This Black Magic Cake is so moist, rich, and decadent that you’ll start to think there IS some black magic involved in baking such a fail-proof chocolate cake! No fancy techniques or equipment are needed to make this decadent cake – we use cocoa powder and coffee to bring out the rich chocolate flavor and we glaze the finished cake with glossy chocolate ganache.
Jokes aside though, this recipe is taken from the original black magic cake recipe developed and published by The Hershey Company as a clever marketing tactic for consumers to use more of their chocolate products – and it certainly worked!!
Today, you’ll find many variations to the original chocolate cake recipe in terms of the cake molds used, cake layers added, and various frosting, glaze, or ganache options to choose from while the cake batter itself stays pretty close to the original – and for good reason!
If you’re looking for the best chocolate cake out there, then this Black Magic Cake is the way to go. It’s so simple yet loved by all ages. The addition of coffee to the cake batter also helps to cut some of the sweetness and complement the chocolate flavor. In fact, you’ll also find coffee added to this Double Chocolate Cake too for the same reason!
Give it a try – you’ve got nothing to lose!
What is Black Magic Cake?
Black Magic Cake is the name of a recipe created by Hershey’s for a decadent buttermilk chocolate cake that includes black coffee in the rich chocolate cake batter, topped off with a simple chocolate glaze.
Since the release of their recipe, many baking addicts such as myself have gone on to make variations of this recipe or implement slight modifications. In my case, I’ve created a layered cake that sandwiches a creamy dark chocolate ganache between the moist cake layers and coats the top of the cake too! If that doesn’t get the mouth-watering, I don’t know what will!
- all-purpose flour
- unsweetened cocoa powder – you can use dutch process cocoa powder, but I like to stick to my standard Hershey’s cocoa powder here.
- white sugar
- baking soda and baking powder – these are leavening agents in the cake, giving it rise and fluf.
- milk or buttermilk – I like to use whole milk in cake recipes as the added fat produces a softer crumb. Buttermilk is brilliant in cake batter – it will produce a very moist chocolate cake.
- large eggs, room temperature – adding room temp eggs to the cake batter helps the ingredients to mix evenly.
- strong black coffee or espresso – the inclusion of coffee is a surprising addition to cake recipes, but it actually brings out the chocolate flavor and you do not end up tasting the coffee at all.
- vanilla extract
- vegetable oil – using vegetable oil as the fat in our cake batter is both convenient and makes a softer crumb than using butter.
- dark chocolate chips – bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate can be used to make the rich chocolate ganache
- heavy whipping cream – we will simmer the cream and pour it over the chocolate to make a rich, thick ganache to glaze the cake
We used our trusty standing mixer to make the cake batter but you can use a large mixing bowl and a hand electric mixer. You can even mix it by hand!
You will need cake pans – we typically go with the 8 inch cake pan for our black magic chocolate cake. You can also bake the cake in a 9×13 rectangular pan to make a sheet cake or bake in a bundt pan. Bake times will need to be adjusted.
Variations and Substitutions:
There are so many ways that you could modify a Black Magic Cake. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- Make Black Magic cupcakes with this cake batter recipe and use the chocolate ganache as the cupcake frosting. Just note that you’ll need to reduce your baking time to 20-25 minutes when baking cupcakes.
- If you don’t want coffee (either espresso or instant coffee) added to your cake, simply omit it but make sure to then replace that 1 cup of coffee with 1 cup of water so that you don’t compromise the moisture of the cake.
- You could make a white chocolate ganache instead of dark chocolate.
- Add some chocolate chips or sprinkles to the top of your cake and any other toppings that you’d like.
- Top with a cream cheese frosting or a fluffy chocolate frosting.
- You could make this a slightly boozy chocolate cake by adding a shot or two of coffee liqueur. If you do so, I suggest that you omit the black coffee and add in some water so that the coffee flavor doesn’t overpower the chocolate. Remember, the coffee added to this cake is there to provide additional depth and to cut sweetness, not to steal the show from the rich chocolate flavors.
Step 1: In a large bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Step 2: Add the milk, eggs, coffee, vanilla, and oil. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes to combine.
Step 3: Divide the batter between two greased cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs.
