Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

Everyone needs a go-to chocolate cake and this is mine. It’s easy to make, pretty speedy and very delicious. If you’re in a bind and need to knock up a cake quick-smart, have a crack at this; it requires minimal shopping and provides maximum glory.


Quantity Ingredient

For the cake

Quantity Ingredient
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tins
125g dark chocolate, (70 per cent cocoa solids)
2 teaspoons instant coffee
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs
200g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

For the ganache and topping

Quantity Ingredient
500g dark chocolate, (70 per cent cocoa solids)
500ml double cream
fresh raspberries, (optional)

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
2 20 cm round sandwich tins
electric whisk
wire cooling rack
cake-cutting wire, (optional)
offset palette knife


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut baking parchment discs for the bases of 2 x 20 cm round sandwich tins. Butter the tins and lay the papers in.
  2. Break the dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of water on a medium-low heat (the bowl should not touch the water). Once melted, set aside until cool, but not set. Mix the coffee with 3 tablespoons of boiling water and set aside to cool.
  3. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until light and creamy. Thoroughly beat in each egg, one by one. If the mixture starts to split, add 1 tablespoon of the flour to bring it back.
  4. Sift in the rest of the flour, the cocoa powder and baking powder, then fold them in. Be gentle, but make sure the mixture is fully combined, including any flour at the bottom of the bowl. Pour in the melted chocolate and the coffee and fold in. Divide the batter between the prepared tins, smooth it out and bake for 18–20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the ganache by breaking the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as it’s boiling, tip it into the chocolate and mix. Leave to cool.
  6. Check that each cake is cooked by poking a cocktail stick into the centre: if it comes out clean then it’s cooked; if it’s got cake mix on it, give the cake another 2 minutes before testing again. Take out and set on a wire rack. Once cool enough to touch, pop the cakes out of the tins and return to the rack to fully cool.
  7. Cut each cake in half, either by using a cake-cutting wire or a long serrated knife. Save the prettiest layer for the top and set the bottom layer on a plate or cake board. Spread a layer of ganache on the bottom layer, then gently press the next layer on. Build the rest of the layers up, then cover the entire cake with the remaining ganache using a palette knife. Add the raspberries to the top of the cake, if you want. Leave the ganache to set, then eat.


  • This recipe has a level 1 (beginner) difficulty.


  • You can use this basic recipe to build chocolate structures and multi-layered cakes. I like to cover the top in raspberries – the sharpness balances the rich chocolate – but top it with whatever you like; try sprinkles, or other fruits.

    Cover the cake with the simple ganache in this recipe, or chocolate buttercream.

    You can up the coffee content to 5 teaspoons, stick some chocolate-covered coffee beans on top and make it into a mocha cake.
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