Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1282 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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    polly put the k...
    20th Jun, 2020
    This is the most delicious thing I have ever made. Didn't have enough butter so used some coconut oil to make the weight up, lemon juice in milk substituted for buttermilk and used a tin of condensed milk, best cooking chocolate (lime green wrapper) and vanilla extract for the icing. Worked a treat, sealed over cracked top (couldn't wait to get it out of tin), smoothed out beautifully, stayed exactly where it was put and tasted (surprisingly) subtle and delicious. Made the cake in advance and it got more moist and more delicious for as long as it lasted! Thank you so much.
    11th Jun, 2020
    Oh yes. I made this cake for the first time today. I followed the recipe to the letter with the exception of substituting the Muscavado sugar with light brown soft sugar as I couldn’t find any. I used Lindt 70% Cocoa dark chocolate. Also, I baked it in two 20cm diameter sandwich tins, each 3cm deep for 50 minutes (lightly greased, disc of non-stick baking paper on base, greased and dusted tin with a little flour). The cake was light, the outside slightly crispy and the ganache was fudgey - absolutely delicious. Perfect warmed for a few seconds and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 10/10.
    Asia Str's picture
    Asia Str
    26th May, 2020
    It was okay but very dense. Also the chocolate ganache needs a lot more chocolate if you want it to harden a bit.
    3rd May, 2020
    Perfect. Thank you
    30th Apr, 2020
    Baked this for my MILs birthday, very pleased with the end result and it went down very well! My Husband had baked this for my birthday a few years ago, and both me and my MIL loved it then, so it was a no brainer. Not sure why there are a few negative reviews myself - Maybe some people don’t like really moist cake or maybe a baker error?! Followed the sponge recipe pretty much to the letter, one 20cm tin worked well, just had to leave in oven a bit longer. Cooled for a few hours before removing from tin. Cut in half (yes you have to be careful, but it does get covered with ganache if not) & made the ganache the next day. Reduced the cream in that, so wasn’t so runny and didn’t add the extra sugar. Looked and tasted fantastic if I do say so myself ;)
    27th Apr, 2020
    I made this cake for my own birthday. I followed the recipe exactly however I did make it in two tins. What can I say they were incredible the sponge was light and delicious. It melted in the mouth and had a beautiful combination of flavours as I made a vanilla butter cream for the middle between the two layers as I felt that a dark chocolate ganache would be too much on its own. I was also worried that the dark chocolate in the ganache would be too strong but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Overall best recipe because I usually don’t even like cake. Win win
    Abby's picture
    23rd Apr, 2020
    More of a brownie than a traditional cake. I split it into three tins in order to reduce cooking time, not sure what impact that would have on the cake texture but they came out almost with a hard sugar shell. I also put around 170g of sugar instead of the 200g as that seemed way too much. Used entirely self-raising and added some baking powder in an attempt to make a fluffier texture. Wouldn't make again but then again I did switch around the recipe a lot.
    21st May, 2020
    Wait so you didn’t follow the recipe - like at ALL - and you give it 2 stars? The cheek! By the way the recipe called for 400g sugar, not 170g. Jeez
    15th Apr, 2020
    My son chose to make this for a birthday cake and it was easy and fun to make. We made our own buttermilk substitute with milk and lemon juice. I would give this 5 stars for taste, it’s delicious, rich and fudgy. The chocolate ganache was far too runny though even after trying to cool it in the fridge and it turned out more like a brownie or fudge cake dessert than a birthday cake.
    Dyls's picture
    10th Apr, 2020
    Ps first time attempt I followed the recipe instructions to the dot, was ok and very successful. I left the cake base out uncovered for 2 days to dry slightly before to assemble it, it was easier then as it wasn't too crumbling. I also trimmed the edges to make it look neater.


