Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1201 ratings)

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


14 slices

Indulge yourself with this ultimate chocolate cake recipe that is beautifully moist, rich and fudgy. Perfect for a celebration or an afternoon tea

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced and undecorated

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-o-let

      Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

    • 200g butter, cubed



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 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
      Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



      There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

    • 50g grated chocolate or 100g curls, to decorate

      Chocolate ganache


      Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…

    For the ganache

    • 200g dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids), chopped
      Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

      Dark chocolate

      dahk chok-o-let

      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 200g chopped dark chocolate in a medium pan with 200g butter.

    3. Mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan.

    4. 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.

    5. Mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder, and squash out any lumps.

    6. Beat 3 medium eggs with 75ml buttermilk.

    7. Pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir everything to a smooth, quite runny consistency.

    8. 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).

    9. 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.

    10. To make the ganache, put 200g chopped dark chocolate in a bowl.  Pour 300ml double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar and heat until it is about to boil.

    11. 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.

    12. 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.

    13. Decorate with 50g grated chocolate or 100g chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    alex hauger's picture
    alex hauger
    3rd Jan, 2020
    Perfect and easy. Never fails to please.
    9th Dec, 2019
    This is NOT a suitable recipe if you are making a chocolate cake and wish it to stay together and ice it. This IS a recipe for very tasty brownies. Hence the two stars
    5th Jan, 2020
    Most cakes will 'crumble' when you ice them as the buttercream sticks to the cake as you spread, pulling it away.... Therefore, dip your knife/spreader in hot water every so often, drying it so that the icing instead 'melts' and pulls away - will also give the cake a smoother finish
    Jacqui Croll's picture
    Jacqui Croll
    24th Nov, 2019
    Every time I make this cake everyone loves it..
    6th Nov, 2019
    Only giving this 5 stars because there is no option for 6 stars. It's the perfect recipe. It never fails. It is potentially lethal in its richness but this is the perfect excuse to invite a few folks around to share the delightful guilt of it.
    2nd Nov, 2019
    I've made this a few times and it always gets a "wow" from my friends and family. Am too nervous to try and slice a large cake into 3 layers so I divide the uncooked mixture evenly between two cake tins and bake them for about 50 minutes each. Then I sandwich them together with a generous amount of ganache. Instead of chocolate swirls on top, I put raspberries which offset the chocolate beautifully. A fab 'special occasion' cake.
    Jacqui Croll's picture
    Jacqui Croll
    24th Nov, 2019
    I too divide in two, much easier than trying to slice it..
    21st Oct, 2019
    Tried this and it was delicious. Worked out perfectly. Was moist, easy to handle, cut and decorate.
    Laurence Gray's picture
    Laurence Gray
    8th Sep, 2019
    I have tried to do this cake 3 times and it has never succeeded. I have followed the recipe though also read comments and taken advice on board. It tastes good but breaks up as soon as I go to remove it from the tin. The third time I tried to adapt and make muffins but they just spilled all over the pan and failed to rise.
    1st Sep, 2019
    I made this cake but was somewhat disappointed at the way it looked. Taste wise it was out of this world. However when testing with a knife to see if done, the top was crunchy and when I put in the knife it collapsed. So not nice to look at but trade was amazing. Could've been something I missed but posting comment in case others had same experience. Would've been five star had it not collapsed.


    Cian Graham's picture
    Cian Graham
    30th Nov, 2019
    how big is its radius, asking for my pet tin
    2nd Dec, 2019
    Please tell your pet tin the radius is 10cm.
    BeccaJayne80's picture
    19th Nov, 2019
    Hello there.. salted or unsalted butter?
    Kate AH's picture
    Kate AH
    8th Nov, 2019
    I forgot to add the bicarbonate soda- will this still turn out alright?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    10th Nov, 2019
    Thanks for your question. This will affect the rise but there is only a small quantity used and the recipe also contains self-raising flour. We'd say, it's not ideal but you should still get a fairly good result.
    30th Oct, 2019
    Could you freeze this cake before covering?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    2nd Nov, 2019
    Thanks for your question. Yes, you can freeze the cake sponges before is icing and decorating. All our freezing information appears next to the blue star above the nutritional information. We hope this helps in future.
    9th Sep, 2019
    I've made this cake a few times before, once cutting it in half, and twice using two cake tins. Would I be able to bake it in three cake tins and reduce the baking time, so I could have three layers without having to cut it, or would they be too thin and probably end up too dry?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    12th Sep, 2019
    Thanks for your question. You try could dividing the cake mixture into three but as you say, the layers may be a bit thin. You'd also need to reduce the cooking time to avoid overcooking and drying out the cake. We are unable to give exact timings without testing. The other options is to make as is and slice into three layers. If you do decide to give it ago, let us know how you get on.
    8th Jul, 2019
    I want to make this in a square 12" x 12" - how much more cake mixture will i need?


    Juliet Goldschmidt
    30th Nov, 2018
    What a deliciously morish cake! Amazing is not enough to describe it... The coffee cuts the extreme sweetness but you can barely notice the flavour. I was told by someone it was quite heavy and brownie like (which i totally loved about it!) so made it lighter by using only self raising flour, with spectacular results Tip1: use decaf cofee for a kid friendly version Tip2: replace the plain flour for self raising for a fluffier texture, works really well Tip3: its easier to cut the following day from baking
    7th Sep, 2018
    Amazing proper chocolate cake but here's 4 tips to help you make it even better and easier: 1) Use a bain-marie (i.e. a bowl over a pan of softly boiling water) to melt the chocolate and butter together. This prevents the chocolate from spoiling or splitting. Do the same when making the ganache. 2) Don't mix the coffee and water into the chocolate and butter. Oil and water don't mix well and are likely to split. Just add the coffee and water mixture later when you bind all the ingredients together. 3) Use 160g of each sugar. 200g is too much. 4) Leave the ganache to cool then whip with a whisk it to firm it up. It will then spread and hold beautifully. Enjoy the cake!
    14th Mar, 2018
    Consider less sugar as way too sugary
    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


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