World’s Best Chocolate Cake

October 21, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • serves 12
Test Kitchen Notes

The recipe for this cake, adapted from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, first appeared in an article written about Ms. Goh when she ran her cafe, the Mortar & Pestle, in Melbourne, Australia. Rather intimidatingly for her, the headline for the article was “World’s Best Chocolate Cake.” It could actually be called lots of things: “world’s easiest cake,” possibly, requiring nothing more than one large bowl to make it all in. —Amanda Hesser

Recipe excerpted with permission from The Essential New York Times Cookbook: The Recipes of Record by Amanda Hesser, published by ‎ W. W. Norton & Company; 10th Anniversary edition. © 2021.

This recipe is a part of Chocolate Week—seven days of recipes and stories, all chocolate—presented by our friends at Guittard. A fifth-generation family business, Guittard has been crafting an array of chocolate offerings (like top-quality baking chips, cocoa powder, and baking bars) in San Francisco since 1868.Food52

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World’s Best Chocolate Cake
  • The Cake
  • 1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (250 grams) unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 1 1/2 tablespoons), at room temperature and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into 3/4-inch/2-centimeter pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 1/2 cups/350 milliliters boiling water
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (240 grams) self-rising flour (If you can't find self-rising flour, whisk together 240 grams AP flour and 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder.)
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • The Chocolate Ganache (optional)
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken or chopped roughly into 3/4-inch/2-centimeter pieces
  • 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Espresso Cinnamon Mascarpone Cream (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (375 milliliters) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (190 grams) mascarpone
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, scraped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons finely ground espresso
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (170°C). Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with butter and line with parchment paper, then set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Place butter, chocolate, and hot coffee in a large heatproof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth. Whisk in sugar by hand until dissolved. Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt together into a bowl. Whisk this into the melted chocolate mixture. The batter here is liquid, but don’t think you have missed something; this is how it should be.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached. The top will form a crust and crack a little, but don’t worry, this is expected. Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, then set aside until completely cool.
  4. Make the chocolate ganache, if desired: Place chocolate pieces in a food processor; process until fine and set aside. Combine cream and corn syrup in a small pan and place over medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles begin to appear (just before it comes to a boil), remove from the heat. Get the food processor running again, with the chocolate still inside, and pour in the hot cream in a steady stream. Process for 10 seconds, then add butter. Continue to process until mixture is shiny and smooth. (You can also make the ganache by hand; just make sure the chocolate is chopped fairly finely before adding the cream mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until almost melted, then add the butter. Stir again until the ganache is smooth.)
  5. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the ganache into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic actually touching the top of the ganache. Set aside until it has set to the consistency you want. If you want a thin layer to spread over the cake, it can be poured over while liquid so that you get an even, light and shiny coating. For a thicker ganache with a spreading consistency, leave it for about 2 hours at room temperature. (The ganache can be stored at room temperature, providing it’s not too warm, for 3 days or kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen, although it will lose a bit of its shine when defrosted.)
  6. Make the espresso cinnamon mascarpone cream, if desired: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
  7. Peel the parchment from the cake and discard. Transfer to a serving platter and spread the ganache, if using, on top of the cake. Slice into wedges, divide the cake among plates and, if using, spoon the mascarpone cream alongside. With or without icing, the cake will keep well for 4 to 5 days in an airtight container.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

Recipe by: Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi owns an eponymous group of four restaurants, plus the high-end restaurant, Nopi, in London. He writes for The Guardian, and appears on BBC. Sami Tamimi is a partner and head chef at Ottolenghi. Authors of the New York Times bestseller Jerusalem and the runaway hit Plenty, they have been featured in the New York Times, Saveur and the Los Angeles Times. They Live in London.

9 Reviews

mialuna April 29, 2023
The chocolate is unsweetened, right?
Read April 29, 2023
No, 70% chocolate is about the same as bittersweet chocolate, and contains about 30% sugar. (The percentage refers to how much is directly from cacao; in non-milk chocolate most of the rest is sugar.) See for a lot of detail.
Lucy B. February 16, 2023
NOTHING a tastes better than a cake made creaming the sugar and butter way!
ALL other cakes taste RUBBERY!
zingyginger January 3, 2023
This cake came out dry when I followed the recipe (including weighing ingredients in grams & testing the oven temperature with a thermometer) & pulled it out of the oven "a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached." If I make it again would check earlier than the time indicated & pull it out when there are still moist crumbs on the skewer. But for tried & true (as bundt/layer cake/cupcake), ease of 1 bowl & moistness, the best one for me is still Hershey's Black Magic Cake, available on Hershey's website & published on Food52 as Chocolate Bundt Cake.
Caryn August 19, 2022
How do I substitute self-rising flour for all purpose flour (+baking powder+baking soda), pls? tks
zingyginger January 3, 2023
Not sure why this line from the recipe was in the New York Times version but not on Food52: "If you can't find self-rising flour, whisk together 240g plain flour and 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder and use this mixture instead." It worked beautifully but you'll want to check early & pull out the cake when there are moist crumbs on the skewer, else the cake comes out dry.
Read August 6, 2022
A little dry cooked as recommended; I'd start checking at 50 minutes and cook till a few moist crumbs. It does end up tall enough for splitting to make two layers (which I wish I'd done to make room for more frosting for this ended-up-a-little-dry cake).
J-Taste October 23, 2021
That makes a great cake , but it’s just a slight variation on the classic Womens Weekly Mississippi Mud Cake
Pie November 3, 2021
It's also known as the 'Busy day Cake' from the Company's Coming' series of cookbooks from 50 years ago. Nothing new here