Step-by-step chocolate cake


Try this step-by-step recipe to attain chocolate cake perfection.


  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) water
  • 100g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (30g) almond meal
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • Pink and silver cachous, to decorate


  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125g) creme fraiche


  • Step 1
    Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the base and side of an 18cmround (base measurement) cake pan.

  • Step 2
    Place the butter, coffee, water, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until butter and chocolate melt and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

  • Step 3
    Transfer mixture to a bowl. Sift the combined flours and cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and add the almond meal. Use a balloon whisk to gently fold the flour into the chocolate mixture. Add the egg and stir to combine.

  • Step 4
    Pour cake mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 30 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Step 5
    To make the chocolate ganache icing, place the chocolate and creme fraiche in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring with a metal spoon, for 3-4 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.

  • Step 6
    Use a large, serrated knife to split cake in half. Place bottom half on a serving dish. Spread half the ganache over the cake. Replace other cake half and spread remaining ganache over the top. Sprinkle with cachous to decorate. Set aside for 30 minutes to set. Cut into wedges to serve.


It is important to cool the warm chocolate mixture before adding the remaining dry ingredients and egg. Adding egg to a hot mixture can cook it before it has been mixed through – the result is a cake containing scrambled egg. It is best to use a bamboo skewer to check if a cake is ready – the mixture will easily stick to the bamboo if the cake is not yet cooked, or slip off if ready. A metal skewer can be too slippery for raw cake mix to stick to, so you won’t be able to tell if the cake is cooked through. This cake is best left in its pan to cool before turning on to a rack. Densely textured cakes, such as this, are more delicate when hot and can easily split if turned out too early. Make sure the cake is completely cooled before splitting. Use a ruler to mark an even line at regular points around the middle of the cake, then use toothpicks or kitchen string to mark this line. Use a large, serrated knife to split in half, using the toothpicks or string as a guide.

See also  Banoffee dessert cake