Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1226 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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    Kevin Palmer's picture
    Kevin Palmer
    15th Mar, 2020
    Hi, I have made this cake twice in the last week. The first time the middle of the cake bubbled and crusted over stopping the cake rising evenly all over, the sides rose but the middle stayed where it was and it looked like a volcano crater. I thought it might be the oven too hot on the fan setting so I tried today with the oven on conventional mode and I have had exactly the same result, crusty middle and not risen with the sides rising creating a crater. I never normally have problems with cakes any help would be much appreciated
    2nd Mar, 2020
    Made this cake twice now....first time it was a utter failure...have no reason why...anyway undeterred I gave it another go....anyway after reading a few tips on the comments...I left it in the fridge overnight and managed to get it sliced into 3...ok the top slice fell apart a little nothing to major that the ganache wouldn't cover.....didnt do the chocolate curls as I didn't have the time....so threw some white chocolate chips over the top....rather nice......will defiantly make this again
    Matthew christian's picture
    Matthew christian
    22nd Feb, 2020
    This is a great cake, I used a larger tin as it was all I had available so it turned out a little shallower so I could only make two layers, I'm not sure if this was the reason why it was slightly more like fudge cake or not but it was still delicious. It was still good after 5 days. You only need a small slice which is why I guess it says 14 slices ha!
    Mary Moylan's picture
    Mary Moylan
    15th Feb, 2020
    Stunning cake! I am a first time commenter of Good food but this cake is worth it!! Absolutely delicious. I have yet to make the ganash as didn't have the time, but this cake will be made again very soon.
    11th Feb, 2020
    This cake is amazing! Third time making it in the last month - two for Sunday dinner dessert and one for a work do - the actual ‘prep’ time is only 15 minutes, no need for any electric beaters or whisks either. 1 hr 30mins exactly in the oven at 160 degrees C works for me, using a 20cm diameter TALL cake tin (this cake will rise, so make sure you’re using a tall tin). A loose-bottom cake tin will help you push the cake out once it’s fully cooled without it crumbling. You can’t taste the coffee in the final cake (I was worried) but it helps bring out the taste of the chocolate, so don’t leave it out. I don’t bother cutting into three, or even in half, as the cake is so moist and fudgey I don’t think it needs it. Served with double cream for pouring over, to rave reviews all round.
    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.


    Danielle Cheffings's picture
    Danielle Cheffings
    11th Feb, 2020
    This cake is amazing! Have made it many times for birthdays now. My question is - I want to make this into a chocolate explosion cake with kitkats all around the sides so it needs to be taller - is the cake strong enough for me to make 2 and layer them one on top of the other? OR would it be better to just use 3 6" sandwich tins as it's not for a huge amount of people? How long would you recommend to cook them for? Thanks
    CassieBest's picture
    12th Feb, 2020
    Hi Danielle Cheffings, We haven't tested this cake with extra layers or in smaller tins, so can't say if it would work. We do have another recipe which may be more suitable (this is the same cake base, decorated in different ways. It's a personal favourite, really moist and lasts very well) - https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/gravity-defying-sweetie-cake or https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cookies-cream-party-cake I hope that helps, Cassie (Senior Food Editor,BBC Good Food)
    Danielle Cheffings's picture
    Danielle Cheffings
    15th Feb, 2020
    Thank you :)
    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.


    11th Feb, 2020
    My top tip is to make sure you use a loose-bottom or a spring form TALL cake tin, otherwise you might have issues with the cake crumbling when you try to remove it from a solid tin.
    mi cooking's picture
    mi cooking
    1st Feb, 2020
    Amazing every time!! I recommend baking this in sandwich tins, when you don't need to slice it, just stack up and enjoy! Also, sandwich tins bake in half an hour or so (do check with a pin) so it's both quicker and easier. Also, I use milk choc in ganache, as most of our family prefer milk chocolate.Don't add the sugar with milk chocolate, as it is only needed to reduce bitterness of dark chocolate.
    Danielle Cheffings's picture
    Danielle Cheffings
    15th Feb, 2020
    Hiya have you ever cooked this in 6 inch sandwich tins to make a taller cake? Xx
    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.


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