Ann Reardon

Chocolate Cake Recipe

chocolate cake recipe ann reardon howtocookthat


This is a beautiful moist and delicious chocolate cake with the crunch of toasted pistachios and almonds on the side topped off with rich ganache and chocolate flowers. Perfect for Christmas or any other special gathering.

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

Makes two 8inch (20.32 centimetres) round cakes or 24 cupcakes

200g (7.05 ounces) of 70% cocoa dark chocolate
315g (11.11 ounces) or 1 1/3 cups margarine or butter
8 large eggs
2 1/4 cups or 485g (17.11 ounces) caster sugar (super fine sugar)
1 1/4 cups or 200g (7.05 ounces) plain flour (use GF flour if coeliac, this recipe has been tested with gluten free flour and works well)
1/4 cup or 30g (1.06 ounces) cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate Cake Recipe Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180C (356 degrees Fahrenheit).
Place chocolate and margarine into a bowl.
Melt in the microwave (30seconds, stir, 30sec, stir…).
Whisk in the sugar and then the eggs.
Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together and mix into cake mixture until just combined.
Pour into two lined 20cm (7.87 inches) round cake tins.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Test if its done by inserting a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean it is ready. If the cake is looking done on top but is not yet cooked through put an empty baking tray on the shelf above it in the oven.

For the decoration

600 mL (20.29 fluid ounces) or 2 1/3 cup cream
2 tablesppons icing sugar
dash of vanilla essence
Whip the cream, vanilla and icing sugar until just thickened. Divide your bowl into half and then one half into thirds. Use one of these smaller portions between the layers. Add a generous spoon of ganache to the larger portion and mix in, use this to cover the sides of the cake.

100g (3.53 ounces) or 1 cup flaked almonds
100g (3.53 ounces) or 3/4 cup pistachios, chopped
Roast the almonds and pistachios on a tray in the oven at 180ºC or approx 5 minutes. Leave to cool
Press the nuts onto the side of the cake as shown in the video.

Ganache Recipe
300g (10.58 ounces) milk chocolate
100 mL (3.38 fluid ounces) or 1/3 cup cream

Break the chocolate and put into a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and then pour over the chocolate. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes and then stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the bench overnight to firm up.

Use the ganache to decorate the top of the cake.

chocolate cake recipe ann reardon
Chocolate Flower Tutorial
How to temper chocolate and what chocolate to use for chocolate decorations

by Ann Reardon How To Cook That


I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can purchase your very own copy:

All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

487 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 5

    Greetings from Adelaide, Ann! I made your recipe for my Mum’s 70th birthday. The top decoration didn’t quite work out as planned, but I managed to salvage it! Thank you xox
    1 Thessalonians 5:26

    • Yummmm, I could do with a slice of that today while I reply to comments. Happy birthday to your mum ?

    • Hi, I’m planning on making this cake to create your Elsa stunner, but wanted to check whether you’ve tested making a carved/stacked cake with gf flour? Thanks x

      • Hi Karen, I have used GF flour with this chocolate cake recipe and yes it works really well. ?

  2. Rating: 5

    Hi! I love this cake and I have made it a lot times, each time it has come out beautifully. Recently, I’ve retried this recipe but it has come out dry, and I can’t work out why! Could it simply be that I’m overlooking it? It’s a new oven in a different country, that’s all I can think of. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Hi Debbie, yes try reducing the time in the oven – if it is cooking much faster you could drop the temp by 5-10 degrees. The oven thermostat could be slightly out, not an issue as long as you know. ?

      • Thank you! I reduced the cooking time by 20mins, and it worked a great. Thanks for the suggestion ?

        • ?

  3. Rating: 5

    This cake is so moist and dense and delicious! Perfect for stacking and carving! Thank you because I used this for my 9 year old granddaughter’s first attempt at cake stacking and carving! Perfect!

    • Awesome Cindy and well done to your grand daughter on her first carved cake ?

  4. Rating: 5

    Isn’t that a lot of sugar? 485g. Please help me understand why. I want to use this recipe but with 300g of sugar instead. Don’t know what your opinion on that is.

    • g’day Evelyn, As with any experiment I would recommend making a smaller batch and testing it out, you could make small number of cupcakes to check you’re happy with the flavour and texture.

  5. Rating: 4.5

    Hi !
    I’m attempting a double recipe of this cake for a fire engine in a 25cm square tin. Can you advise a temperature and rough time guide for the cake to bake please?

    • I just made one and baked it at 335F (convection) for about 30-35 minutes. I put a cookie sheet on the shelf above from the start. I started watching it at 20 minutes.

  6. Rating: 5

    I agree Linda, this cake tastes better than any other chocolate cake I’ve made, and I’ve tried heaps of recipes.

