Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1102 ratings)

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


14 slices

Indulge yourself with this ultimate 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-o-let

      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…

    • 50g grated chocolate or 100g 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-o-let

      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 200g chopped dark chocolate in a medium pan with 200g butter.

    3. Mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan.

    4. 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.

    5. Mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder, and squash out any lumps.

    6. Beat 3 medium eggs with 75ml buttermilk.

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

    8. 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).

    9. 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.

    10. To make the ganache, put 200g chopped dark chocolate in a bowl.  Pour 300ml double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar and heat until it is about to boil.

    11. 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.

    12. 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.

    13. Decorate with 50g grated chocolate or 100g chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    23rd Oct, 2018
    Have made this cake twice - each time following the recipe exactly. My first cake dipped a little after cooling but I used this as the bottom layer (only cut into two slices). I have to say this is the most scrumdiddlyumptious cake I’ve ever made and those who’ve shared it with me agree. My tip is to allow the cake to cool completely before trying to slice it.
    20th Oct, 2018
    Well, it didn't start off well, I really struggled to get the cakes (I split it into several tins) out of their tins. They were crumbly as hell. Half an hour in the fridge helped... I iced it (peanut butter cream cheese frosting, didn't do the ganache)... And it was just glorious. Probably one of the best chocolate cake I've ever made, the recipe is going straight into my recipe book: rich, intense, delicious.
    24th Sep, 2018
    Best Chocolate Cake I've ever made. Best Chocolate Cake they've ever eaten as voted by my husband and daughter. Filled with sweetened fresh cream with vanilla and fresh raspberries, and topped with more fresh raspberries and a grating or a drizzle of dark chocolate. I cooled then whipped the ganache to spread on the cake whch gives it a lighter texture. Utterly delicious recipe.
    20th Aug, 2018
    Oh my goodness complete chocolate fudgy heaven delicious. Not an every day cake but for a special occasion for chocolate lovers its the best. Followed the recipe to the letter for the cake and it did take 10 mins longer to cook but it was perfect. My granddaughter helped me decorate the cake. We didn't cut but left it whole and then we chose a simple fudge icing and then piled on marshmallows, Maltesers, crumbled Crunchie and raspberries. Feeds a crowd as so very rich but it was the perfect Birthday Cake. P.S. I could eat this cake with no icing it's so moist.
    dottymare's picture
    9th Aug, 2018
    Since this recipe is new to me, I made a practice one prior to making it as a birthday cake for my friend. I kept to the exact measurements, baked for the stipulated time and it was absolutely perfect! So much so that I have been asked for the recipe already! I had no issues like cracking ontop or too crumbly. Just stick to the measurements given, pop it into the middle of a well preheated oven and you'll have a perfectly nomoliscious, gooey slice of heaven in your belly :)
    jenniefood's picture
    13th Jul, 2018
    Does life get much better? Not only do my kids love this, they only get to eat it if they agree to keep their rooms tidy for a week before:-)
    Mina Katouzian
    25th Jun, 2018
    Perfectly delicious, a real treat and looked amazing. I found it easy to make but I too tried to make it in two tins but it didn't work out so well, it was too crumbly and soft in the middle. So I then remade it in one tin and I sliced it in half. Not into thirds as it was a little delicate and crumbly so didn't want to risk it. The outcome was prefect. I topped mine with chocolate sprinkles, chocolate hearts and rasberries. The cake goes really well with a dollop of vanilla icecream.
    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's picture
    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!


    3rd Dec, 2018
    I love this cake but I'm wanting to make more of it for my daughter's first birthday party. If I follow the standard recipe and then tweak it to bake another smaller one to put on top, can the cake hold it up if I use dowling/straws? Not built a tiered cake before...
    goodfoodteam's picture
    3rd Dec, 2018
    Thanks for your question. The cake should be strong enough to hold one more small tier, especially with cake dowels. We'd recommend layering the cake and then putting ganache on the whole thing in one go for the best finish.
    13th Dec, 2018
    Fantastic thank you!
    20th Nov, 2018
    Hi. I'm going to try this this weekend to see if it will work for Christmas. I only have 23cm or 17cm springform tins though. Will it still work /rise properly? Thanks for any help.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    22nd Nov, 2018
    Thanks for your question. We would recommend using a 20cm cake tin as this will ensure that the cake comes out as in the recipe, and that you won't need to make adjustments. A 20cm round cake tin is one of the most commonly used, especially in our recipes, so it may be worth either getting one, or should be easy to borrow.
    24th Nov, 2018
    Thanks for coming back to me.
    21st Oct, 2018
    How the best to store this cake? I am planning to make it on Thursday and have it on Saturday for my daughter birthday. Should I keep it in he fridge? Some people say it then gets hard but if it’s not in the fridge will the Grenache be ok in the tin? Please recommend the best options.
    clovelly1's picture
    5th Sep, 2018
    Can this be frozen?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    6th Sep, 2018
    Thanks for your question. Yes, you can freeze this without the icing.
    28th Jul, 2018
    Can the cake be baked in two separate tins, if so what size please?


    Juliet Goldschmidt
    30th Nov, 2018
    What a deliciously morish cake! Amazing is not enough to describe it... The coffee cuts the extreme sweetness but you can barely notice the flavour. I was told by someone it was quite heavy and brownie like (which i totally loved about it!) so made it lighter by using only self raising flour, with spectacular results Tip1: use decaf cofee for a kid friendly version Tip2: replace the plain flour for self raising for a fluffier texture, works really well Tip3: its easier to cut the following day from baking
    7th Sep, 2018
    Amazing proper chocolate cake but here's 4 tips to help you make it even better and easier: 1) Use a bain-marie (i.e. a bowl over a pan of softly boiling water) to melt the chocolate and butter together. This prevents the chocolate from spoiling or splitting. Do the same when making the ganache. 2) Don't mix the coffee and water into the chocolate and butter. Oil and water don't mix well and are likely to split. Just add the coffee and water mixture later when you bind all the ingredients together. 3) Use 160g of each sugar. 200g is too much. 4) Leave the ganache to cool then whip with a whisk it to firm it up. It will then spread and hold beautifully. Enjoy the cake!
    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