Desserts & Baking

Chocolate fudge cake with malted buttercream

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Makes a 20 cm two-layer cake
50 minutes

"You’ll find three choccy cakes in this book: the sponge (light as a feather), the mud (dense and rich) and this one, my go-to chocolate fudge cake. It’s a hybrid of a devil’s food cake and a sour cream cocoa cake and it makes the most perfect, fudgy chocolate cake. This is a one-bowl cake, easy as can be and will always produce the same glorious result. It’s perfect for a birthday party – a real crowd-pleaser. I’ve paired it with malt buttercream as a layer cake but think of this as a base chocolate cake and dress it up with dreamy ganache, dress it down with a simple dusting of cocoa, use it in trifles, bake it into cupcakes or mini loaves, or as a slab topped with set mousse – anything goes!" – Emelia Jackson

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  • 380 g light brown sugar
  • 250 g cake flour
  • 100 g dark cocoa powder
  • 1½ t baking powder
  • 1 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 t fine salt
  • 2 t instant coffee powder
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • 100 ml neutral- flavoured oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • Chocolate shavings, to garnish (optional)
  • For the malted buttercream:
  • 320 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400 g icing sugar
  • 300 g good-quality milk chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 150 g malted milk powder
  • 1 t vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line two 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tins with baking paper.

2. Whisk the brown sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to ensure there are no lumps. (You can also sift these together, but you know how I feel about unnecessary sifting!)

3. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water in a jug, then add the oil, sour cream and eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Fold until just combined, being careful not to overmix to ensure you end up with a perfectly tender cake.

5. Split the batter between the cake tins and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the buttercream, first ensure the butter is not too soft – it needs to still be slightly firm, otherwise your buttercream will be really soft and hard to work with.

7. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and icing sugar for 3–4 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl a couple of times to ensure the mixture is completely smooth.

8. Add the cooled melted chocolate, malted milk powder and vanilla and mix for another 2–3 minutes or until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.

Cook's note: I like to fill and cover this cake with the malted buttercream and top it with chocolate shavings – it’s a real show stopper. Pair your choccy cake with any buttercream you love.

This is an extract from First, Cream the Butter and Sugar: The essential baking companion by Emelia Jackson (Murdoch Books). Photography by Armelle Habib.

Find more cake recipes here. 

Emelia Jackson

Recipe by: Emelia Jackson

Emelia Jackson is an Australian pastry cook and marketing coordinator. After finishing third in MasterChef Australia 2014, she returned to win MasterChef Australia: Back to Win in 2020. She authored the cookbook First, Cream the Butter and Sugar.

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