Ultimate chocolate cake

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(987 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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10th Aug, 2016
This is a rich, dense and fudgy cake. It is the sort of cake where you only need a small slice. It is fragile so I line the base and sides of the tins and allow them to cool in the tins completely. I baked the cake in two 8 inch tins for 40 minutes (not fan). I changed the ingredients slightly, my changes are; I used 1/4 tsp of baking powder instead of bicarbonate of soda. I used 3 large eggs (around 63g each) instead of medium. I substituted the buttermilk for natural yoghurt and I only used 2 tbsps. For the ganache, I use equal amounts of chocolate to cream. This seems to produce a spreadable filling once cooled and left to sit in the fridge for an hour. Hope this info helps.
8th Aug, 2016
Is the coffee necessary/ does it make the cake taste like coffee at all?
10th Aug, 2016
You can't taste the coffee at all. The coffee is there as it enchances the chocolate flavour. :)
Myles's picture
11th Jul, 2016
Yes, it is delicious. I made the cake with half the sugar (100g muscavado, 100g caster sugar) and it was still quite sweet enough! I also followed others recommendations here and split the cake mixture and cooked it in two tins for 45 minutes (in a fan oven). I didn't use the ganache but instead used the "Chocolate fudge icing" recipe also available on this website. Yum!
11th Jul, 2016
I made this for my wifes birthday, everyone enjoyed it and I was complimented many times. Gave up on the curls was getting chocolate everywhere except on the cake. I used runny whipping cream (para montar here in Spain) for the ganache but felt it to be too runny so I added 200gms of buttercream mix without the butter , that thickened it up a treat and was able to spread all over the cake without it falling off. I used the same for the filling but also spread a few large spoons of homemade strawberry jam inside too.I used "Quark" in place of sour cream. Had no problem splitting it using one of those things with a wire stretched between the two legs, this was done the next day. Decorated with chocolate leaves and glace cherries and dusted with icing sugar. It was moist, gooey, chcolatey, not overly sweet nor bitter, they loved it. It took 1h10mins and the top was a bit too crisp for my liking, probably too high on the shelf, luckily I was keeping an eye on it as the 1h25m would have killed it. I flipped it over so the crispy bit was at the bottom. That worked ok. As I said the ganache was runny but may have been due to hot waether or wrong cream. I got around that as well. Probably only the 3rd Choc cake I have ever made and it was well worth the trouble. I will certainly be making this again. My wife was very happy !!!!
8th Jul, 2016
Heavenly!!! The best chocolate cake I have had ever! I have made it several times and made a 3 layer party cake last week!
SamP mum of 3
5th Jul, 2016
Beautiful cake, gooey, chewy almost brownie like but still holds like a layer cake. I made it exactly to the recipe and none of the family said they found it too bitter (some people here suggest to make it 50% milk 50% dark chocolate which I'm sure would be lovely too) the ganache was slightly runny when first made, so I popped it into the fridge for it to stiffen slightly before adding it to the cake. Didn't bother with the curls etc but might add them next time I make it.
25th Jun, 2016
Not really that amazed with this recipe. Don't get me wrong, it tastes nice, but the amount of sugar makes the outside very chewy. This recipe resembles more of a brownie than a cake in my opinion, way too fudgy and gooey to use as a layer cake.
25th Jun, 2016
BEST chocolate cake ever made or tasted. So good I made another one same day! At the top of my cake recipes.
23rd Jun, 2016
Wow, now I know why this has so many fab reviews (and obviously the reason I chose it!), it was stunning. So moist and delicious. We had one very happy chocoholic birthday boy and will certainly have this as my go to birthday cake recipe again. I did half and half, dark and milk choc as suggested in the comments for both the sponge and ganache and I'm glad I did otherwise, I think it would have been too bitter.


20th Dec, 2015
Hi can you tell me if salted or unsalted butter was used for this cake please?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Dec, 2015
We used salted butter for this recipe. 
2nd Nov, 2015
I am going to make this cake on Friday for a friend's birthday the following day and have a couple of questions - 1) I'll be using a 23cm spring form tin (8cm deep) - will I need to adjust the recipe or is it OK to use the same measurements? 2) I'm planning to refrigerate the cake Fri night and add the ganache Saturday morning - when I do this, should I allow the ganache to cool slightly before adding between the layers and on top?
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Nov, 2015
Hi Superjo30, sorry we weren't able to help with your query earlier. If you decide to make this recipe again in that size you can use the same quantity of cake mixture in the larger tin,  it won't be that deep for splitting into three, or look as impressive, however you could just cut it in half. For a deeper cake you could increase the quantities by a quarter. For example use 250g instead of 200g, 110g instead of 85g, 30g instead of 25g for the cocoa and a dash more coffee in the same amount of water. For the wet ingredients add 4 medium eggs and 100ml buttermilk. The consistency you are after should be quite runny so adjust if necessary before pouring into the tin with a little more buttermilk or water if you think the mixture seems a little too firm. Bake for 1 hour 40 mins then check. You will have to use your judgement as we haven't tested baking the cake with these quantities, but add 5-10 mins at a time according to how cooked it is until firm and a skewer comes out clean. For the ganache use 300g chocolate with 350ml double cream and 2 rounded tbsp sugar. There is no need to refrigerate the cake overnight, just follow the recipe from step 4.
29th Oct, 2015
I am going to make an ultimate chocolate cake the recipe calls for a 20cm x7.5cm cake tin I want to cook in 8" x 2" cake tins how do I adjust the cooking time
11th Oct, 2015
The centre top of my cake has risen a large amount, and has detached itself to the actual cake. Why has this happened? I followed the method correctly.
12th Aug, 2015
Hi! Want to make this cake for a friend but she doesn't really like coffee. Does it taste of coffee or only of chocolate?
7th Jul, 2015
Hi, I've just made this cake for my son's birthday, I'm waiting for it to cool but am worried about making the ganache correctly. Someone pointed out that he followed the recipe exactly and just poured the ganache over the cake after cooling it down....am I supposed to whip it or something first to make it very thick.... I don't want to ruin it as it's looking ok at the moment.
16th Jun, 2015
I love this cake but it always cracks and sinks in the middle. I'm. It opening the door, knocking it ect but it keeps happening. Is there any way I can stop this from happening? Many thanks
18th Feb, 2015
Hi! My friend loves this cake and I'm planning on doing it for her wedding with alternating vanilla sponge but it is a very light cake so I am worried it won't be able to hold up the layers (I'm hoping for 5 tiers). Just wondering whether it's possible to try and stop it rising and bubbling so much - should I try without the bicarb? Or more plain flour than self-raising? Thanks


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