Black Magic Snack Cake
This super moist, decadent Black Magic Cake is topped with a rich silky smooth chocolate buttercream frosting. A perfectly portable dessert, it’s baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan and is terrific to bring for picnics and potlucks!
I had no event in which to take this easy dark chocolate cake, but with home renovations in progress, I’ve scaled back to simpler dessert creations. This two-bowl, easy chocolate cake recipe was a win for me, a win for the family.
Why You Must Make
- Black Magic cakes have been around for eons. Originating from Hershey’s, this moist, rich cake is infused with a cup of strong coffee which magnifies the chocolate flavor. This 9 x13-inch version makes for a perfect snack cake. A slice of this old-fashioned, chocolate buttermilk cake is a delightful after-school treat or after-dinner dessert and is definitely less caloric than a slice of layer cake laden with frosting.
- Another bonus is that it’s not much harder to make than a box cake mix. There is just one bowl needed for the cake and another for the frosting! Easy as can be!
- Speaking of buttermilk, this ingredient works its magic, too, by ensuring a tender crumb. And take a gander at the photo below and you’ll see why the frosting bowl must be licked! The chocolate buttercream is smooth and luscious.
From the comments: Made this cake last night and took some to my friend who cuts my hair. She just sent me a text “Holy hell!!! I swear on my son’s life that is the best cake I have EVER had!
- If you love this recipe, check out how you can make it with different-sized pans listed below.
- Have your eggs and buttermilk at room temperature for the best incorporation. Just let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before you start mixing. You can put the eggs in a bowl of warm water to speed things along.
- PRO-Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can make it at home. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add milk up to the 1 cup mark. Let sit for a few minutes as the acid will slightly curdle or thicken the milk. Use as the “buttermilk” called for in the recipe.
- Prep the baking pan by greasing and then lightly dusting with flour to prevent sticking. A flour and oil spray like Bakers Joy also works well.
- Note that when you see vegetable oil in a cake recipe instead of butter, the result is usually a nice, moist cake.
- PRO-Tip: For the smoothest frosting, sift your powdered sugar. Otherwise, there may be very small lumps.
This cake can be made as a Bundt cake, layer cake, cupcakes or a snack cake, like above. All of the alternatives are baked at 350 degrees, but the baking time will vary:
- 12 Cup Bundt Pan – bake for 50-55 minutes
- 2 9-inch Round Cake Pans – bake for 30-35 minutes
- 24 Cupcakes– bake for 20-25 minutes
- 9 x 13-inch Cake Pan – bake for 35-40 minutes (all pans are affiliate links)
Frequently Asked Questions
Maybe not quite black, but this recipe does make a dark chocolate cake, thus deserving the name black magic. The taste is definitely magical!
King Arthur Flour sells a black cocoa (affiliate link)that could create an even darker cake. It’s Dutch-processed so you can’t just swap it out for regular cocoa as the leaveners also need to be tweaked. But feel free to accentuate the intensity by substituting 1/4 cup or less of the regular cocoa powder for the black cocoa if you’d like to go that route.
Coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor without making the cake taste like coffee or a mocha dessert. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of coffee, the addition is so subtle it’s practically indistinguishable.
This recipe comes from Hershey’s. Their recipe is made in a Bundt pan and is one of the rare recipes with all 5-star reviews!
You May Also Like
- Gooey Upside Down German Chocolate Cake from TidyMom
- Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
- Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake.
- Check out my Best Baking Tips for more tips for baking desserts
- Plus you’ll love all myChocolate Recipes and Cake Recipes.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.
Black Magic Snack Cake
A one layer chocolate cake that's perfect for picnics, potlucks and family gatherings!
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup strong black coffee
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick butter)
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour one 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Frost as desired.
4. Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
5. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups frosting.
Cake recipe adapted from Hershey's.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 3g
37 Comments on “Black Magic Snack Cake”
This is my non-fail ALWAYS GO TO recipe and it’s absolutely delicious. As I’ve relocated to India and in my hometown APF is not available, Bakers here use Maida for cakes and I’m wondering if I substitute APF for maida, will it taste as good.
Looking forward to your response.
I’ve just messaged a food blogger friend who now lives in India. When I hear back, I’ll let you know what she suggests.
Made this cake last night and took some to my friend who cuts my hair. She just sent me a text “Holy hell!!! I swear on my sons life that is the best cake I have EVER had! ???? Too funny!
I love that! Thanks for taking the time to let me know….and make me giggle!!!
Thanks Liz for your response and I look forward to hear from you.
Just to let you know, Christine, she hasn’t gotten back to me. But when she does, I’ll let you know her thoughts on the substitution.
She missed my message but got back to me today. Here’s what she said:
Maida can be used but it’s different from western flours. It’s kind of like an all-purpose flour but they hardly make a difference nowadays in the grinding quality. So recommend they use good quality maida. Because just the other day I bought a more expensive maida and it was wayyyy better than the stuff you get locally.
Hope that helps!!!
Oh Liz thank you and your blogger for getting back to me. This does help.
Your effort is much appreciated.
Haven’t made yet but wondering if I could substitute Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour?
I’m not an expert with gluten free flours, but I’m thinking it should work! If you give it a try, please report back!
If all of my kids were home this would last about an hour. It’s gorgeous! I’ve purchased black onyx cocoa from Savory Spice Shop (?) and from King Arthur and loved them both.
My goodness this cake looks fabulous. It looks like a dessert from a fancy restaurant. We love chocolate cake. So glad you join us at Merry Monday. We would not want to miss out!
Lovely recipe Liz! Is that the buttermilk which makes the cake moist?
Yes, Pragya, I think it’s a combination of the buttermilk and the oil that keep the cake moist! It’s a winner!
Love the look of this cake after taking a “gander”. I also use this word and my husband says it is an old fashioned word. Who cares? I love it! I use many words from the past because they are appropriate for the situation!
Looks so good!!
Amazing and I love the name!