Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1216 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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    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
    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.
    23rd Jun, 2019
    Note I'm giving this 5 stars if you dramatically cut the sugar down! I used 140 of each and it was so sugary I had to throw it out. Next time I'll use 80 of each and see how that works out. Amazing recipe though like a giant brownie but deffo make in two tins if you're going to sandwich
    11th Jun, 2019
    I made this cake for the first time for a birthday party and it turned out perfectly. I froze it immediately after baking (once it was completely cool), and the night before the party, I defrosted it, and then iced it with the ganache in the morning. Very easy recipe, which I followed to the letter. The hardest part was cutting the cake in half, as it is quite delicate. Next time, I think I'll make it in two sandwich tins and reduce the baking time.
    This is pro Vlogs's picture
    This is pro Vlogs
    31st May, 2019
    Brilliant! Just brilliant! Try this recipe out sometime! :-)


    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!
    20th Nov, 2018
    Hi. I'm going to try this this weekend to see if it will work for Christmas. I only have 23cm or 17cm springform tins though. Will it still work /rise properly? Thanks for any help.


    26th Mar, 2015
    Warm a slice in the microwave for a few seconds - lush!
    1st Dec, 2014
    How To Make Chocolate Cake – Pointers To Consider Once you have mastered the art of baking and know how to make chocolate cake, there are few things you need to take into account. For example some people are vegetarians and do not eat eggs, so you will need to prepare Eggless cakes for them. Many people even don’t like having sour cream or butter. So what you can do is have some substitutes in place of the eggs like rice flour. However if you use rice floor, be prepared for the cake batter to remain thin. The other thing is to make sure that the cake recipe is followed properly and the teaspoonful or tablespoonfuls of the ingredients are taken in the right amount. So now that you have some idea of how to make chocolate cake, wow your friends with your baking prowess! info taken from: http://www.howtomakechocolatecake.org/make-chocolate-cake-cool-tips/
    19th Oct, 2014
    I baked this for my brother's birthday the other day. Everyone was thrilled by it! I should say I changed couple of things. - Good I had my eye on and took it out of the oven after 1 hour, otherwise it would have been a burned mess, even after just 1hr I noticed dry edge, but that was ok and fixable. - I used 6 tbsp of milk instead of buttermilk. - I don't know how it is possible to cut to 3 layers, I just made 2 layers. It was a bit flaky to be cut to 3 layers. - For the filling I used 200gr whipped cream mixed with part of dark melted chocolate. sprinkled with chopped walnut and hazelnut inside and out. - Unfortunately there was no brown sugar, so I used regular. For my taste it was a bit too much, next tie will use half or 3/4 portion. - I used 70% dark chocolate which somehow gave a feeling of alcohol in it, but there was none. way to go recipe, everyone loved-loved it! it tastes even better the next day, well if any piece is left. for us tehre was just a tiny piece for the morning
    2nd Oct, 2014
    be patient with this if your in a hurry and need it in hour or so then dont bother try to do it the night before or as i did in the morning as didnt need till evening but it is worth the wait
    27th Jun, 2014
    The result was very light and fragile. If you're going to use a filling, I'd suggest the sandwich method rather than cutting it horizontally. I replaced part of the chocolate with After Eights to give a mint flavour. Worked well. Gave a big chocolaty hit and nice moistness.
    11th May, 2014
    For an extra special & fun topping try covering the top with the contents of your favourite box of chocolates or chocolate treats. Use a little ganache to help them stay in place :)
    17th Apr, 2014
    This cake works just as well using cadbury's chocolate. I've also used this recipe and made it into muffins. Don't fill the cases more than 3/4 full as they will overflow. I baked them at 140c for 50 mins. Don't check before 40 mins otherwise they will sink. These turned out delicious! The texture is like a really soft brownie (not gooey, just right!) and the top is lovely and chewy. No need for a ganache topping as it's perfect as it is! I think this is the best chocolate cake I've ever come across. If you want a more spongey texture then put 200g of self-raising flour and 200g of plain flour in instead of 85g of each. Only tried this in a cake tin but it turned out to be a real winner.
    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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