Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1090 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-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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    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
    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.


    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?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    2nd Aug, 2018
    Thanks for your question. You could bake this in 2 x 20cm sandwich tins but you'll need to reduce the cooking time. We can't give a specific time without testing. See step 5 for how you test if the cake is done.
    4th Jul, 2018
    I have made this cake twice. Unfortunately, on both occasions the surface of the cakes have had a crust that have cracked quite badly and after cutting the cake horizontally making 2 halves, the top layer has just crumbled and disintegrated. The ganache has come to the rescue and I managed to patchwork the cake back into shape, covering with a thick layer of the ganache. The cake has been a success and enjoyed but I would like advice as to why the cakes have fallen to bits. I have followed the recipe accurately and have used an oven thermometer to ensure that it is at the correct temperature. Help please!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    4th Jul, 2018
    We're sorry to hear your cake has cracked and crumbled. The first reason is usually that the oven temperature it too high but you've checked this so we'd suggest that the cake is too high in the oven. Move the cake lower to avoid the top forming a crust too soon during the cooking process. You can also put a baking sheet on the shelf above to shield the top of the cake from the heat slightly.
    4th Jul, 2018
    Hi, I have made this cake on two occasions now. Unfortunately, although I have followed the recipe absolutely, the top of the cake comes out with not only a crusted top but it has cracked quite badly and the top layer (I have only attempted to cut the cake horizontally into two) just crumbles and falls apart. Fortunately, the ganache has saved the day and once covered the cake looks fine and tastes delicious but I would like to know what I am doing wrong. Help please !
    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!


    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
    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