Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1194 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

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    27th Jan, 2018
    I have made this several times and it is delicious. I found it really tricky cutting the cake horizontally into 3, I have since cut it into 2 which is easier and the end result neater. I also found that there was too much ganache I halved this which was perfect when cutting into 2 layers. I replaced the chocolate curls with broken up Flake which looks fantastic and suits those who prefer milk chocolate. I don't buy buttermilk and replaced with a cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar.
    15th Jan, 2018
    Disappointed with this 'cake' as it was actually a brownie. Would be good if this was stated at the beginning of the recipe.
    3rd Mar, 2018
    I'm sorry to correct you but if you made it properly it would not be a brownie. Iv'e made this cake 5 times and it is without the best chocolate cake Iv'e made.
    13th Jan, 2018
    Made this for the first time 2 days ago for a colleagues leaving party- was declared the best chocolate cake ever! I followed the recipe exactly apart from the added sugar in the ganache, I also used warmed milk with a splash of lemon instead of buttermilk because I didn’t have any. Very delicious and very easy- my 7yr old did most of it.... making another for Home now!
    Julia Baverstock's picture
    Julia Baverstock
    7th Jan, 2018
    I made this cake for the first time as a birthday cake for my other half. I was worried when it came out of the oven looking like a top hat! The top seemed quite dry. However after trimming to make it flat I cut It in half... it was too crumbly to cut into three.... and sandwiched with the ganache which seemed quite runny and then decorated with maltesers and chocolate fingers. I needn't have worried this cake is amazing! Very moist much more like a large brownie to be honest and the panache did set....my other half and family loved it! I will definitely be making again.
    28th Dec, 2017
    Made this as a Christmas dessert alternative. A really easy and fool proof recipe - by fool proof, I mean I had put it in the oven when I realised I had forgotten to add the butter. I had melted the chocolate with the water and coffee and omitted to add the butter to the pan. I scooped it out of the tin and added the melted butter. The cake was still perfect and a huge hit. Making it again for New Year's Day!
    3rd Mar, 2018
    I did exactly the same thing, I've never forgotten the butter before. Fingers crossed I saved it in time.
    kitkatwitch's picture
    22nd Dec, 2017
    Made this cake for my sons birthday. Agree with other people that it is more of a giant brownie cake than a light a fluffy cake. I cooked as instructed but found that when it came to cutting in thirds I just couldn't see it happening. I cut it in half but still the top half broke apart. This wasn't a problem once the ganache was put on top. I omitted half of the sugar from the ganache, but would probably just use milk chocolate next time for a less dark chocolate bitter taste. Instead of curls I decorated with milk choc chips, chocolate stars, milky way stars and glitter. I will definately make this again.
    17th Dec, 2017
    This is my absolute go to cake and this year will be appropriately decorated as a Christmas cake. Easiest way to slice is to score gently round the circumference with a serrated knife and then pull dental floss ( non flavoured ) through the cake. Easy peasy.
    anca.lumei's picture
    6th Dec, 2017
    Worst part about the recipe is that they called it cake and set up wrong expectations. This is a sturdier brownie, that you can also slice and fill if you're so inclined and have the patience and skill to do it. At it's core, this is an easy-peasy brownie, that doesn't ask sugar and butter to be fluffed up, and flour to be gently folded in. You don't even need the pre-planning of taking butter out to soften to room temperature. It's as easy as making cake using a boxed mix. Tips: * 300g of total sugar in the cake is plenty * some American electric ovens refuse to go under 300F, so if you have one and use convection/fan, check on the cake earlier * sugar can be all white, but if you use some brown, make sure to sift the dried stuff and add any bigger sugar chunks to the melting chocolate so you don't end up with caramelized holes in the brownie * instant coffee + water can be 125ml of any watery liquid you want. This time I used a double espresso, diluted with Grand Marnier to make 125ml. Orange juice, rum, plain water, black tea, American coffee or anything similar would also work just as well. * if you don't plan on slicing and filling, a square brownie pan works perfectly for this * if you don't fill or cover it with ganache, keeping it in a tin/box out of the fridge is better


    goodfoodteam's picture
    17th Jul, 2017
    Thanks for your question. You can use this recipe, there's no need to store it in the fridge. Or, for a simpler alternative that's not so rich, you could try the following: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2005/fudgy-dark-chocolate-cake. Happy baking!
    14th Jul, 2017
    Hello! I want to make a birthday cake for my 3 year old and cover it with sugar paste to create Minnie's head... Can I use this recipe and can I leave this cake in room temperature or does it have to be stored in the fridge? Thanks a lot!
    9th Jul, 2017
    I followed everything but cake came out bitter , whys that please ? Any ideas?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    11th Jul, 2017
    Sorry to hear your cake didn't turn out well. If the cake tasted bitter, we'd put it down to chocolate with too high a cocoa content (it needs to be around 60%) or perhaps the type of coffee. It is a rich cake however so it's also possible it came down to taste.
    24th Apr, 2017
    This is my "go to" cake for family birthdays and I normally follow the recipe exactly save that I bake in two tins and then trim before sandwiching them together and icing. I would like to scale up for a and use a 25 cm square tin (or two 25cm square tins) - any tips as to suggested quantities/cooking times gratefully received, thank you!
    19th Mar, 2017
    Can you tell me what I did wrong please? I followed recipe exactly & have a good oven so know its not that..... when I went to take cake out of oven it had all sunk in middle very collapsed. Let it cool & when removing from tin kind of fell apart the centre all gooey and moist. What do you think I did wrong?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    27th Mar, 2017
    Sorry to hear your cake didn't work out. The cake definitely sounds like it was undercooked. There are a few reasons why this might have happened. Firstly, check that you are using the correct size tin and that the oven is fully up to temperature before putting the cake in. Avoid opening the oven door during cooking time as this lets the heat out of the oven and can cause the cake to collapse and not cook in the stated time. Make sure you test the cake with a skewer at 1 hr 25 mins, it should come out clean. If not, return the cake to the oven for 5 mins or if it's really gooey, then longer still. Hope that helps next time.
    5th Mar, 2017
    Hi, I'm wanting to use the recipe but in 6" sandwhich tins. How many layers do you think this mixture would make. If it's 3 layers in a 8" do you think it would make 4? Thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    10th Mar, 2017
    Thanks for your question. We haven't tested the recipe in 6 inch tins so can't give exact advice, however it should be enough to create 4 layers. You will need to reduce the cooking time too to account for the smaller size cakes.
    15th Nov, 2016
    I just took my cake out of the oven and it had barely risen. I followed the recipe exactly and was hoping for a lovely fudgy cake, i then left it to cool and it shrunk even more. Could you help me?


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