Black Magic Cake

I needed a cake fix this week so I baked an entire cake for two people. This was a very bad idea. Thankfully I came to my senses and cut one slice for me and one slice for Jonathan. The rest I sent off to the nurses who work the night shift at our downtown hospital. This morning when I saw the empty cake plate there was one brief moment of sadness when I contemplated the chocolate cake that could have been my breakfast. Seriously, it was a close call. Thankfully I sent the cake off last night and I had a healthy breakfast this morning!

I really love a good chocolate cake. There is something about rich, fluffy layers of delicious cake slathered in decadent butter cream that starts my engine. This Black Magic Cake is a solid hit out of the park. It is also the perfect October cake with Halloween around the corner!

The recipe is a family treasure, given to me by my friend Sky Albrecht. Historically the inspiration for this recipe may have originated with Betty Crocker or Hershey’s depending on who you ask. Wherever it came from, it has earned a solid place in the chocolate cake fan club.

The first time I read this recipe I was dubious about the coffee. It turns out you can’t taste any coffee in the cake but it brings out the chocolate flavor powerfully. I guess the coffee must be the magic in the cake. I updated the frosting with some almond extract to relieve the chocolate on chocolate intensity. The bottom line is that this cake is pretty darn amazing. It has become one of my staple recipes and I hope you will enjoy every single bite as much as I do!


You also might want to check out yesterday’s post on How To Bake A Perfect Cake. I have some simple tips in the post that will change the way you think about cake baking!


BlackMagicCake2Pictured:  No Churn Homemade Amaretto Ice cream


Black Magic Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 slices
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong black coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 oz heavy cream
  • 1-2 Tbsp almond extract
  1. For the Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Line two, 9" round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter the sides of the pan and use a smear of butter to tack the parchment to the bottom of the pans.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. If your baking cocoa is lumpy, put it through a sieve before adding it. Stir until dry ingredients are mixed.
  4. In a second mixing bowl combine all the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix until smooth. The batter will be runny.
  5. Divide the batter equally between the two pans. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes. Be careful not to check the cake before 30 minutes. Use the oven light to see how the cake is doing. When you observe it pulling away from the sides it is time to check it. The cake should spring back to the touch.
  6. Cool and remove from pans.
  7. For the frosting: In a kitchen aid beat together everything except the chocolate.
  8. Melt the chocolate in a microwave 15-20 seconds at a time, stirring in-between. When the chocolate is melted with no lumps remaining, add to the frosting and beat until fluffy and light.
  9. Frost the first layer of cake, then stack the second layer on top and cover with frosting.
  10. Serve with vanilla or amaretto ice cream for the perfect dessert.

Tools In This Post:  I’m using  Caphalon cake pans.  They last forever and the quality is good for even baking.  Generally the price is very reasonable for the quality.

This recipe is participating in the Weekend Potluck!

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14 thoughts on “Black Magic Cake

  1. This cake was delicious! I could have sworn it was made with a can of Dr. Pepper. It had a very “cherry” taste to it. Must have been the coffee! The night shift nurses were thrilled to share your leftovers! Thanks for thinking of us!

    • Thanks! The “cherry” flavor comes from the almond extract in the frosting. Sometimes I do use a flavored cherry-chocolate coffee for the cake but this time I just used normal beans.

  2. I’ve been making this cake for over 40 years. I can say definitely it is from Hershey’s Cocoa. Used to be on the back of the cocoa can in the 70’s. This has been many a birthday cake in our house over the years, usually turned into a Black Forest Cake. My son calls it Mom’s Kick A– Chocolate Cake.

    • Thank you for sharing, Connie! I love the history and stories behind favorite family treats. This one has certainly become a new favorite of ours and I imagine will be the basis for many birthday cakes to come!

  3. Haven’t tasted the cake yet, looks delicious. But I had an icing fail. Turned thick and fudge like, impossible to spread. Tasted good though. What happened?

    • Hi Mary, I’m really sorry to hear you had a problem. Cooking is science and something even as simple as the weather can change the results. It could be a measurement issue or the temperature of the butter? Thankfully icing is pretty flexible. When I have one get stiff I just add a few Tablespoons of cream and whip it up. I keep adding until I have something spreadable. In a pinch I will use milk too. I hope that helps rescue your cake in time! Good luck. If you have any further problems let me know 🙂

  4. I love the frosting, but 2 tablespoons of almond extract is just a little too strong for me. It overpowers the chocolate. Next time I’m only going to use 1 tablespoon. But even with 2 tablespoons, I still can’t resist licking the bowl!

    • Jessica, Thanks for that feedback! I think I have a smallish obsession with almond extract. I have updated the recipe to call for 1-2 Tbsp. of Almond Extract. Hopefully in the future people can try 1 and decide if they want to add more.

    • Hi Sandy, I can’t tell there is coffee in this cake and I think you would be surprised to find that it really does just taste like rich chocolate. I was hesitant the first time because I did not want any coffee flavor and it was excellent. Nobody is ever able to tell me there is coffee in it. However, if you do want to make a substitution the bit concern would be to keep the liquid the same. I would simply use water in the place of coffee. Let me know what you think!

    • I have not done so before so I can’t give you any experience on my end. If you want to try it I would just use the substitution directions on the back of the splenda bag. Good luck!

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