Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls served on a white plate

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1066 ratings)

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


14 slices

Indulge yourself with this heavenly chocolate cake recipe that is beautifully moist, rich and fudgy. Perfect for a celebration or an afternoon tea

Nutrition and extra info

  • Without icing

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal541
  • fat35g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs55g
  • sugars40g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.51g
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    For the chocolate cake

    • 200g dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids), chopped
      Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

      Dark chocolate

      dahk chok-lit

      Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

    • 200g butter, cubed



      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 eggs
    • 75ml buttermilk
      Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



      There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

    • grated chocolate or curls, to decorate



      Chocolate as we know it in pressed

    For the ganache

    • 200g dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids), chopped
      Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

      Dark chocolate

      dahk chok-lit

      Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

    • 300ml double cream
    • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar


    1. Heat the oven to 160C/fan140C/gas 3. Butter and line a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep).

    2. Put the dark chocolate in a medium pan with the butter. 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 for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.

    3. Mix the self-raising flour, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, light muscovado sugar and golden caster sugar with the cocoa powder and squash out any lumps. Beat the eggs with the buttermilk.

    4. Pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir everything to a smooth, quite runny consistency.

    5. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1hr 25 – 1hr 30 mins. If you push a skewer into 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. Cut the cold cake horizontally into three.

    6. To make the ganache, put the dark chocolate in a bowl.  Pour the cream into a pan, add the 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. Cool until it is a little thicker but still pourable.

    7. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smooth over any gaps 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, questions and tips

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    24th May, 2018
    I really like sweet desserts.However, it is worth taking care of our health.The article helped me a lot Click Here!
    30th Mar, 2018
    Just made this as my Easter Cake... I’m no master baker but it came out perfectly. I cooked it in one loose bottom tin for 1 hr 20 I think it could of been reduced by at least 5 - 10 min. I only cut it into two but was plenty deep enough for three. I used Lidl plain fair trade 60% chocolate, reduce both sugars to 160g each & made my own butter milk by adding 1tbls malt vinegar to the milk. Let it cool in the tin, I found it really easy to handle. Made the ganache to the recipe & decorated with mini eggs & malteser bunnies.
    14th Mar, 2018
    I made this and overall it turned out ok following instructions. However there is way too much sugar in this recipe and was far too sweet. I have a sweet tooth but I may as well have been eating pure sugar! There is double the sugar than flour/fat etc which isnt usual. I will be trying this recipe again cutting down the sugar as it was a nice chocolate cake that tasted of chocolate which is difficult to come by.
    Mercedes Bull
    7th Mar, 2018
    I made this Cake for my Cousin's Birthday and it went down a treat! It is much more Brownie like in consistency. For the ganache, I mixed equal parts Dark Chocolate with Milk Chocolate. For decoration, I used a combination of Cadbury's Flake (crushed) and fresh Strawberries! I would be careful not to refrigerate this as I stupidly did and it went very hard and chewy!
    4th Mar, 2018
    Fell apart when moving it onto the cake stand. Looked a mess. A beautiful and delicious mess but a mess nevertheless. I baked in 2 tins (40-45mins) , so perhaps baking in one tin for the full1.5hrs makes it a bit dryer and hence less likely to fall apart. If I made this again, I’d make it in a bigger square tin, and glaze it with ganache just on the top (after it’s been moved onto the cake stand). But as others have said - the taste is incredible!
    3rd Mar, 2018
    Iv'e made this cake about 5 times. If you like chocolate, this recipe is first class. Iv'e even made it with milk chocolate and it works but in my opinion dark chocolate is just right. I also used bourneville because I like the taste.
    1st Mar, 2018
    Brownie...cake... who cares, it's delicious! Easy to make and even easier to eat:-)
    4th Feb, 2018
    This is a 5 star ++++ cake. Just the best. It's a pleasure to make and a joy to eat.
    28th Jan, 2018
    I've made this lots of times, still the best chocolate cake recipe out there. I keep it simple and just cut in half. Rich and gloriously moreish. You won't go wrong with this one.
    27th Jan, 2018
    I have made this several times and it is delicious. I found it really tricky cutting the cake horizontally into 3, I have since cut it into 2 which is easier and the end result neater. I also found that there was too much ganache I halved this which was perfect when cutting into 2 layers. I replaced the chocolate curls with broken up Flake which looks fantastic and suits those who prefer milk chocolate. I don't buy buttermilk and replaced with a cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar.


