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The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

This is the cake that will make you a star. It will become your secret weapon for dinner parties and special occasions and you'll never look at another chocolate cake recipe again.

Prep time  5 mins
Cook time  1 hour
Serves  12-16

3 cups self-raising flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup premium quality cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda, sifted to remove lumps
200g/7oz butter, softened
1 cup / 8 fl oz milk or unsweetened yoghurt
3 large eggs
1 cup boiling hot coffee
To ice: 1 recipe Chocolate Ganache
To garnish: fresh raspberries

Heat the oven to 160C/325F. Grease the sides and line the base of a 30cm (12 inch) round cake tin or 2 x 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins with baking paper.

Place all ingredients except ganache in a bowl or food processor and mix or blitz until just combined and butter is fully incorporated.

Pour mixture into the prepared tin/tins and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin. If you're not using it at once, it will keep fresh for about a week in a sealed container in the fridge. You can also freeze it uniced.

When you are ready to ice the cake, slather chilled Chocolate Ganache over the top. Top with fresh raspberries and serve.

Chocolate Ganache

500ml cream
500g best quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped

Pour the cream into a medium pot and heat it until it is very hot, and almost but not boiling. You'll know it's ready when bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is fully melted into the cream.

Whisk the mixture until it is smooth and glossy. Makes approx 4 cups.