--- See Juliet Sear share all the secrets to her ultimate chocolate fudge cake in Beautiful Baking with Juliet Sear, Mondays 7.30 pm from August 3 on SBS Food and then on SBS On Demand. Watch out for the chocolate cake star in Episode 1 ---
Chocolate cake is the answer to many needs: for the joy of cooking, to give comfort, to celebrate. Whether you're after a stunning four-layer celebration cake or a beginner's no-fail slab cake, this selection of some of our favourite chocolate cakes offer a cake for every desire, occasion or kitchen - even if you don't want to turn on the oven!
Let’s start small: the quick choc mug cake
Looking for speedy satisfaction: This microwave cake in a cup, from Loving Gluten Free host Helen Tzouganatos, goes from thought to reality in about five minutes.
A very easy, no-fail, melt-and-mix cake
“Everyone needs a good old-fashioned chocolate cake in their repertoire that is easy enough to whip up on a whim,” says Bakeproof columnist Anneka Manning of her chocolate coconut slab cake, which is topped with simple chocolate buttercream.
The really big chocolate cake (aka ‘the cake that cures everything’)
“In times of stress, only excess will do: this is an enormous cake. But it keeps very well and there is no such thing as too much chocolate cake,” says food writer Ruth Reichl. This cake is one of the recipes that helped the former editor of Gourmet magazine deal with the implosion of her life after the unexpected closure of the magazine. And thus, why she calls it the cake that cures everything: "It is impossible to hold on to gloom with so much chocolate wafting its exuberant scent into every corner of the house.” The two-layer cake is filled and topped with a chocolate and cream cheese frosting, and it will feed 20-25 people (Reichl has also said of this cake that it freezes well as individually wrapped portions).
For those who are all about the frosting
The cake is indulgent, rich, impressive – but that’s only half the appeal of Donna Hay’s magic no-flour chocolate fudge cake. Just look at the rich, thick swirls of frosting, an indulgent combination of cream cheese, ricotta, coconut sugar, cocoa and vanilla.
For those who can't decide
This two-tone day + night cake, a confection of eggs, nuts, chocolate and sugar, is simple but and quite spectacular. The ‘day' half (egg whites and almonds) and the ‘night' half (egg yolks, chocolate and hazelnuts) are baked together, then covered with a chocolate ganache.
When you have no chocolate, just cocoa
This kladdkaka is a Swedish favourite, a simple cake that’s dark and dense and sticky (‘kladd’ means sticky in Swedish). You can serve it at room temperature or chill it to make it lusciously dense and fudgier. Other great options for cocoa-only cakes include Anneka’s chocolate coconut slab cake, and Donna’s no-flour chocolate fudge cake, both mentioned above.
An impressive (and gluten-free) cake for coffee lovers
This dark chocolate espresso mud cake makes a stunning birthday cake, and it’s a great one for a party because everything is finished 3-4 hours (or even 1-2 days) before serving, so the cake – and its wickedly rich frosting! – can chill. Oh, and that frosting? Secret ingredient: Avocado. Yes, really. The smooth richness of avocado transforms into a decadent dark chocolate mousse.
For folk who like a mousse-y cake
"This is a fabulous gluten-free dessert option, rich with chocolate flavour and a beautiful mousse-y texture,” says Poh Ling Yeow of her flourless chocolate cake with ale ice-cream.
For those who like a sticky-fudgy cake
“This is the fudgiest of all the chocolate cakes I know,” says celebrated baker Nadine Ingram, of Sydney’s Flour and Stone bakery, of her chocolate raspberry buttermilk cake.
For when you need a vegan chocolate cake
This chocolate decadence cake is not only vegan, but gluten-free too. It's sweetened with dates and banana, has an extra depth of flavour from a slug of coffee and is topped with a coconut milk chocolate ganache.
Ones that push the boundaries a little
This torta di castagna, rosmarino e cacao (chestnut, rosemary and cocoa cake) is has a lovely story as well as a taste that’s intriguingly different to the usual choc cake. Skye McAlpine was inspired to create her version of this Venetian favourite after reading a cookbook found in a second-hand bookshop. “It’s a classic autumnal dish – at this time of year, you can buy it in bakeries across Venice,” she says. “Chocolate, chestnut and rosemary … is a match made in heaven.”
And for chilli fans, here’s a Mexican chilli chocolate cake with layers of chocolate cake and chilli-infused icing.
The rich fudgy dessert cake
Donna Hay knows cake, so when she says a cake never fails, you know it’s going to work. This one-bowl chocolate dessert cake, made with dark chocolate and brown sugar, is rich and fudgy.
The one with condensed milk
This is a chocolate twist on the traditional tres leches (three milks) cake that is a favourite in many parts of Central and South America. Holes are poked into the cooked cake, and a mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream is poured over the cake. It’s chilled overnight, to allow the sweet milky mixture to soak through the cake, and then served up with more milk mixture. So yes, you’ll want a spoon for this one!
The secret ingredient cakes
Beetroot and chocolate are an excellent pairing in cake. Try it chocolate, beetroot and orange cupcakes, in decadent beet choc brownies, beetroot, quinoa and chocolate muffins, Poh Ling Yeow’s Totally Unicorn beetroot cake or multi-layer chocolate and truffle cake in which roasted baby beets lend an extra dose of dense fudginess to a deep, dark chocolate cake.
Even more of a surprise: the secret ingredient in this lovely bundt cake is kidney beans.
The ultimate chocolate celebration cakes
This ombre mocha layer cake is strikingly handsome, with four layers of cake, a whipped chocolate ganache filling and coating, and chocolate drip icing over the top (the recipe includes tips for how to achieve the drip effect).
And finally, there's another impressive ombre twist on the chocolate cake in Juliet Sear's ultimate chocolate fudge cake, which covers a three-layer chocolate cake with a three-tone chocolate frosting. She shares all her tips on how to make it in the first episode of Beautiful Baking with Juliet Sear, Mondays 7.30 pm from August 3 on SBS Food and then on SBS On Demand). And a note for vegan readers: she shares a vegan choc fudge cake on her YouTube channel, too.
We couldn't help ourselves and in the spirit of cake, we decided to share this recipe for the double whammy - Kirsten Tibballs' chocolate cupcakes with a rich and creamy chocolate ganache. Make a dozen, devour them and then make a dozen more.
You can find more indulgent bakes in our chocolate cake collection.
This roulade was inspired by the nostalgic flavour of after-dinner mints, with rich dark chocolate and a cool peppermint fondant centre.
A classic flavour combination, this moist and rich chocolate cake is more suited to adult tastes. If you prefer, omit the rum, but still soak the raisins in water, to make it more child friendly.
This cake is very moist and the icing is bloody delicious. So yes, it's good. It's really, really good.
There's no doubt about it: layer cakes impress. To make them can seem intimidating at first, so this straightforward recipe - but still with four levels of chocolate-caramel impressiveness - is a great place to start.
A naturally leavened cake with a lovely, fudge-like texture which is not overly rich.
This show-stopper chocolate cake can be prepared a day in advance although you may need to remove a shelf from your refrigerator to make enough room!