Super easy and quick to make, this chocolate fudge cake is my go-to recipe when I need a last minute, decadent showstopper. It's so versatile you can make it for any and every occasion. Slathered with a chocolate fudge frosting, this cake is definitely for chocolate lovers with a wicked sweet tooth.
I've lost count of the number of cakes I've made over the years. At one point I'd worked out how many thousands of cupcakes I'd made during the time I had my little bakery.
The same goes for cakes - how many layers, how many tiers and just how much buttercream! Each cake being homemade from scratch, right down to the final decoration.
But if I'm honest, extravagant cakes are long gone, except for the nephews' birthdays and when it comes to baking for home I love something quick and deliciously easy!
With my favourite go to chocolate tray bake being on constant repeat every other week. It's light but rich sponge covered in a scrumptious layer of my ultimate chocolate buttercream never fails to impress.
But after reminiscing about a good old retro chocolate fudge cake, I decided it was time to whip out one of the first cake recipes I ever made... and this did not disappoint.
It's so moist, dark and fudgy and very chocolatey cake, it simply is the best chocolate cake!
Table of Contents
Taste: Rich, chocolately indulgence
Pros: Quick and easy, all in one recipe
Cons: Getting a slice before it disappears
Check out my shopping list for ingredients and equipment
I have lots of different chocolate cake recipes for all types of occasions, but this one is one of my favourites. It's super easy to make, with simple ingredients and everyday equipment. Here’s everything you’ll need...
For the chocolate cake
- Cocoa Powder - You can use either a regular unsweetened cocoa powder, or if you want a really deep, dark flavour like in my Mint Oreo cake then switch for an intense cocoa powder
- Hot Water - This is to make a paste with the cocoa powder and melt the butter. I find that just boiled water works best
- Plain Flour or All-Purpose Flour - You can also use self-raising flour, just leave out the baking powder
- Unsalted Butter - Unsalted gives you more control of how much salt you have in your recipe, just add a pinch of fine sea salt. You can also use slightly salted butter if you prefer
- Eggs - Remember if you keep your eggs in the fridge, let them come up to room temperature before using them. Take them out of the fridge about 15-30 minutes before you're ready to start baking
- Caster Sugar or Superfine Sugar
- Full-fat Milk or Semi-skimmed Milk
- Baking Powder
For the chocolate fudge frosting
- Dark Chocolate - I absolutely love Menier dark chocolate for the frosting; it gives that really deep, chocolate flavour
- Unsalted Butter
- Icing Sugar or Powdered Sugar
- Double Cream or Heavy Cream
- Instant Espresso Powder - This is optional but trust me it helps bring out the chocolateyness in the frosting. You can also use regular instant coffee instead
CONVERT TO CUPS: There is a cup conversion option in the recipe card to convert the ingredients. This is automatic and I can't guarantee the accuracy. For best baking results, I recommend using digital scales and weighing the ingredients.
Check your kitchen cupboards, you've probably got everything you need all ready in there. These are the exact tools I use in my kitchen...
- 8-inch cake pan or two 8-inch sandwich tins - I swear by Masterclass tins, they're heavy duty, last for ages and give a perfect bake. I've had mine for over 15 years!
- Large mixing bowl
- Handheld mixer
- Rubber spatula
- Baking Parchment
- Angled Palette Knife - One of my essential pieces of equipment
- Large Saucepan
I like to use a stand mixer for ease; but if you don't have one I recommend a hand held mixer and a large mixing bowl.
TOP TIP: I absolutely love presenting my cake on my favourite white cake stand - it makes even the simplest cake look elegant
How to make chocolate fudge cake
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card
This has got to be one of the most simplest cakes ever - just 4 simple steps and its ready for the oven. Here’s what you need to do...
The chocolate cake
- Mix together the cocoa powder and hot water in a large mixing bowl until it forms a thick paste
- Add all the other ingredients to the cocoa paste - butter, flour, baking powder, sugar and eggs - and mix everything together with a hand held mixer until the mixture is well combined, smooth and glossy
- Pour the cake batter into a lined cake pan or split across two sandwich pans
- Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes until springy on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool before frosting
TOP TIP: Make sure your butter is soft before using otherwise you'll get butter lumps in your batter. Use the finger test to make sure it's soft enough - your finger should leave an indent in the surface
The chocolate fudge frosting
- In a large saucepan, add the chocolate, butter, icing sugar and double cream. Add the instant espresso powder if using.
