Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1180 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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    This is pro Vlogs's picture
    This is pro Vlogs
    31st May, 2019
    Brilliant! Just brilliant! Try this recipe out sometime! :-)
    6th May, 2019
    I've made this twice now and it's incredible. Both times I've used the same oven temperature but used sandwich tins and cooked it for 45 minutes, it was perfectly cooked. The first time, I used the exact ingredients as listed. The second time I needed to make it dairy and soya free, you wouldn't have been able to tell! For your interest, I used stork baking spread and dairy and soya free dark chocolate. To replace the sour cream, I used 75ml Oatly barista milk mixed with 1tsp lemon juice and left it to sit for half an hour. For the ganache, I melted 80g of Trex vegetable fat with 250ml Oatly single cream and used the same chocolate as above along with the sugar in the recipe. It was delicious!
    29th Apr, 2019
    Amazing chocolate cake......
    Rupert Chandler's picture
    Rupert Chandler
    17th Apr, 2019
    Exceptionally chocolatey cake, fantastic. Tried one as soon as came out of oven, we made as cup cakes.. SO intense and rich!! If you want a MONSTER chocolate cake this is the boy for you, if making as a big cake I think I'd just have whipped cream and maybe cherry preserve and go a Sacher Torte vibe.. It would be stunning! Used normal semi skimmed milk, golden caster sugar and self raising flour no plain.. 10/10
    8th Apr, 2019
    I don’t usually leave reviews but I felt I had to after making this cake. I haven’t baked a cake for decades and was a bit nervous beforehand. I followed the recipe exactly except for the following: I used 100g dark (Lindt) and 100g milk (dairy milk) chocolate for both the cake and ganache. I used 170g of both sugars as recommended by some previous reviews. I baked the cake for 1 hour 25 mins and it was perfect. It was a bit cracked at the top but this didn’t matter - next time I might take it out 5-10 mins earlier. Tips include: let the cake cool in the tin before putting on wire rack. Also I both greased and lined the cake tin. Cutting the cake was easy and I’ve never done it before....I used a serrated bread knife and cut it in two. I let it cool for around 90 mins before attempting this. It was fragile but not crumbly....it was a fully formed moist cake. The only thing that didn’t work so well was the ganache....it was SO runny (I left it to cool for around an hour in the fridge but it still formed a moat around the cake)! However this could be because I used ‘light’ rather than normal double cream plus I halved the sugar. Next time I would use normal double cream and let it cool for a few hours before pouring it on the cake. The cake is sooooo delicious and the recipe very easy to follow. I baked it for my husband’s birthday and he loved it (as well as my toddler son). Definitely recommend this recipe!
    24th Mar, 2019
    I made this cake yesterday for my son's 22nd birthday today. We've just had it warm with some vanilla ice-cream. It is absolutely divine, the best chocolate cake Ive ever had. Yes, it's rich so a small slice is probably all you need. I followed the recipe but after reading the reviews made a few changes: I used 150g of dark choc 70% and 50g milk choc for the cake. I divided the mixture between 2 20cm tins and baked for 45 mins, letting it cool in the tins before putting on a cooling rack. I reduced the sugars to 100 grams of each and it was still plenty sweet enough. I didn't sweeten the ganache at all and used 150g of 70% plain chocolate and 50g milk. I also reduced the double cream to 200mls and this worked well. I decorated with mini eggs (as its that time of year). Good luck with the recipe - I definitely recommend it
    LydiaLeavyJones's picture
    10th Mar, 2019
    Made this cake for my brother on his birthday- I decorated it with raspberries, chocolate flakes and icing sugar. It was delicious!!!
