Ultimate chocolate cake topped with chocolate curls

Ultimate chocolate cake

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(1215 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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    11th Feb, 2016
    I have made about three cakes in my life including this one. This is a very easy to follow recipe and fun to make, I got my boys involved in the mixing (and tasting). A lovely cake, very rich and moist and it went down a treat on my wife's birthday.
    6th Feb, 2016
    Not very happy with this recipe. Followed it exactly. Took two hours to cook and then fell apart when trying to ice it. Also the icing was very strong, and didn't taste great at all. Wont be using this recipe again.
    5th Jan, 2016
    So very disappointed with this cake. After the massively high ratings I've never had such a disastrous sickly, heavy, wet cake. I had to throw it away....a terrible waste of expensive ingredients. I followed the recipe stringently apart from the ganache which I did half milk/ half dark chocolate. But after hours of cooling at room temp, in the fridge and even in the freezer, the only way I could get it to come close to setting was to whip it. But that didn't help the fact that the cake was so heavy and stogy it wasn't edible. It was more like a chocolate torte. I also had to cook it for a lot longer but that might be my oven. A wasted afternoon and ruined 40th birthday cake. I'd rate this badly if I was able to but it's not giving me the option to...hhhm!
    4th Jan, 2016
    Absolutely love this recipe. Made it so many times over the last 5 years and everyone loves it. My daughter calls it 'Death by Chocolate'
    20th Dec, 2015
    I have made this cake 4 times in 4 weeks for various occasions. It is the best chocolate cake ever! I do half Dairy Milk, half dark choc for the cake and also half half for the ganache. The cake is so deliciously moist - definitely pudding-worthy - can serve on its own or with ice cream. I cut my cake in half or three using a wire cake cutter (only £3.50 on ebay). The top cracks when in the oven so I coat with ganache and then decorate with chocolate curls so no one knows! I melt chocolate and then spread over the back of a baking tray (pre-chilled in freezer) and then wait for a bit to use a cheese slice over the chocolate to create curls/flakes. Experiment with the timing for the curls - you don't want to grate too early or too late! I also like to line both the bottom and the sides of the cake tin with baking parchment to ensure a clean edge for the ganache. This cake is certainly not the quickest or easiest cake to make but it is SO WORTH IT!
    19th Dec, 2015
    I followed the recipe exactly as far as ingredients go but made the cake in a silicone bundt mould. It took about 90 minutes to bake & rose almost to the top of the mould but it turned out perfectly. I don't like cake filings or coverings as I find them too sickly so I just dusted my cake with a little bit of icing sugar and decorated it with some of those festive edible cake decorations. I made the cake yesterday and served it today. It is beautifully moist and very tasty....not too sweet either considering the amount of sugar that went into it. Definitely not good for the waistline but certainly a delicious treat.
    trinaz's picture
    7th Dec, 2015
    This cake went completely wrong. It was for my b'day and it sunk in the middle.. and when i poured the topping onto it ... the cake flopped and popped.. everywhere. It tasted like cake so it was ok .. but it was the presentation .. AWFUL..! Not fit for a dog to see. I was nearly in tears.. As i put so much effort into making this cake!!
    10th Nov, 2015
    This is cake is the favorive one for my family. I have been cooking it since 2012 every birthday of my doughter. It is not the easiest cake I have ever made, but It has a wonderful taste.Cake has a lot of cacao that I most like. I have just cooked it yesterday. And I had a big prolem with my cake. I should cuted the cake in tree pieces, but it wasn't possible because my knife clinged to cake. So I have cuted just in two pieces. And it cracked a little. I was stressed. After all I have done the birthday cake. But it was the last time I cooked it :) Any way I know it is the unique cake that I really like to eat, and everybody enjoy this dessert :)
    31st Oct, 2015
    Lovely cake, I increased the ingredients by half and make a spider cake for Halloween. Used the buttercream from the hedgehog cake, also on this site. Kids and adults all loved it.
    18th Oct, 2015
    This recipe is wonderful. I was really skeptical as it breaks a lot of my baking rules but it works really well, i didnt add the coffee as i dont like it and i couldnt find buttermilk and i couldnt believe i was adding water to melting chocolate but it worked and was really really nice, although didnt rise very well, need to sub plain flour for self raising!


    29th Sep, 2013
    Ive made this as two tiers on a 4 tier wedding cake. Make sure you use dowling to support it, but it works incredibly well. Other tip - coat with a thin layer of marzipan to prevent the chocolate bleeding into pale icing
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Sue, As we haven't tested this cake in different sizes we can only give you a rough estimate. For a 12 inch cake, we'd suggest tripling the recipe and cooking for around 2 - 21/2 hours - probably closer to 2 1/2. Check the cake after 2 hours to give you an idea of how much longer it'll need. You my want to do a test run beforehand. Hope that helps!
    27th Sep, 2013
    Thank you. Will let you know if it turns out ok.
    9th Sep, 2013
    Once the ganache is on the cake how is it best to store it? Will it be ok at room temp for a few days?? Thanks!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Clara, the cake will keep longer than the ganache so you can do this 4 or 5 days before. Wrap it well and keep in an airtight container. The ganache you can do 2 - 3 days before if you like although if you can do it on the day or the day before great. If you put the cake in the fridge, the ganache will harden and you may also get condensation which will spoil the sheen so keeping it in a cool place is better. Good luck!
    keri_thomas's picture
    5th Sep, 2013
    Has anyone tried making the ganache with white chocolate? Is that doable? I'm making a cake for my nieces and really want it to be as sweet as possible! :)
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Keri, yes you can make it with white chocolate - enjoy :-)
    Ellie255's picture
    31st Aug, 2013
    I've made this cake thousands of times and it has always tasted gorgeous! But several times it hasn't risen. It still tastes great but it tastes more like a brownie cake. The only problem is that I'm making this cake for a family celebration and I really need it to rise! Does anybody have any ideas to make it rise better? Please? Thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Sep, 2013
    Hi Ellie, It sounds like you're an experienced cake maker and it's strange this one hasn't behaved itself on a few occasions. There are some key rules to cake baking so you could take a look at the link below and see if any of them solve the mystery. We have also tested this recipe on numerous occasions and have always found it to be successful - so hopefully the tips below will help: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-cake-top-10-tips-success
    23rd Jun, 2013
    Hi I have made this cake using the 20cm cake tin as the recipe said and it turned out really well and tasted amazing. I want to make the cake again but using an 10 inch square cake tin and was wondering if anybody could help me scale the cake up for this as I'm not to sure how. Thanks


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