Black Magic Cake

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Black Magic Cake – a.k.a the BEST ever Chocolate Cake!! This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, rich, moist, delicious and perfect for birthdays and celebrations. Add my intensely chocolatey mascarpone frosting to make this the BEST chocolate cake ever!

You will also love my Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

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Black magic cake - chocolate layer cake with chocolate mascarpone frosting decorated with sprinkles

This one-bowl chocolate cake is always requested for birthday celebrations as it tastes and looks so spectacular. You can bet there’s never a single crumb left once the candles have been blown out 😉

The recipe comes from an 80s cookbook I bought in a charity shop and has an exciting name: ‘Black Magic Cake’ or ‘Hershey’s Black Magic Cake‘. It was originally created as a way to use Hershey’s Cocoa Powder and it truly lives up to its name!

The only magic here is how incredibly easy it is to bake, easy enough for kids and novice bakers. It requires no mixer and only one bowl – but more on that later.

Candles blown out on chocolate birthday layer cake

BLACK MAGIC CAKE INGREDIENTS

This simple chocolate cake uses flour, sugar, eggs and cocoa powder. It relies on vegetable oil instead of butter, buttermilk and strong coffee.

Not everyone is a fan of coffee, but I guarantee that you can’t actually taste the coffee in the cake, it simply enhances the chocolate flavour.

Buttermilk is really easy to find these days. But if you don’t have any you can still make this cake – simply add 1 tsp of lemon juice to milk, mix and let it stand for a few minutes. The milk will sour and look a bit curdled but don’t be put off – it works a treat.

Best chocolate frosting 

Black Magic Cake is so rich and moist it could be eaten as is. But it pairs incredibly well with most frostings including

  • American buttercream: made with butter and icing sugar, plus any flavourings you want to add. I find it a bit too sweet for this cake, but perfect if you are making cupcakes.
  • Italian or Swiss buttercream: made with egg whites, sugar and butter and a bit more tricky to make. Delicious, silky and perfect for piping. Not my first choice for this simple cake, especially if you are new to baking.
  • Chocolate ganache: made with chocolate and cream. Relatively simple to make but incredibly rich. As the cake is also quite rich I find it a bit OTT.
  • Nutella frosting: easy and delicious and a great choice here.
  • Chocolate mascarpone frosting: BINGO! We have found a winner. This frosting is so easy, tastes sensational and pipes beautifully. Plus it only needs one bowl and a stand or hand mixer. See below for the recipe!
Slice of rich chocolate layer cake

How to make Black Magic Cake

Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!

As you will see I lost my head and used one bowl and a measuring jug when I made this recipe video. You don’t need to do that, just read on!

Step 1. Mix the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla together in a large bowl or a measuring jug.

Mixing wet ingredients

Step 2. Sift all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, raising agents and salt) over the wet ingredients in the bowl or pour the wet ingredients over the dry if you have used a measuring jug.

adding liquid to dry ingredients

Step 3. Mix well, scraping over the bottom and sides of the bowl and making sure no dry pockets of flour remain. The batter will be quite runny – this is normal.

mixing cake batter

Step 4. Divide the batter between greased and lined tins. I used three 15cm (6in) tins to create a taller cake, but you could also use two 20cm (8in) tins if you prefer. Bake for 35 minutes and cool completely before frosting. You might need to use a leveler to level the tops before assembling the layer cake.

Chocolate mascarpone frosting

Step 1. Whisk icing sugar, mascarpone, ground cinnamon and instant espresso powder together in a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in your stand mixer) on low speed to combine. Increase the speed so that the frosting is well mixed.

Making mascarpone frosting

Step 2. Add the melted chocolate and whisk together until the frosting is glossy, smooth and holds peaks. Make sure to lick the whisk;)

Making chocolate mascarpone frosting

How to assemble this chocolate cake

Step 1. Transfer the frosting into a piping bag. Pipe a generous amount of frosting over the bottom cake layer and top with the second. Repeat and top with the final layer, smooth side up.

Assembling chocolate layer cake

Step 2. Pipe more frosting over the top of the cake and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Add sprinkles or chocolate shavings to decorate and serve immediately.

Hershey's Black Magic chocolate cake with slice taken out

How long will this chocolate cake keep?

  • The unfrosted layers can be baked up to three days in advance and kept wrapped at room temperature. The cake will feel rather damp and sticky – this is as it should be – so keep the layers separated by greaseproof paper if you are stacking together.
  • The frosted cake will last for 2-3 days in the fridge without any ill effects, not that I have ever had any leftovers! Bring back to room temperature before serving.
  • I haven’t tried freezing this cake but I have a feeling it would do fine in the freezer. Let me know if you do!

More recipes for chocolate lovers

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Black Magic Cake

Black Magic Cake

Black Magic Cake is THE BEST Chocolate cake ever! This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, rich, moist, delicious and perfect for birthdays and celebrations. Add my intensely chocolatey mascarpone frosting to make this the BEST chocolate cake ever!

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Rate

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Black Magic Cake, Black Magic Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 8 people

Calories: 972kcal

Instructions

Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Spray 3x15cm (6in) tins with cake release and line the bottoms with baking paper. Alternatively use 2x20cm (8in) tins.

  • Mix the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla together in a large bowl or a measuring jug.

  • Sift all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, raising agents and salt) over the wet ingredients in the bowl or pour the wet ingredients over the dry if you have used a measuring jug.

  • Mix well, scraping over the bottom and sides of the bowl and making sure no dry pockets of flour remain. The batter will be quite runny – this is normal.

  • Divide the batter between greased and lined tins and bake for 35 minutes

  • Cool in the tins for 10 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting. You might need to level the tops slightly before assembling the layer cake.

Chocolate mascarpone frosting

  • Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwave for 30 second bursts, stirring, until melted and smooth. Set aside.

  • Whisk icing sugar, mascarpone, ground cinnamon and instant espresso powder together in a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in your stand mixer) on low speed to combine. Increase the speed so that the frosting is well mixed.

  • Add the melted chocolate and whisk together until the frosting is glossy, smooth and holds peaks.

Assemble the cake

  • Transfer the frosting into a piping bag. Pipe a generous amount of frosting over the bottom cake layer and top with the second. Repeat and top with the final layer, smooth side up.

  • Pipe more frosting over the top of the cake and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

  • Add sprinkles or chocolate shavings to decorate and serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  • If you don’t have any buttermilk, add 1 tsp of lemon juice to whole milk, mix and let it stand for a few minutes. 
  • If you don’t like coffee you can use coffee essence or hot water instead and leave it out of the frosting.
  • The unfrosted layers can be baked up to three days in advance and kept wrapped at room temperature. The cake will feel rather damp and sticky – this is as it should be – so keep the layers separated by greaseproof paper if you are stacking together.
  • The frosted cake will last for 2-3 days in the fridge without any ill effects, not that I have ever had any leftovers! Bring back to room temperature before serving.

Please note: Nutritional values are approximate only and will depend on serving size.

Nutritional Info

Calories: 972kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 38g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 695mg | Potassium: 530mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 66g | Vitamin A: 1095IU | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 6.6mg



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