The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Chocolate sponge cake, Mississippi mud cake or chocolate fudge cake………whatever you call it, it is basically a chocolate flavoured cake. However to find one that provides the much wanted chocolate hit and that remains moist, while not being a brownie, has been particularly hard until now. I’ve been making chocolate sponges for years and I always made the same recipe of equal parts flour, sugar, butter and eggs, with a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder mixed with hot water to form a smooth paste. This produced a standard cake that was perfectly fine in my little world. But once I discovered brownies I knew there was more to a chocolate cake that what I had known.


I watch quite a number of cooking shows, some of them being from North America and I am always intrigued by the pourable cake batter the TV chefs end up with and noticed that they inevitably use a lot of buttermilk. Buttermilk is standard in Ireland for soda breads and scones but not much else, but having some in the fridge I decided to see if it made much difference to my chocolate cake. I also had an abundance of eggs, some of which had passed their best before date, but not believing in wasting food I decided up the egg ante.

I always find it is a risk to make or test a new cake to bring to a party or a pot luck as you can’t sneak a slice before handing it over. So as I was bringing this to a lunch invitation from my third eldest sister Susan (“Susie”) I was taking a risk but I also knew I had a willing audience as they are massive fans of chocolate cakes and Susie is on the hunt for the ultimate chocolate cake recipe for future birthday cakes for the children.

The cake was a triumph. We actually had our wires crossed and she also made a chocolate cake with a hint of orange. We all had a piece of each cake over the course of the afternoon and I was sent home with the remainder of my cake. Win Win!!


So here’s the recipe for the ultimate chocolate sandwich cake.


8 oz butter (room temperature)
4 oz plain flour
4 oz cocoa powder
8 oz caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp baking powder
100 ml butter milk
100 g chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

8 oz icing sugar
4 oz butter (room temperature)
2 oz cocoa powder
4 tblsp of hot water


Line the base of two 8 inch sandwich tins
Preheat the oven to 160 C for a fan oven and 180 C for a conventional oven


  1. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract (if using) together in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat 1 egg and 1 tblsp of the flour into the butter and sugar mixture.
  3. Beat the remaining eggs and egg yolks into the mixture, one at a time until light and fluffy.
  4. Sieve the remaining flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the mixture and fold through with a large spoon.
  5. Fold through the buttermilk until you have a uniform consistency.
  6. Finally fold through the chocolate chips if you are using them.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25/30 minutes depending on your oven.
  8. Remove from the oven and the tin to cool on a wire rack.
  9. To make the filling, cream the butter, sugar and cocoa powder until you have a stiff paste.
  10. Add the hot water into the paste, 1 spoonful at a time and beat well after each addition.
  11. Finally place one cake on a plate and spread half the icing across the top. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining icing across to the edges. I finished with some grated dark chocolate.

This is a rich cake for chocolate lovers and is not for the faint hearted. In all honesty if the cake hadn’t been a present I would have sandwiched it together with Chantilly cream as it cuts the sweetness of the cake. But we ate the cake at the party with good vanilla ice-cream which complimented it perfectly.

How do you plan to eat yours? Have you any tips on keeping a chocolate cake moist? Until next time……


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