Black Magic Chocolate Cake

You just can’t go wrong with chocolate cake. When I’m asked to bring a dessert to a dinner and I don’t know everyone’s preferences, I usually default to chocolate cake because WHO DOESN’T LIKE CHOCOLATE CAKE???

black magic cake finished

I’ve been trying to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe (and have been fairly successful). First I tried this one, which was awesome. I wanted to try this one since it had coffee in it (the other had vinegar which helped make it fluffy). I loved both, but I think this one was better. Practically foolproof.

black magic cake finished un-iced

black magic cake coffee

The secret ingredient in this cake is coffee, which brings out layers of flavor in chocolate without actually adding a coffee flavor to the cake. 

black magic cake dry ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix up the dry ingredients in your stand kitchen mixer—flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

black magic cake wet ingredients

Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil, then beat on low or medium for 2 minutes.

black magic cake batter

The batter will be thinner than regular cake batter, this is totally fine.

black magic cake batter pan

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray, and pour the batter into the pan.

black magic cake baked

Bake for 35-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake will take quite some time to set up (it was more like 50 minutes for me) because the batter is so thin.

If you’re using your own frosting recipe, remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting. If you’re using my frosting (which I recommend, it’s delicious!), read on…

black magic cake icing butter sugar

black magic cake icing butter sugar boiling

black magic cake icing chocolate

A couple minutes before the cake is finished, heat butter, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan on medium or medium-high (about 6 on my stove). Once the butter is melted and everything stirred together, let it come to a boil and remain there for two minutes.

After two minutes, remove from heat and pour the chocolate chips in, stirring immediately and constantly until the chocolate is entirely melted and smooth.

black magic cake finished2

Pour on the hot cake right away, and smooth out quickly—the icing sets and crystallizes very quickly! By icing the cake while it’s hot, you seal in all the moisture and get the most awesome, fudgy cake. Most frostings can’t go on a hot cake (they’ll melt and break down) but since this frosting is already hot and liquidy, it’s perfect.

black magic cake finished slice

Wait an hour or so to serve, if you can…it gives the icing more time to set up. It’s moist and delicious and easy, and the perfect thing to bring to a dinner when you don’t know everyone’s preferences.

Black Magic Cake


  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (or put 1 T. white vinegar in 1 c. regular milk to make sour milk)
  • 1 cup of strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mom’s Chocolate Icing

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips (I use semisweet; I’d recommend against milk chocolate, but dark could be interesting)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large kitchen mixer, gently stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla, then beat on medium speed of mixer (I used low because mine doesn’t have medium) for two minutes. Note, the batter will be much thinner than most cake batters, but this is totally normal because of the coffee. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean—about 35-50 minutes (was closer to 50 for me). If you’re using your own frosting recipe, let the cake cool and then frost as desired.

If you’re using my icing recipe (which I recommend, it’s awesome), begin making the icing in the last few minutes of baking time. In a small saucepan on the stove, heat the butter or margarine, sugar, and milk on medium to medium-high (probably around 6 on my stove), stirring to combine everything. Once it’s all melted, let it come to a boil, and boil for about two minutes (stir constantly). Remove from heat, pour the chocolate chips in, and stir immediately until it’s a creamy chocolate mixture. Pour on the hot cake and spread right away, using a rubber spatula to smooth the icing out. Let it cool and set.

Original cake recipe here


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