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

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1024 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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    23rd Oct, 2017
    The cake was perfect until I tried to cut the layers, whereupon the cake sections completely crumbled. I stuck everything together with the ganache but the whole cake fell apart again when I went to move it to a plate. Complete disaster but tastes good. The cake is now spooned into seven bowls which I will have to transport to their destination and will be described as dessert! I will add some rum and cream and see what happens. Never again will I make this as the recipe instructs. In fact I will stick to my mothers recipe from now on!
    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!


    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.
    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.


    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.
    19th May, 2016
    Hi @missburns, Hope you see this post soon. Do I have to adjust the other ingredients when I change the flour quantity? I was thinking of trying with 125g each as I want a more spongey but still very rich texture, would that work? I'm still an amateur at baking. Thanks in advance! :)
    27th Jun, 2013
    This cake is great but make sure you use nice chocolate. Some quality, high-cocoa chocolate has a very strong, distinctive flavour (especially single origin chocolate), and this gives all the flavour to the cake so may not be to everyone's taste. Lidl do 66% dark chocolate that is perfect for this recipe.