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

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1000 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
    • 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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    11th Aug, 2017
    Love this cake - have made it twice to rave reviews all around ! Sliced the cake into two layers, too fragile for three. Reduced the sugar to half but it was sweet enough for our taste.
    26th Jun, 2017
    This is my go to chocolate cake recipe and always bakes well and tastes great!
    13th May, 2017
    I used 3 tins to not have to cut the layers and cut down the cooking time by 3. It was cooked to almost perfection - another 5 min maybe. The bits were delicious when fresh. Next time, I need to cover the cake overnight and make sure all layers are the same size as the smallest one was a nightmare to lift from the tin, it was so fragile or use paper lining for all tin including the ones that open or really really butter them up but paper is safer. The ganache solidifies fast so only make it when all layers are ready to be assembled. Tried to do the saving myself using a small tablette and it did not look great
    16th Apr, 2017
    Followed the recipe exactly, except I did in two sandwich tins for 45 minutes. 5 stars all round from the family today!!
    16th Apr, 2017
    This went down storm. I did it in two sandwich tins (didn't bother splitting the cakes further), 50/50 milk and dark and didn't sweeten the ganache. Finally, I didn't have any buttermilk so used four tbsp yoghurt and one milk and used 300g golden caster sugar with 100g demerera. Cooked for around an hour in the two tins. It was rich and moist and yummy. It is crumbly so treat with care but pouring the ganache over it hides any untidy edges and nobody cares anyway because it looks so decadent and chocolaty! Will be making it again.
    15th Apr, 2017
    So, I made this cake yesterday as a birthday cake. I thought it was going to be a bit of a disaster as part of the top fell off when I cut the cake in half (I abandoned the idea of two layers) but I secured it with cocktail sticks and chucked the ganache over and it seemed to secure it back into place. For a while (until I added chocolate curls) the cake looked like it had been run over, but ended up looking half presentable! The main thing is that my partner said it was the best cake I have ever made, and I bake a LOT! Thanks for my new go to recipe!
    15th Apr, 2017
    I've been making this chocolate cake for years and if chocolate cake ever comes up in conversation I can guarantee somebody will always pipe up "you ought to taste Trish's chocolate cake, it's the best" - that just about sums up how popular this cake is! I always use this recipe - it simply is THE best. I manage to spilt the cake into three using a cake lifter and fill it with a good layer of ganache and some whipped cream - decadent I know :-) I cover it with the remaining ganache which always turns out glossy and pipe whipped cream swirls around the edge. It's not a cake you'd make every day, it really is a very indulgent cake so I save it for special occasions but I only use the dark chocolate from Lidl's, I think it's about 79p for 100g, I know they have an even cheaper one for around 35p but I've never used that one so can't comment on its suitability. I've read a few reviews where the results have been disappointing, I can only assume the oven temperature wasn't correct - I always use an oven thermometer. If you're looking for a delicious chocolate cake then this one should definitely be the one you make.
    11th Mar, 2017
    Super cake made it in my Thermomix 5 used honey in ganache instead of sugar Shall make again
    2nd Mar, 2017
    This is the first chocolate birthday cake I've ever made & it was delicious!! Followed advice in comments and used 50/50 milk and dark chocolate for the cake and ganache. Also looked up how to make chocolate curls on the back of a frozen baking tray online which finished the cake off perfectly - not easy to get the curls exactly like the pic here but sure that will come with more practice! Birthday boy definitely impressed - this cake is really easy to make & delivers the wow factor!
    arualcook's picture
    19th Feb, 2017
    Just made this cake, and wow, its amazing. I bake for a living, and I have struggled with chocolate cakes, trying to find one that's moist, chocolatey and decadent, but this is it. Followed the recipe to the letter, it rose to the perfect height to cut into three layers, I made my own chocolate ganache filling but this is going to be my chocolate cake recipe from now on, and its so easy!!!


    21st Jul, 2017
    Hi, Can I reduce the amount of a sugar but keeping the other ingredients the same amount in this recipe? Thanks.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    31st Jul, 2017
    Unfortunately changing the quantities in cake recipes will affect the outcome so we would not recommend reducing the sugar. We have a low sugar chocolate cake recipe here which you could cover in ganache as an alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/squidgy-chocolate-sandwich-cake
    15th Jul, 2017
    It's me again... sorry, it's not sugar paste but fondant I want to cover the cake with! The translator mistranslated!!!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    17th Jul, 2017
    Thanks for your question. You can use this recipe, there's no need to store it in the fridge. Or, for a simpler alternative that's not so rich, you could try the following: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2005/fudgy-dark-chocolate-cake. Happy baking!
    14th Jul, 2017
    Hello! I want to make a birthday cake for my 3 year old and cover it with sugar paste to create Minnie's head... Can I use this recipe and can I leave this cake in room temperature or does it have to be stored in the fridge? Thanks a lot!
    9th Jul, 2017
    I followed everything but cake came out bitter , whys that please ? Any ideas?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    11th Jul, 2017
    Sorry to hear your cake didn't turn out well. If the cake tasted bitter, we'd put it down to chocolate with too high a cocoa content (it needs to be around 60%) or perhaps the type of coffee. It is a rich cake however so it's also possible it came down to taste.
    24th Apr, 2017
    This is my "go to" cake for family birthdays and I normally follow the recipe exactly save that I bake in two tins and then trim before sandwiching them together and icing. I would like to scale up for a and use a 25 cm square tin (or two 25cm square tins) - any tips as to suggested quantities/cooking times gratefully received, thank you!
    19th Mar, 2017
    Can you tell me what I did wrong please? I followed recipe exactly & have a good oven so know its not that..... when I went to take cake out of oven it had all sunk in middle very collapsed. Let it cool & when removing from tin kind of fell apart the centre all gooey and moist. What do you think I did wrong?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    27th Mar, 2017
    Sorry to hear your cake didn't work out. The cake definitely sounds like it was undercooked. There are a few reasons why this might have happened. Firstly, check that you are using the correct size tin and that the oven is fully up to temperature before putting the cake in. Avoid opening the oven door during cooking time as this lets the heat out of the oven and can cause the cake to collapse and not cook in the stated time. Make sure you test the cake with a skewer at 1 hr 25 mins, it should come out clean. If not, return the cake to the oven for 5 mins or if it's really gooey, then longer still. Hope that helps next time.


    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.
    11th May, 2014
    For an extra special & fun topping try covering the top with the contents of your favourite box of chocolates or chocolate treats. Use a little ganache to help them stay in place :)
    17th Apr, 2014
    This cake works just as well using cadbury's chocolate. I've also used this recipe and made it into muffins. Don't fill the cases more than 3/4 full as they will overflow. I baked them at 140c for 50 mins. Don't check before 40 mins otherwise they will sink. These turned out delicious! The texture is like a really soft brownie (not gooey, just right!) and the top is lovely and chewy. No need for a ganache topping as it's perfect as it is! I think this is the best chocolate cake I've ever come across. If you want a more spongey texture then put 200g of self-raising flour and 200g of plain flour in instead of 85g of each. Only tried this in a cake tin but it turned out to be a real winner.