29. The ultimate chocolate cake


200g dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids
200g Butter, cut in pieces
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
85g self-raising flour
85g plain flour
0.25 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
200g light muscovado sugar
200g golden caster sugar
25g Cocoa powder
3 medium Eggs
75ml Buttermilk
1 handful chocolate curls, or grated chocolate, to decorate

For the ganache:
200g dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids, as above
284ml double cream, (pouring type)
2 tbsp golden caster sugar


1. Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3. Break the chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Tip in the butter, then mix the coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted - don't overheat. Or melt in the microwave on medium about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.

2. While the chocolate is melting, mix the two flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugars and cocoa in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the buttermilk.

3. 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. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes - if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don't worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don't worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

4. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop the chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour the cream into a pan, add the 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.

5. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.