Food | Fresh Slice – The perfect chocolate cake fit for any occasion

Long have I been searching for the chocolate cake recipe that ticks all the boxes, that isn’t dry or disappointingly under risen. Long have I been searching for that one recipe that is outrageously calorific, but most obviously worth it. Last week, I was given the task of making my flatmate’s favourite cake for her birthday, so I was a just little worried.

However, I need not have underestimated BBC Good Food’s ‘Ultimate Chocolate Cake’ recipe, deemed fit ‘for any excuse’. This cake is deeply chocolaty, fudgy, and most devilish indeed, suitable for those of sweet teeth and strong arteries.


For the Sponge

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids
  • 200g butter
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk (5 tbsp)
  • grated chocolate or curls, to decorate

For the Ganache

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, as above
  • 284ml carton double cream (pouring type)
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar


  1. Line two 20 cm cake tins, with either baking parchment or foil. The, preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3.
  2. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a heavy-based pan, adding 200g of butter cut into pieces. Tip in the chocolate. Mix 1 tsp instant coffee granules into 125ml of cold water and pour into the pan.
  3. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted. Make sure you don’t overheat the mix.
  4. While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps.
  5. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, lightly heat 75ml of full fat milk in the microwave, until it is just warm. Add a dash or lemon juice, which will make it curdle slightly, and leave to cool for a minute.
  6. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency.
  7. Pour this into the two tins, and bake for 45 minutes. To test the cakes are cooked through, insert a scewer and see if it comes out clean. If it doesn’t, give your cakes a little longer.
  8. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  10. Leave to cool in the fridge, so it can firm up a little.
  11. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake, smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate as you wish!

For the occasion, I garnished the outside of the cake with chocolate fingers, adding a pink ribbon and flowers for a finishing touch. For you own indulgence, this is obviously not necessary; though of course, I won’t stop you from adding any more chocolate. That would go against my own principles.

 Katie Dawtry

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