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

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    30th Mar, 2018
    Just made this as my Easter Cake... I’m no master baker but it came out perfectly. I cooked it in one loose bottom tin for 1 hr 20 I think it could of been reduced by at least 5 - 10 min. I only cut it into two but was plenty deep enough for three. I used Lidl plain fair trade 60% chocolate, reduce both sugars to 160g each & made my own butter milk by adding 1tbls malt vinegar to the milk. Let it cool in the tin, I found it really easy to handle. Made the ganache to the recipe & decorated with mini eggs & malteser bunnies.
    14th Mar, 2018
    I made this and overall it turned out ok following instructions. However there is way too much sugar in this recipe and was far too sweet. I have a sweet tooth but I may as well have been eating pure sugar! There is double the sugar than flour/fat etc which isnt usual. I will be trying this recipe again cutting down the sugar as it was a nice chocolate cake that tasted of chocolate which is difficult to come by.
    Mercedes Bull's picture
    Mercedes Bull
    7th Mar, 2018
    I made this Cake for my Cousin's Birthday and it went down a treat! It is much more Brownie like in consistency. For the ganache, I mixed equal parts Dark Chocolate with Milk Chocolate. For decoration, I used a combination of Cadbury's Flake (crushed) and fresh Strawberries! I would be careful not to refrigerate this as I stupidly did and it went very hard and chewy!
    4th Mar, 2018
    Fell apart when moving it onto the cake stand. Looked a mess. A beautiful and delicious mess but a mess nevertheless. I baked in 2 tins (40-45mins) , so perhaps baking in one tin for the full1.5hrs makes it a bit dryer and hence less likely to fall apart. If I made this again, I’d make it in a bigger square tin, and glaze it with ganache just on the top (after it’s been moved onto the cake stand). But as others have said - the taste is incredible!
    3rd Mar, 2018
    Iv'e made this cake about 5 times. If you like chocolate, this recipe is first class. Iv'e even made it with milk chocolate and it works but in my opinion dark chocolate is just right. I also used bourneville because I like the taste.
    1st Mar, 2018
    Brownie...cake... who cares, it's delicious! Easy to make and even easier to eat:-)
    4th Feb, 2018
    This is a 5 star ++++ cake. Just the best. It's a pleasure to make and a joy to eat.
    28th Jan, 2018
    I've made this lots of times, still the best chocolate cake recipe out there. I keep it simple and just cut in half. Rich and gloriously moreish. You won't go wrong with this one.
    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.


    21st Jul, 2017
    Hi, Can I reduce the amount of a sugar but keeping the other ingredients the same amount in this recipe? Thanks.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    31st Jul, 2017
    Unfortunately changing the quantities in cake recipes will affect the outcome so we would not recommend reducing the sugar. We have a low sugar chocolate cake recipe here which you could cover in ganache as an alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/squidgy-chocolate-sandwich-cake
    15th Jul, 2017
    It's me again... sorry, it's not sugar paste but fondant I want to cover the cake with! The translator mistranslated!!!
    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.


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