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World's Best Chocolate Cake

This recipe was created by synthesizing recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi, Paul Hollywood, Dominique Ansel, and other celebrated bakers. It's extremely chocolatey, fudgy, moist, and brownie-like, but it's also very light. The inclusion of strong coffee brings out the chocolate flavor, making the cake so delicious that you'll barely need any icing! The recipe produces one layer of cake, so double or triple it for a layer cake.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Chilling Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Servings 1 layer of cake


For the Cake

  • 190 g all-purpose flour
  • 275 g granulated sugar
  • 50 g unsweetened cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp fine salt (not kosher salt)
  • 3.5 g (scant tsp) baking powder
  • 6 g (1 tsp) baking soda
  • 95 g vegetable oil (avocado, sunflower, canola, etc.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 g real vanilla extract
  • 116 g full-fat sour cream
  • 160 g hot, strong coffee (make about 3/4 cup)

To Assemble

  • Simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar)
  • Chocolate buttercream


  • Preheat the oven to 350º F/180º C. Butter an 8" round cake pan (preferably with a removable bottom), then shake some cocoa powder around inside the pan until evenly coated.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. It will be very thick. Drizzle in the hot coffee and whisk until smooth and well-combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool fully before cutting and icing.
  • I recommend drizzling the cooled and sliced cake layers with simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) to keep them moist. After adding the simple syrup, chill the layers for 20 minutes before icing.