Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1277 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

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    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.
    1st Sep, 2019
    Made this cake for my son's birthday. It turned out perfectly, so moist and fudgy. I used the exact ingredients (dark cooking chocolate from Morrisons with 56% cocoa solids worked well) and will definitely make again without changes to those. From reading the reviews was a bit nervous about cutting, but made sure the cake was completely cool before doing. Although I cut in half rather than into three as didn't think that was a risk worth taking! There was enough ganache for filling and icing and again if you follow the ingredients and recipe for this you won't go wrong.
    Neil Andrews's picture
    Neil Andrews
    18th Aug, 2019
    Made this today , but wish I'd viewed comments first. I found the cake near impossible to cut in half without it crumbling so should definitely of used sandwich tins instead. Also it tasted more like a chocolate brownie rather than a cake. It did taste nice though with the ganache used as a dipping sauce (I used an extra 50ml of cream to stop it setting firm)
    5th Jan, 2020
    Freezing the cake so it is firmer, but not solid, makes it tonnes easier to cut as it doesn't crumble
    mrs.grimshaw's picture
    23rd Jul, 2019
    Great recipe. Creates a really intense, rich, moist chocolate cake. The recipe is very easy to follow. It went down very well with all my work colleagues.


    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?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    11th Jul, 2019
    Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we can't give exact measurements or timings without retesting.
    7th Feb, 2019
    Do you gave a version with US measurements/ingredients/oven temperature?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    7th Feb, 2019
    Thanks for your question. We don't have a US version on this site but if you use an online conversion guide, it is possible to make the switch. Good luck!
    3rd Dec, 2018
    I love this cake but I'm wanting to make more of it for my daughter's first birthday party. If I follow the standard recipe and then tweak it to bake another smaller one to put on top, can the cake hold it up if I use dowling/straws? Not built a tiered cake before...
    goodfoodteam's picture
    3rd Dec, 2018
    Thanks for your question. The cake should be strong enough to hold one more small tier, especially with cake dowels. We'd recommend layering the cake and then putting ganache on the whole thing in one go for the best finish.
    13th Dec, 2018
    Fantastic thank you!


    19th May, 2016
    Hi @missburns, Hope you see this post soon. Do I have to adjust the other ingredients when I change the flour quantity? I was thinking of trying with 125g each as I want a more spongey but still very rich texture, would that work? I'm still an amateur at baking. Thanks in advance! :)
    27th Jun, 2013
    This cake is great but make sure you use nice chocolate. Some quality, high-cocoa chocolate has a very strong, distinctive flavour (especially single origin chocolate), and this gives all the flavour to the cake so may not be to everyone's taste. Lidl do 66% dark chocolate that is perfect for this recipe.


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