    Jo Templeton
    29th Jan, 2018
    I make this cake all the time in a 20 cm tin and always have fab results and so many great comments. I’ve decided to make my wedding cake using this recipe but really need a bit of guidance on cooking times for increased quantities of mixture in bigger tins. I’m going to be doing three tiers... a 6” a 10” and 14” tier. Would you advise reducing the oven temperature for the bigger version and cooking it for longer? Any help greatly appreciated!!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    6th Feb, 2018
    Thank you for your question. We would recommend keeping the oven at the same temperature but you will need to increase or decrease the cooking time depending on the relative size of the tin. Unfortunately we are unable to give specific timings without testing.
    4th Dec, 2017
    Hi, if I can't find buttermilk , can I replace it with yoghurt? Thanks, I really want to bake this cake, it looks fabulous!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    8th Dec, 2017
    Buttermilk is available in larger supermarkets in the dairy section. However if you don't have access to this then you can make your own, simply add a little under 1 tsp of lemon juice to 75ml full-fat milk and set aside for 10 mins. It will curdle into a thick mixture, then it's ready to use.
    16th Sep, 2017
    How do stop it from crumbling it's impossible to handle just falls apart.Finished with a crumbling mess.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    17th Sep, 2017
    We're sorry to hear your cake didn't turn out well. It's hard to know what happened here. It's essential to weigh all the ingredients using good scales, to make sure the cake is fully cooked according to step 5 and to leave the cake in the tin to cool down. If you take the cake out of the tin too soon, it may not be firm enough and can crumble. Hope this helps if you decide to try it again.
    Jumanas Cakes M...
    14th Sep, 2017
    Thank you Angela love this recipe. Taste is awesome and it's easy to make. My question is if cake doesn't come out perfectly round and straight on the sides. It shrinks from the top. Is there anything I can do to keep it in shape? Because when I sandwich two I then have to trim sides. Thanks...
    goodfoodteam's picture
    17th Sep, 2017
    If you want a straighter appearance, you can flip the top layer over so that the bottom of the cake is the top. Fill in the gaps with the icing. Hope that helps!
    Seren star's picture
    Seren star
    27th Aug, 2017
    Can I add vanilla extract
    goodfoodteam's picture
    28th Aug, 2017
    Thanks for your question. Yes, you could add vanilla extract, although we have found the coffee brings out the flavour of the chocolate very well.


    14th Mar, 2018
    Consider less sugar as way too sugary
    16th Sep, 2017
    Don't make it
    8th Oct, 2016
    I made this as per recipe but put it in an 8.5" cake tin, which was only slightly larger than recommended. I checked it after 55 mins on 150 c in a conventional oven. Despite being on the lower shelf it was already beginning to over cook. Please check your cake at about the hour mark. If I make it again I'll cover with grease proof paper at 45 mins. I rescued it by scraping the top very slightly and dousing with a generous helping of golden rum. Ganache as per recipe. Gorgeous 'Jamacian' chocolate cake. Recommended.
    15th Jun, 2016
    I never have buttermilk and use a 1/2 greek yogurt and 1/2 milk mix. This cake is incredible!
    27th Sep, 2015
    I made this for my niece's engagement party and it went down a storm with many requests for the recipe! Comfortably serves 20 as it's very rich.
    26th Mar, 2015
    Warm a slice in the microwave for a few seconds - lush!
    1st Dec, 2014
    How To Make Chocolate Cake – Pointers To Consider Once you have mastered the art of baking and know how to make chocolate cake, there are few things you need to take into account. For example some people are vegetarians and do not eat eggs, so you will need to prepare Eggless cakes for them. Many people even don’t like having sour cream or butter. So what you can do is have some substitutes in place of the eggs like rice flour. However if you use rice floor, be prepared for the cake batter to remain thin. The other thing is to make sure that the cake recipe is followed properly and the teaspoonful or tablespoonfuls of the ingredients are taken in the right amount. So now that you have some idea of how to make chocolate cake, wow your friends with your baking prowess! info taken from: http://www.howtomakechocolatecake.org/make-chocolate-cake-cool-tips/
    19th Oct, 2014
    I baked this for my brother's birthday the other day. Everyone was thrilled by it! I should say I changed couple of things. - Good I had my eye on and took it out of the oven after 1 hour, otherwise it would have been a burned mess, even after just 1hr I noticed dry edge, but that was ok and fixable. - I used 6 tbsp of milk instead of buttermilk. - I don't know how it is possible to cut to 3 layers, I just made 2 layers. It was a bit flaky to be cut to 3 layers. - For the filling I used 200gr whipped cream mixed with part of dark melted chocolate. sprinkled with chopped walnut and hazelnut inside and out. - Unfortunately there was no brown sugar, so I used regular. For my taste it was a bit too much, next tie will use half or 3/4 portion. - I used 70% dark chocolate which somehow gave a feeling of alcohol in it, but there was none. way to go recipe, everyone loved-loved it! it tastes even better the next day, well if any piece is left. for us tehre was just a tiny piece for the morning
    2nd Oct, 2014
    be patient with this if your in a hurry and need it in hour or so then dont bother try to do it the night before or as i did in the morning as didnt need till evening but it is worth the wait
    27th Jun, 2014
    The result was very light and fragile. If you're going to use a filling, I'd suggest the sandwich method rather than cutting it horizontally. I replaced part of the chocolate with After Eights to give a mint flavour. Worked well. Gave a big chocolaty hit and nice moistness.