Step 4: Cool cakes for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans to cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. After the cakes have cooled completely, level the tops with a serrated knife.
Step 5: To make the ganache, heat heavy cream in a small saucepan or in a microwave safe container until it simmers. Pour cream over chocolate chips in a small bowl. Cover with a plate for 2-3 minutes to contain the heat and allow the chocolate chips to soften.
Step 6: Whisk until the mixture forms a smooth, glossy ganache.
Step 7: Pour about ½ cup of the ganache over the top of one cake layer and spread just to the edges to form the filling. Stack the second layer, top down, onto the ganache layer. (This gives an ultra flat top to the cake for your glaze.)
Step 8: Pour additional ganache over the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to smooth the ganache down and around the sides. For extra smooth ganache, allow the ganache to cool for about 15 minutes and then smooth out with the offset spatula.
Tips For Making Black Magic Cake
- To avoid unnecessary mess, it’s best to place a layer of parchment paper on top of the cooling rack before placing the cake on any wire racks and pouring the ganache over. That way, any dripping will be caught by the parchment paper instead of landing up on your countertop for you to clean.
- This recipe follows the original Hershey’s cake recipe which is traditionally made with a cup of buttermilk to add that awesome moisture. Feel free to make any modifications to the recipe – I’ve added some great ideas in this post.
- While this cake does include coffee, you’ll find that the baked cake won’t taste like coffee. The coffee is merely added to enhance the rich chocolate flavor. It’s not intended to be a mocha cake! Since we all have different taste preferences and tolerances, if you do find the cake a bit bitter then consider reducing the amount of coffee in the cake batter and adding in some water as a replacement for that liquid.
- The recipe is super easy. You don’t have to hassle with creaming butter with sugar. Simply stir all the wet and dry ingredients together in a large bowl, pour batter into the round pans, heat the oven, and you’re on your way to making a delicious cake!
Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
You also have the option of freezing this cake for up to 3 months. If you do opt to freeze the cake, I suggest flash-freezing it first (uncovered) and then either wrapping the cake whole with plastic wrap and place in an airtight container OR wrapping individual slices in plastic wrap to store which will then give you the flexibility of being able to indulge in a slice or two without having to defrost an entire cake.
Flash freezing prior to wrapping the cake will help prevent the ganache from sticking to the plastic wrap.
Yes, definitely! Since this cake stores well, it’s a great cake recipe to use when preparing for birthday parties or other occasions.
You have the option of making a fully assembled cake and storing it or baking the two cake layers and storing those while leaving the chocolate ganache and assembly just prior to serving.
If you try this Black Magic Cake or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Black Magic Cake
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk or buttermilk
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup black coffee or 2 shots of espresso with water added to make 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 12 oz. dark chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of two 8” round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the bottom and sides with non-stick cooking spray.
- Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer: flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients: milk, eggs, coffee, vanilla, and oil.
- Turn the mixer onto medium speed and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through mixing.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Cool cakes for 10-15 minutes; remove from pans to cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.
- When cake is cooled, prepare ganache.
- Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan or in a microwave safe container until steaming. Pour cream over chocolate chips in a small bowl. Cover with a plate for 2-3 minutes to contain the heat and allow the chocolate chips to soften.
- Whisk until the mixture forms a smooth, glossy ganache.
- Level the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife.
- Pour about ½ cup of the ganache over the top of one cake layer and spread just to the edges to form the filling. Stack the second cake layer, top down, onto the ganache layer.
- Pour additional ganache over the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to smooth the ganache down and around the sides. For extra smooth ganache, allow the ganache to cool for about 15 minutes and then smooth out with the offset spatula.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Place cake on a cooling rack over a baking sheet when pouring the ganache over so that the drips are caught on the cookie sheet for easy clean-up.
- This cake is SO moist and rich and decadent.
- This is an original Hershey’s cake recipe. It is traditionally made with buttermilk, which adds moisture.
- The cake doesn’t taste like coffee; rather, the coffee undertones enhances the rich chocolate flavor.
- The recipe is so easy because there is no butter to cream with the sugar and it is super fast to dump all the wet ingredients at once into the dry ingredients.