Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Sometimes chocolate cake can be a bit hit or miss. There is nothing worse than biting into a slice of chocolate cake only to find that it’s dry with just a hint of chocolate. A chocolate cake should be moist with a deep chocolatey flavour that punches you in the face and this ultimate chocolate cake recipe delivers on both fronts.

It’s not difficult to make the cake itself although it does require an extra couple of steps and ingredients compared to a standard chocolate cake. Believe me it’s worth the extra few minutes!

I made a double batch of icing. For the first batch of icing, I used white chocolate instead of dark and used this to fill the cake and give it a crumb coat. Then I used the dark chocolate icing to coat the edges and top of the cake. I mixed together leftovers from both batches to give paler brown colours and then popped them into icing bags with different tips to decorate the top. I also added a handful of Maltesers, just to make sure there was enough of a chocolatey hit. If you simply want to coat and fill the cake, you should only need a single batch of icing, see the notes in the recipe.

The great this about this cake is that it can and should be made a couple of days in advance as the flavours develop as time goes on. It doesn’t dry out, just keeps getting more delicious with each passing second. I made this cake two days in advance, stored it in an airtight cake tin and then iced it the next day so it was ready to go when I needed it. Definitely the ultimate chocolate cake in terms of flavour, texture and ease of putting together.

Chocolate cake with flowers piped on top

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Icing Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


For the cake

  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 175 ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 125 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 350 g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300 g plain flour
  • 125 ml soured cream at room temperature

For the cream cheese icing

  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 200 g white chocolate
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 2-4 tbsp icing sugar sifted
  • Handful Maltesers to decorate


For the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and grease and line 2 x 20.5cm sandwich tins.
  • Put the cocoa into a heatproof jug with the boiling water and mix until smooth. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cool.
  • Break up the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. Once melted, leave to one side to cool.
  • Beat the butter in a mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and then continue beating for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Whisk the eggs and vanilla with a fork until broken up and then gradually add to the butter mixture, beating after each addition.
  • Fold in the flour in three batches, alternating with the soured cream.
  • Mix the cocoa liquid into the melted chocolate, then fold into the cake mixture. Once combined and with no visible streaks, divide the mixture evenly between the two tins.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until risen and just firm, and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

For the cream cheese icing

  • Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over hot water. Once melted, leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add 250g of mascarpone plus a tablespoon or two of icing sugar to taste. Beat until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.
  • I used this batch of icing to fill and crumb coat the cake. I kept the leftovers to one side and used it later on to lighten the colour of the dark chocolate icing.
  • Melt the dark chocolate as above and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining mascarpone plus a tablespoon or two of icing sugar to taste. Beat until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.
  • I used this batch to ice the top and sides of the cake. I then piped flowers on top, using the leftover white mascarpone icing to gradually lighten the colour.


If you simply want to fill and coat the cake, you can just make a single batch of dark chocolate icing and it will be enough for a thin layer. I made an additional batch of white chocolate icing as per the recipe to make sure I had enough for piping the decorations.

For more cake inspiration have a look at my rainbow cake or chocolate orange cake.

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Hello, I'm Helena. Mum to two beautiful boys and wife to Mik. Born and bred in South Wales but now living in North East Scotland where I've given up my job as an engineer to be a stay-at-home Mum. I hope you enjoy following along with our parenting journey here.

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