Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1190 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 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
      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 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-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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    trinaz's picture
    7th Dec, 2015
    This cake went completely wrong. It was for my b'day and it sunk in the middle.. and when i poured the topping onto it ... the cake flopped and popped.. everywhere. It tasted like cake so it was ok .. but it was the presentation .. AWFUL..! Not fit for a dog to see. I was nearly in tears.. As i put so much effort into making this cake!!
    10th Nov, 2015
    This is cake is the favorive one for my family. I have been cooking it since 2012 every birthday of my doughter. It is not the easiest cake I have ever made, but It has a wonderful taste.Cake has a lot of cacao that I most like. I have just cooked it yesterday. And I had a big prolem with my cake. I should cuted the cake in tree pieces, but it wasn't possible because my knife clinged to cake. So I have cuted just in two pieces. And it cracked a little. I was stressed. After all I have done the birthday cake. But it was the last time I cooked it :) Any way I know it is the unique cake that I really like to eat, and everybody enjoy this dessert :)
    31st Oct, 2015
    Lovely cake, I increased the ingredients by half and make a spider cake for Halloween. Used the buttercream from the hedgehog cake, also on this site. Kids and adults all loved it.
    18th Oct, 2015
    This recipe is wonderful. I was really skeptical as it breaks a lot of my baking rules but it works really well, i didnt add the coffee as i dont like it and i couldnt find buttermilk and i couldnt believe i was adding water to melting chocolate but it worked and was really really nice, although didnt rise very well, need to sub plain flour for self raising!
    16th Oct, 2015
    can you please help me by answering that for how long do I need to preheat the oven at 140C/convection????
    18th Oct, 2015
    5 minutes
    11th Oct, 2015
    I had to register because I felt it was important that I comment to recommend this amazing cake! Wow! It has so much depth and richness the coffee tantalises your taste buds. I was afraid that it would make it bitter but no, it took it to another level and that is something coming from a non coffee lover! I despise the drink, just dont get it! Anyway I digress! Instead of using all dark chocolate as suggested I split with milk chocolate that contains at least 35% cocoa solids, as didn't want it to be too bitter! Also added butter and a tsp of vanilla extract to the ganache! (Might substitute the sugar with golden syrup next time hmmmm....) Due to baking at a low temperature the texture you get is somewhat like a pudding especially after you split and spread some of the ganache to the cake and then sandwich, I couldn't believe the awesomeness in my mouth, moist gooey delicious chocolate fudge pudding type cake! I tell you, there were fire works going off in my mouth, brain and body! Great Endorphins were most certainly released! Yumyummyummyummmmm!!!! I made chocolate twirls and grated bits, from making a white,dark and milk chocolate marble effect chocolate look, which gives a lovely effect and then dusted the cake with some coco and cinnamon (I just love cinnamon, can't get enough of the stuff) The instructions were clear and precise and I will be making this cake again using milk chocolate only to see what the outcome is might add a little rum to the ganache too....hehehehe there goes my diet! Lol Whatever the case is I strongly recommend this cake just bear in mind - good quality chocolate is important and also know your taste buds dark chocolate isn't for everyone and so modify a little to suit your palette!
    8th Oct, 2015
    Amazing recipe and a well explained one! It was my first ever attempt at baking and the recipe made the experience so easy and wornderful. I baked this cake yesterday for my husband's birthday and it turned out to be yummmmm! All my family and friends just loved it and couldn't believe it was baked at home! I just did a little tweaking here and there though....used 100 g dark chocolate and 100 g milk chocolate as I didnt want it to have an overwhelmingly dark choco bitter taste. I also used dessicated coconut dust with choco fruit and nut dust for the decoration. So, all in all - A MUST TRY for all Beginners!
    1st Oct, 2015
    This is a favourite at home and my husband LOVEs it! I sometimes put some milk chocolate instead of dark to turn the intensity down a little
    Star baker's picture
    Star baker
    29th Sep, 2015
    Mumm... very nice! I made it for George's 6th birthday cake! The whole family loved it, but it took a LONG time in the oven. It was all eaten before it was off! I Used 175g dark Chocolate and 300ml double cream for the icing, but the same amount of golden caster sugar.


    9th Sep, 2013
    Once the ganache is on the cake how is it best to store it? Will it be ok at room temp for a few days?? Thanks!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Clara, the cake will keep longer than the ganache so you can do this 4 or 5 days before. Wrap it well and keep in an airtight container. The ganache you can do 2 - 3 days before if you like although if you can do it on the day or the day before great. If you put the cake in the fridge, the ganache will harden and you may also get condensation which will spoil the sheen so keeping it in a cool place is better. Good luck!
    keri_thomas's picture
    5th Sep, 2013
    Has anyone tried making the ganache with white chocolate? Is that doable? I'm making a cake for my nieces and really want it to be as sweet as possible! :)
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Keri, yes you can make it with white chocolate - enjoy :-)
    Ellie255's picture
    31st Aug, 2013
    I've made this cake thousands of times and it has always tasted gorgeous! But several times it hasn't risen. It still tastes great but it tastes more like a brownie cake. The only problem is that I'm making this cake for a family celebration and I really need it to rise! Does anybody have any ideas to make it rise better? Please? Thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Ellie, It sounds like you're an experienced cake maker and it's strange this one hasn't behaved itself on a few occasions. There are some key rules to cake baking so you could take a look at the link below and see if any of them solve the mystery. We have also tested this recipe on numerous occasions and have always found it to be successful - so hopefully the tips below will help: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-cake-top-10-tips-success
    23rd Jun, 2013
    Hi I have made this cake using the 20cm cake tin as the recipe said and it turned out really well and tasted amazing. I want to make the cake again but using an 10 inch square cake tin and was wondering if anybody could help me scale the cake up for this as I'm not to sure how. Thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Sammy, We haven't tested this recipe in a 10" so can only make a recommendation. As suggested below, we'd say double the recipe and increase the cooking time to around 2 hours (check after 1hr 45 mins). Good luck with it.
    21st Aug, 2013
    it will be fine i doubled the recipe and it worked but there may be spare mix


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