This is my all-time favorite and easiest chocolate cake! It’s a one bowl cake that barely needs any tools (just a hand whisk, measuring tools, and your baking tin!) and I am so excited to share with you all my secrets and tricks to make this the only chocolate cake recipe you will ever need. This recipe is for the base of the cake sponge but I will add more ideas as we go on how to use it for multiple types of cakes such as layer cakes, loaf cakes, chocolate tiramisu cakes, bundt cakes. And, I have added my ingredients list in both metric measurements and cups to make it easy for you in case you don’t have a kitchen scale. However, make sure you know how to measure correctly with measuring cups and spoons.
Ingredients (for one loaf tin or one 20 cm round tin):
- 125 g (1 cup) All-Purpose Flour
- 225 g (1 cup) Sugar
- 50 g (1/2 cup) High Quality Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk (or 125 ml (1/2 cup) full-fat milk and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice)
- 60 g (1/4 cup) butter, unsalted (or 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil)
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon espresso coffee
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
For the Ganache (optional):
- 230 g dark chocolate (55% cocoa solid)
- 230 g (1 cup) heavy whipping cream
- 30 g runny honey (optional)
- Make sure all your ingredients (except the boiling water) are at room temperature by taking them out of the fridge at least one hour before using them.
- Using boiling coffee in a chocolate cake brings out a deeper chocolate flavor. Make sure you dissolve your coffee in boiling water before adding it to the cake.
- In my opinion, the most important ingredient for an amazing chocolate cake is buttermilk. Using buttermilk instead of milk adds some acidity to the cake, which enhances the chocolate richness. It also gives you a very moist and soft texture hat keeps really well. Finally, it tenderizes the gluten. The acidity comes from the lactic acid present in buttermilk. If you don’t have any buttermilk, add some lemon juice (quantities listed in the ingredients) to full-fat milk and mix well, then let it sit for 5 minutes at room temperature until it thickens.
- In addition, buttermilk acts as a leavening agent. The rise of this cake will depend on the reaction of the acid (buttermilk) with the base (bicarbonate of soda) which produces Carbon Dioxide gas. You don’t need to add any baking powder, which is by the way a mix of bicarbonate of soda (base) and cream of tartar (acid).
- You don’t need to add any vanilla extract to a chocolate cake so that you don’t take away from the chocolate flavor. But make sure to use high quality Dutch processed cocoa powder for the best taste.
- A bit of salt in any bake balances the sweetness from the sugar out. It is best to use unsalted butter then add however much salt you would like to add.
- You can replace the butter with vegetable oil (make sure you’re using oil that doesn’t have any strong flavor) and that will give you a moister cake and will help it keep better in the fridge.
- Don’t overbeat your cake batter, otherwise you’ll develop the gluten and you will end up with a tough and chewy cake.
- Don’t be tempted to open your oven during the first 20 minutes of baking, to give your batter the chance to set and avoid sinking. After that, you can check for doneness using a toothpick. It should come out clean with a tiny bit of chocolate cake sticking to it.
- For a 1L loaf tin or a 20 cm (8inch) round tin: 1x chocolate cake.
- For 2 x 20 cm round tins or for a deep 20 cm round tin or 3 x 15 cm (6 inch): 2 x chocolate cake.
- The ganache is typically a 1 to 1 ratio of chocolate to whipping cream, plus some invert sugar (liquid sugar) like golden syrup or honey to add some richness to it.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
2. Grease and line your tin with baking parchment, leaving some of it overhanging to make sure you can easily take your cake out after it is done baking.
3. Place all dry ingredients (except the coffee) in a large bowl and give it a quick whisk with a hand whisker to make sure everything is combined and sifted.
4. In a microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter for about 1 minute. Add-in the boiling water and the espresso and mix well with a fork. Once the coffee is dissolved, add the buttermilk and the egg and mix again until everything is combined.
5. Mix wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk by hand until just combined.
6. Transfer everything into your prepared tin and bake at 180C (350F). A loaf tin or a deep tin will take between 40-45 minutes. 20 cm cake tins should take between 25-30 minutes. 15 cm cake tins will take between 20-25 minutes.
7. Once your cake is risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool inside the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack. Wait until your cake is completely cool before cutting it into layers or spreading any ganache on top.
For the Ganache:
1. Put the chocolate in a bowl.
2. Heat the cream and honey into a pan at low temperature, mixing often, until the mixture comes to a boil.
3. Slowly add the cream mixture to the chocolate, stirring from the middle outwards to create a smooth shiny consistency.
4. Let it set for at least 10 minutes at room temperature or longer before spreading in between your layers and on top of your cake . You could also whip it using an electric whisk for a chocolate whipped cream effect!