- Place the saucepan over a medium heat and gently heat until all the ingredients have melted and are well combined
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Allow the mixture to completely cool at room temperature until the mixture is smooth, silky and spreadable
- Slather the frosting over the top of the cake and spread with angled palette knife, then cut yourself a good slice
Tips for success
I love this 'throw it all in' cake for a really quick and easy bake, especially for a last minute bake, but here's a few tips to make it even easier...
- Make sure your butter is soft before using - If the butter isn't quite soft enough, when you mix the ingredients together you'll end up with butter lumps in the batter. Test the softness with your finger - it should leave an indent in the top of the butter, but if it goes straight through you butter is too soft
- If time is tight, bake in two sandwich tins - This is how I originally learnt to make this cake and sandwiched them with the frosting as well as slathering it on top. Sandwich layers are a lot thinner so they will bake quicker than just one cake. If you give this a try, bake them at 180C/350F for about 20 minutes until the tops are springy
- Want a firmer frosting? - If you want a thicker consistency to your chocolate fudge frosting, then pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes before using
- Try a buttercream instead of a frosting - If the chocolate fudge frosting is a bit too rich for you, swap out for a lighter, whipped buttercream. My ultimate chocolate buttercream is perfect with its light and airy texture but with plenty of chocolate flavour
- In a real rush, top with a readymade frosting instead - This cake is all about ease and last minute baking, so you might want to cut a few corners. I know a few friends that use the Betty Crocker chocolate frosting for a really quick alternative to making their own frosting
FAQs about chocolate fudge cake
Once decorated, store the cake in an air-tight container at room temperature.
The chocolate fudge cake will keep for up to 5 days stored at room temperature, and is best eaten within 3 days.
You can also freeze the cake, either with or without the frosting, for up to 2 months. Make sure it is well wrapped and in an air-tight containers to avoid freezer burn. Remember to fully defrost the cake at room temperature before serving.
No you don't if you prefer not to. However, the coffee helps to intensify the chocolate flavour and you can't taste it. If you can't get hold of espresso powder, you can substitute with a strong instant coffee instead. I recommend the barista-style instant coffees such as Milicano.
Did you make this recipe?
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Chocolate Fudge Cake
For the Chocolate Fudge Cake
- 50 g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 75 ml Hot Water just boiled
- 3 Eggs Medium
- 50 ml Full Fat Milk
- 175 g Plain Flour or All Purpose Flour
- 2.5 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 100 g Unsalted Butter Softened
- 275 g Caster Sugar or Superfine Sugar
For the Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- To make the cake: Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line an 8-inch round cake pan with baking parchment. Alternatively, coat the pan with homemade cake release.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water. Mix together until they form a thick chocolate paste.50 g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, 75 ml Hot Water
- Add the remaining ingredients to the chocolate paste - butter, caster sugar, eggs, milk, plain flour and baking powder. Mix everything together with a hand held mixer until well combined and the mixture is thick and glossy. Alternatively use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.50 ml Full Fat Milk, 175 g Plain Flour, 2.5 teaspoon Baking Powder, 100 g Unsalted Butter, 275 g Caster Sugar, 3 Eggs
- Pour the cake batter into the line cake pan and level off with an angled palette knife.
- Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes until springy to touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- To make the chocolate fudge frosting: Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a large saucepan with the butter, double cream, icing sugar and instant espresso powder (if using).250 g Dark Chocolate, 125 g Unsalted Butter, 100 g Icing Sugar, 200 ml Double Cream, 0.5 teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder
- Place the saucepan over a medium and gently heat the ingredients until they have completely melted. Stir continuously. Alternatively place the ingredients in a large bowl and melt together in a microwave in 30-second blasts.
- Pour the melted chocolate mixture into a large bowl and leave to completely cool at room temperature. As it cools the mixture will thicken up and become smooth and silky, but still spreadable.
- If you want a thicker frosting, place the chocolate mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill slightly then use to decorate the cake.
- To decorate the cake: When the cake has completely cooled and the chocolate fudge frosting is ready, use a rubber spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.
- Use an angled palette knife to create a swirl pattern on the top, then place on a cake stand and you're ready to serve.
YOUR OWN NOTES
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