Black Magic Cake…

Originally I had not planned on blogging this cake, but after the rave reviews from co-workers, I figured it was a must! I made this late Sunday evening and could not get around to photographing it because the ganache had not thoroughly set up before I went to bed. The next morning, it was boxed up and taken to feed the co-workers. I managed to cut one reserve piece before I dashed out of house, just in case it needed to be photographed.

Typically when I make cakes, I like to post a photo of the whole cake and then a piece of the sliced cake; however, my snooze hitting ways did not allow me to do this today. However, this cake was so good I had to post it despite the absent photographs. Apparently this is a very old cake recipe and from what I have read online, it seems to have originated from Hershey’s.

I was introduced to this cake via a cooking/baking forum; it was receiving rave reviews, so of course I had to hop on the bandwagon and give it a try. I was a little concerned about the cup of coffee in the ingredient list, but my anxiety was relieved once I read the finished cake has very little coffee flavor.

Apparently the coffee is used to bring out the flavor of the chocolate – making it more prominent as opposed to flat and one dimensional. This cake is super easy, essentially you dump it all into the mixer and plop it into your pan(s) of choice.

The result is the most decadent, moist, delicious cake that will ever cross your lips! It is full of luscious, rich chocolate flavor that blends harmoniously with a smooth semi-sweet chocolate ganache.

The next time you are looking to impress a crowd or just your significant other, whip up this amazing cake… and be prepared to bask in all the compliments you will receiving.

Black Magic Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
  2. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin).Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
  5. Frost as desired.


  • To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

141 Responses to “Black Magic Cake…”

  1. Jacques Goudreau — January 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Looks really good!

  2. Jessie — January 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I don’t know what I did wrong with this but I poured the batter into two round pans and put them in the oven. They both overflowed. I have one giant stinky mess to clean up. My entire house smells like burnt chocolate. Add oven cleaning to my never ending list of things to do today. After they overflowed, they both fell also so the cakes are about an inch thick is all.

    • MBA — April 11th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      I am sorry to hear that you had an issue with the recipe. If you have specific questions about what could have went wrong, feel free to email me at Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your valuable feedback. Have a great day.

  3. Cheryl — February 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

    The best chocolate cake ever. The espresso really adds to the flavor. I was worried the batter seemed too thin, but the cake was very moist and delicious. Today I will be making it for the second time, I’m sure there will be many more.
    Thank You
    Cheryl K

  4. Elisa — February 6, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    So, I know some people were asking about a substitue for coffee. I stumbled across a recipe that is almost identical to this one but it uses no coffee, just the boiling water and it uses 1/4 c dark cocoa and 1/2 cup regular cocoa instead of 3/4 c regular cocoa, I think to intensify the flavor that the coffee would add. Thought I would pass this on.

  5. Polly — February 7, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I have made this cake and it IS absolutely delicious. Some cocoa is so over-rated! Hershey’s is the best for cakes like this.

    • marilyn — November 23rd, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      I agree….on both…….the cake is absolutely delicious and have tried other cocoa and I always go back to Hershey’s…….

  6. Nancy Long — February 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    thanks for reminding me of this cake – I used to make it all the time, but haven’t in years. Hubby will be happy to see it back in the rotation.

  7. Brianna — February 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Just wondering what I should change if I wanted to use this recipe for cupcakes? I’ve made the cake a few times now (it’s incredible and now officially my hubby’s fave) and he has a party at the office tomorrow for which he’d like to share it’s deliciousness, but without having to worry about plates and forks… suggestions? Thanks!! :)

    • MBA — April 11th, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Typically, the recipe itself does not need to change, other than the baking time, when changing to cupcakes. Good luck and have a great day!

  8. Bobbie — February 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Yes, this recipe comes out of the Hershey’s 100th Anniversary cookbook. This cake is to die for. A woman I knew who had a small bakeshop baked this for my daughter’s wedding. She made a French buttercream frosting to use on it. We ended up using her again for my son’s wedding and the black magic cake was one of his cake layers. I’m salivating right now. Oh my G-D, it was heavenly.

