture

Is it a typing error. 950g of soft brown sugar to 650g of flour and butter seems a bit over the top. I am going to use 650g of sugar and will let you know the outcome

goodfoodteam's picture

Hello, just to let you know that we checked back to the June 2006 issue of Good Food and the quantity of sugar is correct.

zoe1223's picture

Hi just made the cake 6"×4" followed recipe, just taken cake out of tin and it looks very moist is this ok. In the oven 2hrs smells lovely.

mailynmarilyn's picture

Please could you let me know the quantities and timing for a 10 inch round cake please. Thank-you

arnoldjj's picture

I would like to make this cake with the addition of malted milk powder. Any suggestions as to how to add it in and adjust the ingredients? I was thinking about swapping out the espresso with milk to bring out the malt flavor.

sugarapple's picture

I have baked this chocolate cake.12 in x 3 in pan for 2.5 hours. Now I want to make 10 in x 3 in and an 8 in x 3 in versions. How do I work out cooking times for these smaller pans.

Buster03's picture

Please can you give the quantities for 10" 8" and 6" for the chocolate and lemon cake , the lemon cake is delicious and have been asked to make it as a wedding cake, but need different quantities as soon as possible for the chocolate sponge. Many thanks

cazhgs's picture

H,i I have made this cake numerous times in a 12inch tin and it is lovely. Can anyone tell me the approximate timing to cook in an 8inch tin? I have worked out the volume of tins and scaled down the recipe. Thank you you so much

nat171297's picture

What can I use instead of coffee ?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi nat171297 thanks for your question. The coffee in this recipe is just used to enhance the chocolatey flavours in the cake so you really don't taste it in the finished sponge. However, if you would prefer to leave it out you should be ok to just use the same amount of hot water instead. Let us know how you get on.

paddick50's picture

Hi there!
I'm baking this cake in two halves, in a 12inch tin, how long will 1 half take to bake please?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi paddick50 thanks for your question, a 12inch tin is the same as the one used in the recipe above so you would be better to bake the whole thing in one tin using the quantities and timings listed then cutting the cake in half through the middle after baking. Let us know how you get on. 

Brammar's picture

Hi, I have baked this twice as a 12"" cake and both times the knife test has come out clean so I have taken it out but it has then sunk in the middle, it also has a crispy crust and is more like a brownie. It tastes great but I assume this is not how it is supposed to be, any ideas why it is doing this?

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there, when your cake sinks in the middle there are three main reasons, a/ the oven door has been opened before the cake has set, b/ the cake didn't go in the oven as soon as the mixture was ready or c/ there's too much raising agent. Hope this helps. You may also find this guide useful:
ADM's picture

Hi, please could you give me the quantities and cooking time for a 10" cake. Thanks

Lee Weston's picture

Hi please could you give me the quantities for a 26cm tin - I have made the cake calculating the ingredients by dividing by 30 and then multiplying by 26. The cake took 3.5 hours to cook and still was soggy in the middle!!! Then sunk when it came out! Sadly a disaster but tastes great! Please can you help as I really want to make this as my bottom tier for my wedding cake in a couple of weeks. Also can I use 50% of the chocolate being milk as I fine plain too bitter? Thank you

Danip87's picture

Hi I made this recipe exactly as says, same size tins, double lined if side and out etc. it was in on the right temp for 2 and half exactly but I was really disappointed with recipe. Came out very dry. Any recommendations of what I could do to stop this? When I test it with a skewer should it come out clean or sticky as its a brownie like cake? Thanks

dodders64's picture

Hi with the Wedding cake Rich dark chocolate I wish to make the 12inch (30cm) Round
but wish to make a smaller 10inch (24m) please can someone help with reducing the ingredients for this please?

warrennhants1980's picture

Hi i have been struggling to find a decent moist chocolate cake for the bottom tier of my sisters wedding cake, and reading the feedback i think this may be the once! what i need to know is will this 12" cake recipe work the same for a 12" Hexagonal cake? as i know that some recipes differ with the shape of the tin..
Thanks Warren

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Warren. You would need to check that the volume of the hexagonal tin was the same as the round tin, you can check this using water and a measuring jug and then adjust the quantities accrdingly. Please note that scaling a cake recipe up or down to fit another tin is not an exact science and so there is no set formula for working it out, also cooking time will be affected too, so be aware that it may not always produce the expected results.


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