Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1172 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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    3rd Mar, 2018
    I did exactly the same thing, I've never forgotten the butter before. Fingers crossed I saved it in time.
    kitkatwitch's picture
    22nd Dec, 2017
    Made this cake for my sons birthday. Agree with other people that it is more of a giant brownie cake than a light a fluffy cake. I cooked as instructed but found that when it came to cutting in thirds I just couldn't see it happening. I cut it in half but still the top half broke apart. This wasn't a problem once the ganache was put on top. I omitted half of the sugar from the ganache, but would probably just use milk chocolate next time for a less dark chocolate bitter taste. Instead of curls I decorated with milk choc chips, chocolate stars, milky way stars and glitter. I will definately make this again.
    17th Dec, 2017
    This is my absolute go to cake and this year will be appropriately decorated as a Christmas cake. Easiest way to slice is to score gently round the circumference with a serrated knife and then pull dental floss ( non flavoured ) through the cake. Easy peasy.
    anca.lumei's picture
    6th Dec, 2017
    Worst part about the recipe is that they called it cake and set up wrong expectations. This is a sturdier brownie, that you can also slice and fill if you're so inclined and have the patience and skill to do it. At it's core, this is an easy-peasy brownie, that doesn't ask sugar and butter to be fluffed up, and flour to be gently folded in. You don't even need the pre-planning of taking butter out to soften to room temperature. It's as easy as making cake using a boxed mix. Tips: * 300g of total sugar in the cake is plenty * some American electric ovens refuse to go under 300F, so if you have one and use convection/fan, check on the cake earlier * sugar can be all white, but if you use some brown, make sure to sift the dried stuff and add any bigger sugar chunks to the melting chocolate so you don't end up with caramelized holes in the brownie * instant coffee + water can be 125ml of any watery liquid you want. This time I used a double espresso, diluted with Grand Marnier to make 125ml. Orange juice, rum, plain water, black tea, American coffee or anything similar would also work just as well. * if you don't plan on slicing and filling, a square brownie pan works perfectly for this * if you don't fill or cover it with ganache, keeping it in a tin/box out of the fridge is better
    3rd Dec, 2017
    I've just finished making this a second time and, without a doubt, it will be my go-to chocolate cake recipe! Although I found the second bake to be very crumbly/broken on top, you don't see a thing once it's flipped to decorate. Adjustments: - I choose to cut it horizontally only once (giving two layers) because I can't be bothered splitting the mix and a second cut would be too risky with my haphazard skills. - USE DARK CHOCOLATE for the cake itself, as I imagine it will be too sweet otherwise. Good quality chocolate is best because the flavour will come through. Milk chocolate for the ganache seems to be more popular with kids. - I reduce both sugar quantities to 180g. Substituting the Muscavado sugar with light brown sugar works fine.
    1st Dec, 2017
    This recipe is absolutely delicious every time I make it. It is easy, never fails to impress and is a bit of a go to cake for special occasions.
    18th Nov, 2017
    We followed the cake recipe to the letter but it was a bit of a disaster. The top layer was overdone and crumbled to pieces, even though we let it cool. When we tried to cut the lower layers, although not quite as bad, the 'structural integrity' of it was still a problem. The one thing we didn't follow to the letter was the chocolate ganache - using milk chocolate (my son's preference) rather than dark and reducing the double cream and sugar content to accommodate the milk chocolate. This worked perfectly and was probably the best bit of the cake. It was a bit disappointing after we'd been out shopping for all the ingredients and spent so long cooking it. On the up side, it tastes delicious!
    16th Nov, 2017
    Excellent cake that I've made twice now. I see some are baking in sandwich tins as they're worried about their cutting skills. To cut cakes I score all round with a knife then using the score line as a guide I use a piece of thread to cut the cake. Something like using a cheese wire but best to google it as difficult to explain. Always get lovely straight lines this way. I should say it's fragile for the first 12 hours and certainly doesn't need to be eaten fresh. It was better 3 days later as it got more squidgy.
    9th Nov, 2017
    Is this cake ok to be covered in sugarpaste?
    Sarah Johnson's picture
    Sarah Johnson
    11th Dec, 2017
    I made this cake yesterday and I would say that it is too soft for sugarpaste in my opinion.


    5th Mar, 2017
    Hi, I'm wanting to use the recipe but in 6" sandwhich tins. How many layers do you think this mixture would make. If it's 3 layers in a 8" do you think it would make 4? Thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    10th Mar, 2017
    Thanks for your question. We haven't tested the recipe in 6 inch tins so can't give exact advice, however it should be enough to create 4 layers. You will need to reduce the cooking time too to account for the smaller size cakes.
    15th Nov, 2016
    I just took my cake out of the oven and it had barely risen. I followed the recipe exactly and was hoping for a lovely fudgy cake, i then left it to cool and it shrunk even more. Could you help me?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    17th Nov, 2016
    Hi there,Sorry to hear your cake didn't work out as you'd hoped. If the texture was good but it was flat you may have used a tin that was too big. Otherwise, it would be down to the ingredients, it might be worth double checking all the ingredients were exactly as stated and included - the bicarb and self raising flour both contribute to the rise and the eggs hold the structure. The other issue may be that the oven wasn't hot enough. We hope one of these suggestions helps you get to the bottom of the problem. You can also take a look at our cake troubleshooting feature and Mary Berry's baking tips for more ideas.
    20th Oct, 2016
    PLEASE REPLY ASAP!!! if i use milk chocolate instead of dark but still the same amount for the cake and ganache would it make a difference?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    31st Oct, 2016
    Thanks for your question, you could use milk chocolate but we would suggest sticking to the dark even if you don't usually like dark chocolate. Once it's been mixed with the other ingredients, the flavour becomes more subtle and works better in this instance.
    7th Oct, 2016
    How much do I need for 26cm round tin and 22cm tin.... do I 2.5x the mix
    goodfoodteam's picture
    31st Oct, 2016
    Thanks for your question. We have not tested this cake in larger tins but would agree 2 1/2 times the recipe would be sufficient. You may have a bit left over. Make sure you don't overfill the tins and you'll need to adjust the cooking times to ensure the cakes are properly cooked through. We cannot give you exact timings without testing it for ourselves. You'll need to keep an eye on them from 1 hr 30 mins onwards. You can do the cake test as mentioned above to check when they're done. Let us know how you get on.
    28th Sep, 2016
    Hi, I have made this cake twice before and both times it tasted delicious. But each time Iade it the sponge didn't rise very much and so the cake looked quite flat. The second time I made it I adjusted the flour so that I used more self-raising flour to plain but this didn't seem to make much difference. Would it help to just use self-raising flour and add baking powder also? Thanks!
    25th Sep, 2016
    Has anyone used Stork instead of butter please?


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