  9. Nikita — February 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    This looks so delicious! Thanks for posting the recipe. Looking forward to trying it.
    Unfortunately,some people in my family are allergic to eggs. Do you have an easy substitute for the 2 eggs mentioned in the recipe?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you again for posting :)

    • Yvonne — January 2nd, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Chocolate Cake (no eggs)
      3 c. flour
      2 c. sugar (or Splenda)
      2 tsp. baking soda
      1 tsp. salt
      6 TBSP. Cocoa (use part dark or all dark if want darker)
      2 c. water
      2 tsp. vanilla
      2 TBSP. vinegar (brown – not white)
      3/4 c. veg. or olive oil

      Stir (with hand whisk or wooden spoon) all dry ingredients in bowl.
      Add all liquid ingredients to that & stir til mixture is smooth.
      Pour in Pam sprayed – oblong or 2 round cake pans and place in middle shelf of a pre-heated 350′ oven for 25 to 30 min. Test center with tooth pick for doneness. Allow to cool on rack….then cover with your choice of frosting.
      Optional: Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of frosting.
      This cake is so moist – you’ll love it. Yes – it can be made sugar free!

  10. Linsey — February 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I made this cake about 2 months ago with a maple glaze that I grew up with on top….and my hubby and I ate it all by ourselves in a day. Thats right…24 hours. How bad is that!? So bad and yet so good. Anyways, question: Ive never made a bundt cake before, but would love to do this recipe for his birthday as a bundt because it would look really nice with the Maple glaze. I know I need to decrease the temp to 325 and grease/powder the pan like crazy and all those other tricks that make a cake successful, but should I decrease the amount of liquids in the recipe? Also, about how much do you think I need to increase cooking time by? Thanks for the FABulous recipe!!

  11. Diana — February 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Probably the best chocolate cake, I’ve ever had!! It was so moist and chocolateyl without bring too sweet!! Yummy!!

  12. Jennifer — February 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Does the coffee give it a coffee flavor or is it masked by the chocolate? Looking to make a yummy chocolate cake for an upcoming family gathering, but a few of my family members do not like coffee…even in cake form! Either way, I’ll be trying this recipe out eventually, because I am a coffee lover. ;-) Thanks for posting! Looks delicious!

    • MBA — April 11th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      There is a hint of coffee taste in this cake; however, it is not overpowering. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

  13. Jelena — March 2, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Love it! :) Saving the recipe :) And, I have to point out that it doesn’t use any chocolate or butter. It’s very budget-friendly :)

  14. Bev Napurski — March 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Has anyone made this in a Bundt cake pan? Looks delicious!!

  15. Paula — April 3, 2013 at 3:25 am

    I found your recipe here:
    I do not know if you agree, but I wanted to let you know, just in case.
    Although they quoted, also copied the whole text, and that could make people, instead of entering your blog,see there the recipes.

    • MBA — April 11th, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you so much for giving me that information. It is greatly appreciated! Have a great day!

  16. Rachel — May 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    This makes me think of Ms. Trunchbulls cake from Matilda!

  17. Anu — May 22, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Hi Jamie, I live in India. I love this blog of yours a lot. I made this cake. It came out very dry. I’m not able to nail the problem. Is it the oil? I should double it? Can you reply to me please as I want this cake to come out fine.

    • Jamie — May 22nd, 2013 at 11:13 am

      I have never had an issue with this cake being dry, so I am unable to problem solve with you without further info on the ingredients you used.

  18. Audrey — June 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    My Husband’s says that hands down this is his favorite cake! It is sooooo easy and I think the best chocolate cake recipe I have. I always frost it with my Seven Minute Icing in stead of Chocolate. Makes a beautiful cake and even prettier cupcakes!

    • Jamie — August 11th, 2013 at 8:54 pm


      I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for stopping back to share your experience. Have a great day and thank you for following MBA!


  19. Erika — June 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    How much flour??

    • Jamie — September 13th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      Hi Erika,
      As the recipe states, 1 and 3/4 cup of flour.
      – Jamie

  20. Webderoma — July 6, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Normally, I dont like chocolate cake but this totally changed my mind. It was so moist and delicious that I have my whole family hooked. Also, its great PMS food.

    • Jamie — August 13th, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Haha, thank you so much! I’m glad the cake helped! Thank you for following MBA and have a lovely day.


  21. Jene — July 11, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I had a neighbor that made this cake when I was a little girl. I love the recipe! She put a frosting on it while the cake was still warm. Made with 4 tbls buttermilk, 4 tbls cocoa, 1 stick of butter bring to a boil on the stove and when it starts boiling remove from the heat and add a box of powdered sugar and a tsp of vanilla with mixer! It turns out perfect every time! Best frosting ever! She aways made it in a 13x9x2 pan!

