Black Magic Cake…

by Jamie on March 25, 2009

Post image for 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.

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Black Magic Cake

March 25th, 2009

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time:

Total Time:


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.
  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).
  3. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  4. 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.
  5. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
  6. Frost as desired.


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

From Hershey's

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jacques Goudreau January 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Looks really good!


avatar 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.


avatar MBA April 11, 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.


avatar 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


avatar 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.


avatar 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.


avatar marilyn November 23, 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…….


avatar 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.


avatar 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!! :)


avatar MBA April 11, 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!


avatar 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.


avatar 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 :)


avatar Yvonne January 2, 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!


avatar 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!!


avatar 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!!


avatar 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!


avatar MBA April 11, 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!


avatar 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 :)


avatar Bev Napurski March 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm

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


avatar 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.


avatar MBA April 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm

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


avatar Rachel May 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

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


avatar 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.


avatar Jamie May 22, 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.


avatar 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!


avatar Jamie August 11, 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!



avatar Erika June 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

How much flour??


avatar Jamie September 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

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


avatar 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.


avatar Jamie August 13, 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.



avatar 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!


avatar DiamondLilHearts August 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

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


avatar 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.


avatar Jamie September 8, 2013 at 10:59 am


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



avatar 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.


avatar Jamie October 20, 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!



avatar 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!


avatar Kristy November 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm

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


avatar Jamie November 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm


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



avatar 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?


avatar Jamie January 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm

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


avatar 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……


avatar 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!


avatar Jamie January 10, 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


avatar Jill December 31, 2013 at 11:41 am

This cake is also awesome with cream cheese frosting ….


avatar Jamie January 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm


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



avatar 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???


avatar Jamie January 10, 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


avatar 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.



avatar 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:)


avatar Jamie March 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm

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


avatar Monica March 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

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


avatar LH March 25, 2014 at 2:25 am

Hillbilly CAST IRON Cooking on Facebook featured your photo.


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