With light sponge, silky milk chocolate buttercream and glossy dark chocolate ganache, this decadent cake recipe is a chocolate lover’s dream – and a great way to learn new ways to bake with chocolate. Whether you have a birthday party or afternoon tea coming up – or you’re simply craving a wonderfully chocolatey treat – this showstopping chocolate cake won’t let you down.
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 300g caster sugar
- 90g cocoa powder
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 150ml semi-skimmed milk
- 120ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g milk cooking chocolate, cut into chunks
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 170g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ tbsp milk (optional)
- 150g classic 74% dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 150ml double cream
- Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins. Put the sponge ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well. Add 150ml boiling water and carefully whisk until combined. Divide the batter between the greased tins and bake on the middle shelf for 35-40 mins until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 15 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the buttercream, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Beat the butter, adding the icing sugar a little at a time until incorporated, then fold in the vanilla and melted chocolate. If the icing is stiff, add a little milk until loose enough to spread. Spread 1 sponge with two-thirds of the buttercream, then top with the second sponge. Using a palette knife, spread the sides with the remaining buttercream. It won’t completely cover the cake but will give a ‘naked cake’ style effect.
- For the ganache, put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small, heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat until just steaming then pour over the chocolate. Leave to melt for 1 min then gently mix together until the chocolate and cream are combined as a glossy ganache. Pour over the cake, encouraging it to drip down the sides with the back of a spoon or pallette knife. Leave to set at room temperature for 30 mins before serving, or cool for 15 mins, then chill in an airtight container for up to 2 days.