  22. DiamondLilHearts — August 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I wonder if it work as a bundt cake? Anyone?

  23. Lois — September 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    MMM Deep dark chocolate cake from the Hershey’s box! You can make it with boiling water instead of coffee and also use sour cream for the sour milk. Its also fine to use regular milk with out it being sour.

    • Jamie — September 8th, 2013 at 10:59 am


      Thanks so much for the tips! Have a wonderful day and thank you for following MBA!


  24. FRAN — October 15, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Been making this cake for about five years. It was my husband’s favorite cake, and I usually made it for him once a week or so.

    • Jamie — October 20th, 2013 at 10:44 pm


      What a lucky man! It’s wonderful to hear that he loved the recipe so much. Thank you for stopping in to let me know!


  25. Teresa Leonard — November 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    This recipe seemed so familiar, so I grabbed my Hershey’s box to see why. It is almost identical to the cake recipe on the Hersheys box today. This one uses buttermilk instead of sweet milk and coffee instead of water, but otherwise they are the same. Guess what I’ll be making this week!

  26. Kristy — November 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    1 Cup Coffee grounds or one cup of liquid coffee??

    • Jamie — November 20th, 2013 at 12:06 pm


      1 cup of prepared “liquid” coffee. Sorry for the confusion! Have a great day!


  27. Kelsi B — November 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Could I use icing from a can with this? If so what kind of chocolate would you recommend? Dark, milk?

    • Jamie — January 10th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Kelsi, yes you can. And either would be fine, though I’d probably use dark chocolate.
      – Jamie

  28. marilyn — November 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    I have made this cake……found the recipe on line several years ago…….This is the best chocolate cake……and I mean the best……EVERYONE Loves this cake……My little grandson wants me to make this cake for his birthday……it is easy to make and so very good…….as my grandson says this cake is THE BOMB….try it you will love it……

  29. Julia — November 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Hi there! I am planning on making this cake for Thanksgiving, and I was wondering if you could give me the frosting recipe? I don’t want to mess up the flavors of the cake with a store bought brand, and that icing looks incredible! Thank you!

    • Jamie — January 10th, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Hi Julia,
      I’m sorry, but that post is over 4 years old and I’m not sure which frosting recipe I used with it. Any dark chocolate ganache or frosting would work though.
      – Jamie

  30. Jill — December 31, 2013 at 11:41 am

    This cake is also awesome with cream cheese frosting ….

    • Jamie — January 3rd, 2014 at 12:24 pm


      Yum, that sounds great! Have a wonderful day and thanks so much for following MBA!


  31. rae — January 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    was wondering if you would be able to put in a conversion to grams or oz’s for us lot over the water???

    • Jamie — January 10th, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Hi Rae,
      Unfortunately, I didn’t learn to bake using weights as I grew up, and it’s just not how I write recipes. There are lots of calculators out there that will help you convert the recipe, and I would trust them more than me when it comes to conversions.
      – Jamie

  32. Brodie — January 19, 2014 at 3:23 am

    I love making this cake and it is my husband’s favourite cake hands down. Mine always seems to come out quite a bit flatter than I expect ( also compared to your photo). Can you tell me how high your cake normally comes out so I know if mine is falling flat or it is just a trick of the camera.


  33. Julianne — March 2, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    You should call this cake “worst than hooked on crack cake”. This is my third time making it this month! My husband can’t get enough! Thanks for the recipe, you’re an angel:)

    • Jamie — March 5th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks for a big afternoon chuckle! So glad to hear you enjoyed the cake. :)

  34. Monica — March 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Am I missing something? Where is the frosting recipe??

    • Cathy — March 24th, 2014 at 9:54 am

      I was wondering the same thing…??

  35. Debora Cadene — March 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I’ve been making this recipe for years and have always had raves about it. I ripped the recipie out of a magazine, it was titled Hershey’s perfectly chocolate chocolate cake. It has an icing recipie too, but it never worked for me.
    I’ve not made it with the coffee, just the boiling water, but regardless…its my favorite and if it ever lasts more then a day, it tastes even better. I actually baked one on Saturday for a friends birthday.
    thanks for posting it …


  36. LH — March 25, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Hillbilly CAST IRON Cooking on Facebook featured your photo.

  37. Kathleen — April 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    SO looking forward to baking this for my grandmother’s birthday on Sunday. I was just wondering, do you HAVE to use Hershey’s cocoa or can I use my no name brand? will this affect the taste?