    • ? I’m glad you like it too

  7. Rating: 5

    I have used this choc cake recipe for the Lightning McQueen car cake and a three tier football cake with spinning football. The cake is so moist and tastes absolutely beautiful even 1 wk after it was iced it was still delicious. Used butter instead of margarine. Applied sugar/water solution after removing cake from oven and covered each slab of cake in cling filmwhile still not, before freezing. . Beautiful, so many positive comments about taste and how moist it was. Thank you Anne for this recipe, so yummy.

    • That’s awesome to hear Linda, I’m glad that you love it too. ?

  8. If I make this the night before will all the filling be absorbed into the cake?

    • Hi Katie, if the cake is kept cool (refridgerated) and there is plenty of filling it should be fine. It is a fresh cream filling so the moisture will gradually be absorbed by the cake. If you are in doubt, then assemble and frost on the day of service.

  9. Hi Ann,
    What kind of margarine do you use for this cake? Would butter be alright as well? If yes – any particular brand?

    Thank you

    • Hi Matylda, Margarine or butter are fine.

  10. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann. I’ve tried this recipe before and it’s so yummy! One question on the ganache. Am I reading correctly that I have to leave the covered mixture unrefrigerated for 12 hours before using? Thanks!!

    • Hi Laura, It is fine to let it cool overnight but if you need it quickly, you can let it cool in the fridge. The challenge is you want your ganache in a nice firm but spreadable consistency. Cooling it in the fridge means it can get too firm and you need to let it soften again. Leaving it on the bench overnight gives a great consistency- as long as it isn’t too hot!

  11. Rating: 5

    Thank you for your amazing recipes! I am going to make the Lighting McQueen cake next week with this chocolate cake recipe, but I wondered, if I can substitute margarine with butter or is it important to use margarine in this recipe? I usually use margarine only in waffles and never in something else.
    Thank you again and I’ll be waiting for your response 🙂

    • Hi Hilary, yes, you can.

  12. Hi Ive made the batter for this cake but it is no where near as runny as yours. I have double checked quantities and I have done everything right. Do you know why that would be?

    • Hi Jane, Sometimes the batter is more runny than others – it can depend on the temperature of the melted butter when you add everything together and how long you whip it for before adding the flour.

    • Yes, follow the video not the written instructions. The first one I made was thick because I whisked the eggs with the sugar as instructed. The video follows a completely different method.

    • Jane, maybe you let it sit on your counter for a bit and as the baking soda starts to get activated, the batter will thicken. Mine was runny but thickened after a bit. Nevertheless, the cake came out great. Hope this helps!

  13. how much batter do i need for 3 9” inch cake layers?

    • Hi Alma, It dpends on how thick your layers are. I think this recipe would be sufficient for your purpose unless you want a really tall cake.

  14. Hi Ann,
    I made all the decorations for the marvel cake and attempted to cook the cake today for my husbands video but my mixture is probably half as runny as yours. It is more of a consistency of mousse/fluffy but thick whipped cream. Could you please try to specify egg size in your recipes? I used medium UK eggs. I kept all other measurements exactly the same so I figured you used larger eggs so I added more eggs and it still wasn’t runny.
    Waiting for it to come out the oven now. Hope it goes well. Maybe when you’re cooking next time, perhaps you can measure the grams of eggs you add.

    • Hi Fay, Usually use large eggs

  15. can the margarine be replaced with butter?

    • Yes Albany, It can.

  16. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann

    Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for this recipe. My daughter has recently been diagnosed Coeliac and I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to bake her a delicious cake for her birthday! Tried your recipe today with the gluten free flour and it is moist, delicious and just amazing. Got thumbs up from little miss and my heart feels happy. THANK YOU!!

    • That is great to hear Janine. Thanks for posting.

    • Janine, can I ask what GF flour you used? I have some coeliac nieces and nephews to cater for, but haven’t heard great things about the GF flours out there… Thanks!

  17. Hi! What temperature should the oven have? I’m not sure what “slow oven” means.

    • Hi Carla, This is a common term and info is readily available on this. A slow fan forced oven would be approx 130C

  18. […] Recipe chocolate cake & recipe + inspiration […]

  19. Can you put up how much the cake should be baked?

    • Hi Minseo, Exact time depends on your oven and the baking dish you choose. In a flat tray 15-20 minutes is good for this cake, in a round tin it may take up to 30 minutes. Use the knife method to check the readiness of the cake.

  20. Hummmm looks yummy, am gonna try this recipe. Can chocolate cake be put in a water bath when baking?

    • Hi Onyi, You usually use a water bath when you want to cook something gently and avoid drying out. It isn’t really necessary for a cake.

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