There are two chocolate cake recipes everyone should know. The first is Black Magic Cake, a dump in the bowl and mix cake that calls for a cup of buttermilk and hot coffee. The second is Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake, which is similar, but calls for an adjusted amount of leavening agents and regular milk instead of buttermilk.
Black Magic Cake is Everywhere
The reason I'm mentioning this is both cakes appeared on my radar this week. First, my sister-in-law sent me a link to Sally's Baking Addiction, where she calls Black Magic Cake the best cake in the world (she throws in some black cocoa). And recently, a lady in Pennsylvania used the Perfectly Chocolate recipe to make The Best Chocolate Cake in Pennsylvania. Hers calls for a rich peanut butter frosting and looks SO good.
Black Cocoa Version
So here's how I made the cake this week. I used the original recipe, but took out 2 tablespoons of the cocoa and substituted with 2 tablespoons of black cocoa powder. That step is totally unnecessary, but if you happen to have some black cocoa around, it adds flavor. I also used my all-time favorite frosting, but put in a little buttermilk to play off the buttermilk flavor in the cake. Enjoy!
Natural Cocoa Powder in the Frosting
There are good recipes for chocolate frosting with Dutch process cocoa, but for this cake I almost always use natural -- Ghirardelli, Hershey' or Navitas brand in the frosting I really like the Navitas. I am not sure why natural tastes so much better than Dutch process in this frosting, but it's possible it just reminds me of the frosting I grew up with which was the recipe on the back of the Hershey's can which of course called for natural. So yes, this cake does have two kinds of cocoa powder.
Black Magic Cake
- 1 ¾ cups flour stir very well before measuring (220 grams)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (390 grams)
- ¾ cup unsweetened baking cocoa or Dutch processed (see note about using black cocoa)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Favorite Chocolate Frosting
- 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter softened
- 4 ½ cups confectioners' sugar sift or aerate before using.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons natural style cocoa powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of buttermilk or sour cream
- 6 to 8 tablespoons of half and half or a mixture of cream and whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of wax paper or parchment. Grease again and dust with flour.
- In a large mixing bowl bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Make a well in the center and add eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. With a heavy duty scraper, stir mixture, scraping up dry mixture from the bottom to ensure that it is incorporated. Add the hot coffee and stir until thick and well blended. With an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds or until well blended.
- Divide evenly between 2 cake pans and bake on center rack for 35 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched. Allow the cakes to cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then carefully invert and let cool completely.
- To make the frosting, combine the softened butter, half of the sugar and the cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir until mixed, it will be thick and pasty. Stir in the vanilla, then continue adding the sugar, stirring until it’s very thick. Add the buttermilk and stir, then continue adding milk and stirring, scraping bowl often, until it’s slightly creamy. Now begin beating, adding more milk as necessary, until it is smooth and creamy.
- Level the cake if you need to (though this one bakes up fairly evenly), then spread cakes with frosting and stack.