    7th Mar, 2019
    Tips: 1) Follow the ingredients exactly (the coffee can be safely left out but don't forget to still use the water the coffee is supposed to be dissolved in). 2) Make the cake the day before you need it - wrap in foil or put in an airtight tin and decorate it the following day. Allow plenty of time. 3) The raising agents and combination of ingredients are essential for it to be a sponge cake and to rise - proper Buttermilk is essential IMHO (Sainsbury's sell it fresh in pots - looks like cream pots). The raising agents are the self raising flour, the Bicarbonate of Soda - and the Buttermilk. It's also important to whisk the eggs and the buttermilk well (the recipe says to whisk them but doesn't say whisk them well) as this incorporates air. Also to use good quality chocolate so the rest of the ingredients caramelise and blend well together. I use the Lindt plain chocolate bars which are 70% cocoa. They are quite thin bars of chocolate so they break up easily into small pieces - there is plenty of sugar in the recipe so the chocolate isn't bitter at all. The Lindt bars are my go-to plain chocolate for cooking. I have become a big fan of buttermilk in cakes after using an American recipe a few years ago - it really makes cakes soft, light and spongy - which is why it's essential to this recipe to make it a cake rather than a Brownie (IMHO). My cakes rose beautifully and were perfect. I now substitute milk for buttermilk in most cake recipes. I wanted a smaller cake so made it in 2 x 7" loose bottomed sandwich tins - greased and lined. Filled the tins about 3/4 full - had some leftover mixture which I made a couple of buns with later. I took advice from another reviewer and cooked these at 150 degrees fan (instead of 140 degrees as the cakes aren't as deep in the sandwich tins) - checked after 40 minutes - they took just over an hour because I kept letting all the heat out of the oven every time I checked them :-) For the last 10 minutes I put foil over the top just in case they burned but it probably wasn't necessary. You can tell when they're nearly cooked as the cake shrinks from the side of the tin - but mine still needed a bit longer to have the "bounce back" when pressed on top - which is an easier indicater than the skewer - although test with a skewer as well. With two sandwich cakes you end up with two slightly crispy tops which is fine - but I sliced off one of the crispy tops when the cake was cold, for the bottom half of the sandwich. Once the cake is cold that is easy to do with a very sharp serrated bread knife, leaving the cake the right way up and coming at it from the side with the bread knife. This is the second time I have made this cake - and the buttermilk, correct flours and bicarb are important - as is the correct chocolate. The first time was ok with substitute buttermilk but didn't rise well and sunk in the middle. I used a thin layer of white chocolate ganache and a thin layer of blueberry jam in the middle. Both are quite mild flavours but contrast well with the intense chocolatiness. I usually use whipped cream and strawberries for fillings but wanted a change. For the topping I used Nigella's Chocolate Icing from her "birthday custard sponge" instead of the Ganache - it makes a lovely plain chocolate topping which looks just like ganache but children seem to prefer it - it's sweeter but less rich without the cream.
    4th Mar, 2019
    Wow .made this for my birthday such a lovely treat and a big hit to.I did knock 20gms each off both sugars 180grms. Next time will reduce sugar again .stayed lovely and moist and fudgie. Defo make again .also used half dark and half milk in the choclate mix just a cadbury and morrisons dark chocolate.
    27th Jan, 2019
    this is the first cake I've ever made. It was absolutely delicious. Just loved it. I decorated the top with strawberry slices and used Date molasses or Gur in place of the Muscovado sugar. thank you for this wonderful recipe. I shall be making it again and again and again !


    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.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    22nd Nov, 2018
    Thanks for your question. We would recommend using a 20cm cake tin as this will ensure that the cake comes out as in the recipe, and that you won't need to make adjustments. A 20cm round cake tin is one of the most commonly used, especially in our recipes, so it may be worth either getting one, or should be easy to borrow.
    24th Nov, 2018
    Thanks for coming back to me.
    21st Oct, 2018
    How the best to store this cake? I am planning to make it on Thursday and have it on Saturday for my daughter birthday. Should I keep it in he fridge? Some people say it then gets hard but if it’s not in the fridge will the Grenache be ok in the tin? Please recommend the best options.
    clovelly1's picture
    5th Sep, 2018
    Can this be frozen?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    6th Sep, 2018
    Thanks for your question. Yes, you can freeze this without the icing.
    28th Jul, 2018
    Can the cake be baked in two separate tins, if so what size please?


    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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