How to make a quadruple chocolate layer cake

As soon as I got this month’s copy of Olive magazine I decided I had to try to recreate the amazing “Best-ever chocolate layer cake” on the cover. It was my friend Donia’s birthday and I thought this sort of totally over the top and decadent cake would be just up her alley. I am a subscriber to Olive so I often use their recipes and having been lucky enough to spend some time as an intern there when I was studying journalism I know just how thoroughly tested their recipes are. Olive has a test kitchen which is shared with BBC Good Food magazine and every recipe that goes in the magazine is triple tested at least in the kitchen. That’s not even taking into account the recipes that the Olive girls love and so try out for themselves at home as well. After all if I was going to make a recipe that called for 600g of quality chocolate and 500ml of double cream I wanted to know these expensive ingredients would not be wasted.

Finished cake – delicious!
My only gripe with Olive is its description of the recipes, this cake is described as easy which I think is a bit misleading. I agree it does not use too much tricky technique and is straight forward enough but in my view pancakes are easy, an omelette is easy, a quadruple layer cake – surely that qualifies as “a little effort”? Anyway, descriptions aside Olive came through with the goods as this cake is a real show stopper. The only things I needed to adjust about the recipe were the amount of milk used and I also omitted the espresso powder as I preferred the cake as a pure chocolate treat rather than a chocolate/coffee treat.
Combining the cream and melted chocolate for the frosting
175g self raising flour, sifted
3 tsp cocoa powder
175g butter softened, plus extra for lining tin
175g golden caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
4 tsp milk
100g 70% dark chocolate, melted and cooled
500ml double cream
500g milk chocolate, chopped
Folding the melted chocolate into the cake mixture for step three
1. Make the frosting first as it takes a while to cool and thicken. Put the milk chocolate into a bowl. Pour the cream into a pan, and heat until simmering. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Cool and then chill in the fridge until it is really thick and spreadable.
2. Heat the oven to 180c and grease and base-line 2x 18cm sandwich tins with baking paper. Take 3 tsp flour from the full amount and put them back in the flour bag – the cocoa powder will make up the difference.
3. Put all the cake ingredients except the chocolate in a large bowl. Beat them together with an electic whisk until you have a creamy mixture, then fold in the melted chocolate. Add extra milk if the mixture is too stiff – it should fall easily off a spoon.
The cakes ready to go into the oven
4. Divide the mixture between the 2 tins and level. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins or until the sponge springs back when cooked and a skewer comes out clean.
5. Cool for 5 mins and then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the paper and cool completely. Cut each half in half horizontally so you have four layers altogether.
Slicing the cakes in half
6. Sandwich the layers together with the frosting (be generous as there is a lot of frosting) and then spread the rest on top thickly.
Serves 10. Although the cake is super rich so we easily served about 15 with it, with smaller slices.
Recipe adapted from Olive magazine, April 2011 issue.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in this recipe for double Belgian chocolate ice-cream (without an ice-cream maker) or this one for cheat’s chocolate mousse.


  1. That looks DIVINE. Can’t complain about 4 layers of chocolate goodness!

  2. My goodness, that looks obscenely good! Will have to give this one a go.

  3. Sounds like a rich delicious cake. An observation and certainly not a criticism – amount of milk chocolate is the same as the combined weight of flour, sugar and butter.

  4. I need more chocolate cake in my life! Giving up sweets for lent – but this is a CAKE, not the same thing, right?!

  5. ive got this on the top of my list…picked up the magazine at the train station last week! x

  6. Glad to hear this recipe delivered . . . I hate when recipes aren’t well-tested and end up being a waste of (as you say) costly ingredients.

    I wonder if I could just throw in some red food coloring and call it a red velvet cake? It’s difficult to find a red velvet recipe that results in a truly moist, chocolate-tasting cake — any suggestions?

  7. So yummy. Just not sure I have the restraint to not eat the entire thing.

  8. For a moment I thought that this was Nigella’s quadruple chocolate cake (which I actually made into a quintuple :P). This looks lovely and chocoatey and I like the frosting swirls too!

  9. looks wonderful, I could do with a biiiig piece of exactly this cake now…

  10. OHHhhhhHHHHHhhh! Sigh…. This looks SO good, I actually leaned forward to smell the yummy chocolately goodness. This little beauty looks amazing. Im thinking I shall make this for our family dinner on Sunday! Thanks for sharing, I now need to find the computer screen cleaning cloth, hard to see through all my lick marks. LOL. 🙂

  11. Hey girl, this looks amazing and you know what? a friend of mine yesterday offered me a piece of a similar cake and he served it with some cream fresh on a side…it’s delicious! try it! it’s going to be the cherry on the cake 🙂 the acidity of the cream fresh goes better with the very sweet chocolate cakes, better than whipped cream or icecream.
    can i have a piece of yours now?

  12. My goodness daaahling, that looks fabulous. I love a good chocolate cake. So, what time should i come for tea?
    *kisses* HH

  13. Woohoo! What a gorgeous looking cake!!! Lucky lucky friend!! FFX

  14. Catty – four is better than one right?

    Nordic Nibbler – Let me know if you do

    Nancy – It was good

    Three Cookies – Good observation – that was £10 of Green and Blacks chocolate in that cake

    Hanna – Totally different

    Victoria – It is a good front cover isn’t it?

    American in London – Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe for red velvet is good. This one is so chocolatey I wonder if the red would come through.

    London Lady – Would be impossible – it was way too rich

    Lorraine – quintuple – now that I have to try

    Ute – yes a good afternoon treat – or anytime really

    Anna – Hope it works well for you

    Linguina – Thanks for the tip – fresh cream

    Heavenly Housewife- Thank you

    Feeling food – She loved it

  15. 600g chocolate and 500ml cream? Oof! Looks pretty darn fabulous.

  16. Although I’m prob going to generate a lot of disagreement with this comment, I find most of Hummingbird’s baked goods to be better-looking than they actually taste. The cakes, in particular, seem kind of dry, so I’d be reluctant to test out their red velvet recipe. Still, it’s one I haven’t tried, so I’ll take your tip on that one, GC.

  17. chocolate cake-tastic! thanks for posting!

  18. It’s an incredible cover isn’t it, I heard that the subscriber issue is just the cake and no words and looks really amazing. You’ve really done it justice!

    Not sure if you made this before or after you were unwell but hope you are better now!

  19. Gin and Crumpets – Yes dangerous but fabulous

    American in London – I have had pretty good success with their recipes actually once I worked out to use muffin cases for the cupcakes instead of cupcake cases anyway! Try the red velvet or also I love their lemon and poppyseed cake recipe.

    Meaghan – It was cake-tastic indeed

    Sarah – Yes I get the subscriber cover which does look great – and I made it pre feeling sick but am now much better – hope you are too.

  20. I have a question please…the instructions say to remove 3 “TBSP” of flour that will be replace with the cocoa. The recipe calls for 3 “TSP” of cocoa. Are these the correct amounts…I was thinking perhaps the cocoa was a mistype. Thank you for the recipe and your time!

  21. Swirls – Well spotted. I have amended it so it says 3 tsp not tbsp.

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