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

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1022 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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    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.
    9th Mar, 2017
    how did you get on baking in 2 tins? I had the same problem cutting it - was too moist - time in oven? temp? Thanks! ;-)
    GeorgieRose104's picture
    29th Jan, 2017
    Its chewy from all of the sugar and 2 of 3 ive made collapsed after i took them out of the oven and left to cool. They all stuck to the tins despite me greasing and lining. I followed this recipe to a T, and as a chef i understand what im doing. I would suggest reducing the amounts of sugar and using 2 smaller tins... possibly even add in an extra egg! The structure is fudgy inside... but theres no solid structure unless overbaked.


    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?
    20th Oct, 2016
    yes it doesn't make a difference
    18th Sep, 2016
    Has anyone made this using Stork instead of butter? Hoping to make it for a friends big birthday but I don't have time to practice! Thanks
    17th Sep, 2016
    I have made this cake a few times and its always turned out really well. Im just wondering if anybody as made this recipe into cupcakes, as I've been searching for awhile for a good moist cupcake recipe. Would be great for any help.
    Nena Davila
    11th Sep, 2016
    How can I make self rising flour for this cake, where I leave a small town in México, I can't find it.


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