    • Jamie Lothridge — May 5th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Hi Kathleen,
      Use any cocoa powder you like.
      – Jamie

  38. Dolly — April 25, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Can you please send me the ganache recipe

  39. Kristie — May 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I made this cake, however I don’t think the batter really is enough for using 9″ cake pans, the batter doesn’t even fill the pan half way. The cake didn’t rise to top of pan and I think I know what might have happened to one lady whose batter bubbled over while baking. I caught the fact that I had mistakenly put baking SODA in instead of baking POWDER. I was able to remove the SODA replace with Baking POWDER. The next time I make this cake I will try 8″ round cake pans to see how that works.

  40. Fiona — June 1, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Oh YES. This IS vthe best chocolate cake ever. Nothing I would change. I used 2 tsp of instant coffee with the boiling water. Oh my gosh, soft but not crumbly, moist, semi dense and very choclatey.

  41. liz — June 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Hey I was wondering if he coffee supposed to be hot? If you use boiling water as the alternative, then the coffee should be hot too?

    • Jamie — June 27th, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Yes, warm or hot coffee works the best!

  42. Amanda MdA — August 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Great recipe!!!
    I just tried it and it was a complete success!! awesomely delicious!!!
    Thanks for the trick of how to make sour milk, since here inSpain it is no so common to coock with buttermilk

    • Jamie — August 23rd, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Wonderful! I’m so glad you found success. Thanks for stopping by.


  43. Kine — September 26, 2014 at 6:37 am

    I’m a bit confused – is it 1 TO 3/4 cups of flour, or 1 AND 3/4 cups of flour? I have made this earlier for a bachelorette party and it was a hit! I recommend layering it with frosting and strawberries – yum! Making it again now for a birthday but dont remember how much flour I used the first time…

    • Jamie — September 26th, 2014 at 9:42 am

      It is 1 and 3/4 cups of flour. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for stopping by.


  44. euaggelia — October 13, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    pure awesomeness!!!i made it an hour ago and i can’t stop cutting little pieces and eating over the counter.i’m not sure that there will be any cake left for our morning coffee.

    • Jamie — October 14th, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      I’m glad you had success with the recipe. Thanks for visiting.


  45. jezzi — November 20, 2014 at 11:47 am

    hi i made the cake the first time and it was superb…. the second time i made it and the outside got cooked n the inside was stiff uncooked (i used pure coconut oil)… where did i go wrong ???

    • Jamie — November 20th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      I have never made this cake with coconut oil, so I cannot tell you whether or not that caused the mishap the second time around. Thanks for stopping by!

  46. Waheeda — December 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Can I cover this cake with fondant? Can it take the weight of fondant?

    • Jamie — January 28th, 2015 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Waheeda,

      I have never tried it, so I can’t guarantee your results. I believe it might work, but I definitely think the cake would need to be frozen first.

      – Jamie

  47. Carmen — April 17, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Good day. Could you tell how many grams fit in a cup ?. In my country we measured by grams.
    A greeting,

    • Jamie — April 24th, 2015 at 9:24 am

      1 cup is 227 grams, I hope this helps.


  48. Taylor — June 21, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for my go-to cake recipe–It is moist, chocolatey, and perfect for any occasion! I am a chronic “recipe tweaker,” but this is one that I never risk toying with.

    Top with cream cheese frosting, and it is perfect!

    • Jamie — June 24th, 2015 at 9:28 am

      I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipe. Thanks for stopping by.


  49. Tara — July 24, 2015 at 8:49 am


    This cake is also a favourite in my circle! I stumbled upon the recipe in an old recipe book of my grandmother’s-you know the church group compilations of simple but delcious favourites among congregationalists. There was a gold foil star beside the recipe-my grandmother’s way of indicating that the recipe was a great success and must be remembered for future use. This was all the encouragement I needed! I made the cake to complement the dessert menu of a boutique restaurant, and guests just raved about it. There is something to be said for simplicity and the wisdom of our elders (were my grandmother here today I would suggest she add another gold star to this jewel of a recipe). Thereafter I received several requests to make the cake to order! As the recipe was not my own I was happy to share it with any who requested more information. Since then, my family and friends have come to prefer this cake for birthdays and Sunday dinner events. I’m happy to see that others have enjoyed it as much as we have!

  50. Courtney — July 25, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    replace the buttermilk with coconut milk. you will never use buttermilk again!


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