Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(996 ratings)

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


Cuts into 14 slices

Indulge yourself with Angela Nilsen's heavenly moist and fudgy chocolate cake - perfect for celebrations - birthdays, weddings, christenings - any excuse!

Nutrition and extra info

  • Without icing


  • kcal541
  • fat35g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs55g
  • sugars40g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.51g
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  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids
  • 200g butter



    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 (5 tbsp)
  • grated chocolate or curls, to decorate



    Chocolate as we know it in pressed

For the ganache

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, as above
  • 284ml carton double cream (pouring type)
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar


  1. Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then 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 on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.

  2. While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk.

  3. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in 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.

  4. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp 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.

  5. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover 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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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!!!
14th Feb, 2017
I've made this cake a few times, and it stays moist for days and tastes great. However, I do 50/50 milk and dark chocolate, and I really struggle to even cut the cake in HALF let alone 3 times horizontally. I will try it again today in 2 tins.


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.
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


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.