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

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1014 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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    22nd Oct, 2017
    I just made this cake and it was a disaster. I am an experienced home baker. Full disclosure: I increased the recipe by one-half, which I do all the time and have never had a problem with before. I baked the layers one at a time due to smallness of oven. After less than half the allowed baking time, the first layer was overdone and cooled to rock-solid. I baked the other layer for even less time. It is edible but dull. It is certainly not the greatest chocolate cake I've ever had. More like the worst. I won't be making it again.
    14th Oct, 2017
    The most moist chocolateyness deliciousness cake I've ever made. I scrapped the chocolate swirls and stuck kit kats around the outside and then broke up 5 different chocolate bars to put on top. Great recipe!
    2nd Oct, 2017
    This is a brilliant, moist, chocolatey cake. My only deviation from the recipe was to bake the cake in 3 loose bottomed sandwich tins as I didn't trust my cake slicing skills. Took about 45 minutes in my fan oven. I left them in their tins overnight to completely cool - made it very easy to remove from the tins. I added some Morello cherry conserve with the ganache in the filling. It went down a storm for my Dads 75th birthday and will now be my go-to chocolate cake recipe :-)
    16th Sep, 2017
    Very disappointed with this recipe made it as per recipe cooked it in two cake tins cooked for 1 hr, looked ok the problem with this cake is how do you stop it falling apart , it so fragile had to stick together with the chocolate ganache, made it for my son's birthday tomorrow utter disaster ,will have to use it as a desert, had to have a stiff drink to calm my nerves after spending so much time and effort trying to make this cake.Any clues how to stop it from crumbling ?
    12th Sep, 2017
    I made this for a friends birthday and will be making it again shortly for mine. I found the cake quite sweet but as it was for children and adults that was fine. I baked it for about an hour in two sandwich tins and found it really easy to split in half once fully cold, using cocktail sticks as a guide. Tempted to sandwich with jam next time as well as the gnash.
    10th Sep, 2017
    Followed the recipe to the letter and the cake came out perfectly. Rich and fudgy with a deep chocolate flavour Everyone loved it and couldn't resist seconds. Made for a birthday and was suprised how professional the ganache looked. It was super easy too. So happy to have found this recipe, will make it again and again!
    9th Sep, 2017
    I have made it few times, including as birthday cake. I am famous for it. Very fragile, I use vinyls to move after I cut it to thirds. Thank YOU, best choc cake ever.
    1st Sep, 2017
    I reduced the caster sugar in the cake by 50g. I also used 150g dark chocolate and 50g milk. In hindsight, I would have kept it all dark as the cake was sweeet. It went well with the ganache and whipped cream on the side. Baked in two 16cm tins for 40 mins. (Extra batter went into a loaf tin). The highlight of the cake was the texture - moist and slightly crumbly too, just like a (better than average) store bought cake.
    Jumanas Cakes M...
    19th Aug, 2017
    My family and my friends loved this cake. It's delicious!! I used cooking chocolate and margarine. So it must be even better with butter and real dark chocolate. I like it mostly because its quite rich and v chocolatey taste plus easy to make. Thank you Angela!
    18th Aug, 2017
    The cake was delish


    16th Sep, 2017
    How do stop it from crumbling it's impossible to handle just falls apart.Finished with a crumbling mess.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    17th Sep, 2017
    We're sorry to hear your cake didn't turn out well. It's hard to know what happened here. It's essential to weigh all the ingredients using good scales, to make sure the cake is fully cooked according to step 5 and to leave the cake in the tin to cool down. If you take the cake out of the tin too soon, it may not be firm enough and can crumble. Hope this helps if you decide to try it again.
    Jumanas Cakes M...
    14th Sep, 2017
    Thank you Angela love this recipe. Taste is awesome and it's easy to make. My question is if cake doesn't come out perfectly round and straight on the sides. It shrinks from the top. Is there anything I can do to keep it in shape? Because when I sandwich two I then have to trim sides. Thanks...
    goodfoodteam's picture
    17th Sep, 2017
    If you want a straighter appearance, you can flip the top layer over so that the bottom of the cake is the top. Fill in the gaps with the icing. Hope that helps!
    Seren star's picture
    Seren star
    27th Aug, 2017
    Can I add vanilla extract
    goodfoodteam's picture
    28th Aug, 2017
    Thanks for your question. Yes, you could add vanilla extract, although we have found the coffee brings out the flavour of the chocolate very well.
    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!


    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
    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 :)