    Adam Fawcett's picture
    Adam Fawcett
    5th Jun, 2020
    Can we use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate ? We’re making it for a child and his mum and dad, so don’t think he’d like dark ?
    lulu_grimes's picture
    8th Jun, 2020
    Hi, We haven't tested this with milk chocolate, if you use it in the cake it will have an impact on the flavour as milk chocolate doesn't give such a good flavour. Most cakes are made with dark chocolate for this reason, but if you want to change it then try using 100g of each. I've posted a recipe for a less intense dark chocolate cake below. For the icing, why not use this instead, it's much lighter. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/chocolate-fudge-icing https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/naughty-chocolate-fudge-cake Lulu
    Odhran McAteer's picture
    Odhran McAteer
    21st May, 2020
    Hi all, I am planning on making this cake for my brothers birthday next week but I only have two 8" cake tins. I've never really baked anything before so any advice on how this could be done would be greatly appreciated i.e. cooking times and temperature?? Thank you in advance :)
    I Luv Cake's picture
    I Luv Cake
    23rd May, 2020
    I always make in 3 8" tins, cook 30-35 mins. There will be to much mixture for 2 tins. It's easier to bake in seperate tins because its impossible to slice if baked whole.
    lulu_grimes's picture
    22nd May, 2020
    Hi Odhran, You could make this in two tins but as we haven't tested it I'm afraid that I can't be sure of the cooking time, it will be shorter. If you haven't really baked before you might want to use a recipe that will fit your tins and give you a better chance at a good outcome. This one is really good and we use it quite often https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/easy-chocolate-cake I hope this helps, Lulu
    Bruce Tyler's picture
    Bruce Tyler
    9th May, 2020
    Looks good but why use cocoa power when you are using the solid chocolate? I think that chocolate is a better and purer ingredient.
    lulu_grimes's picture
    12th May, 2020
    Hi Bruce, Chocolate and cocoa both add flavour in different ways, combining them makes a very strong and more complex chocolate flavour. Cocoa powder is made from ground cocoa solids and contains flavonoids, there are more of these in naturally processed cocoa powder than in darker Dutch processed powder. I hope this helps, Lulu
    3rd May, 2020
    Can I make this Gluten Free just by switching to GF Flour and adding some Xanthum Gum? Would it be the same weight in GF Flour and how much Gum would you say, 1 tsp?
    lulu_grimes's picture
    5th May, 2020
    Hello Jayne, I'm afraid that we haven't tested this with gluten free flour so we can't help you with exact amounts. It's a good cake recipe that I use often so if this is a swap that you have made with other cakes then it may work. Lulu
    Sera Grover's picture
    Sera Grover
    24th Apr, 2020
    Hi there I was thinking of making this cake for a birthday treat but I only have dark muscavado sugar instead of light muscavado sugar... would this be alright to use and how much should I use? As it’s darker...


    I Luv Cake's picture
    I Luv Cake
    23rd May, 2020
    I've baked this cake lots of times it never fails. Top Tip:- bake in 3 7" sandwich tins 30-35 mins. It is impossible to slice baked as a whole cake, it's very light.
    poodlequeen's picture
    16th Apr, 2020
    Super fudgey moist cake, utterly decadent, you can only eat a small slice but its delicious. Tip: Definitely ensure it cools before assembling. Also its so moist that it doesn't even need any sugar syrup before assembling. Will definitely make again.
    Selina Golamnobee
    9th Apr, 2020
    This cake comes out a little dense. However, with the few alterations I made it came out really yummy and tasty especially for chocolate lovers! 1.) I cooked it about 160 degrees fan for 60 minutes no way near the 1h30 minutes. Thankfully I checked on it within 60 minutes otherwise the cake would have been very dry or burnt! 2.) Cover the top with baking paper or foil to stop the top burning. 3.) I used two sandwich tins instead of trying to cut the cake horizontally into 3. After reading the comments about how crumbly the cake comes out when you try to cut it horizontally, I would recommend doing this too or just using the ganache over the entire cake as this equally comes out very rich and chocolatey. Hope that helps :)
    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


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