Why we love it!

What’s better than the best chocolate cake? This black magic cake takes only mere minutes to throw together, it’s rich in chocolate flavour, soft and moist.

I’m not sure when it came about but this black magic cake is actually a Hershey’s recipe that’s been floating around for a good few years. When I first came across it while scouring the internet for the best chocolate cake one day, this one came up. While I generally create my recipes from scratch, I knew I had to share this with you too. It’s too good not to.

The cake layers themselves have a really interesting method which means no special equipment and no creaming butter and sugar. It’s just so easy! You can fill and top those layers with whatever you like. I use a chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache.

This cake inspired this Black Velvet Cake  and this Chocolate salted caramel cake – both gorgeous celebration chocolate cakes.

A chocolate cake topped with ganache on a marble platter.

What is Black Magic Cake?

Black magic cake is a simple moist chocolate cake, made totally from scratch. Originally a Hershey’s recipe, it’s moist, has a soft and fluffy texture and is big on chocolate flavour. It also has a secret ingredient.

Please don’t let the secret ingredient stop you. The coffee added to the batter is purely there to bring out the chocolate flavour and is not noticeable in the finished cake. My hubby detests coffee but he loves this chocolate cake so I promise it’s worth a try even if you aren’t a coffee fan.

Top down view of a slice of chocolate cake on a small dessert plate.

What makes this chocolate cake moist?

You’ll notice when you make it, this is quite a runny batter. Not only is there a whole cup of water that goes into this but also 1 cup of buttermilk and ½ a cup of oil. While all of these contribute to making this a moist chocolate cake, it’s the latter two that do most of the work. They also help to keep the texture tender.

How to make black magic cake

What I love most about this moist chocolate cake, aside from its amazing flavour and texture, of course, is how easy this is to make! This cake is literally a dump, mix, bake and done style cake.

A collage of 4 images showing how to make black magic cake.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. The dry ingredients are mixed together in one bowl, then the wet ingredients in another (photo 1). As there is no butter in this cake, there is no creaming of butter and sugar, saving time.
  2. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients with a handheld beater on medium speed for about 90 seconds (photo 2) and the batter is done.
  3. Now pour this evenly between 2 greased and lined 8-inch round baking tins. You can use kitchen scales like I do if you want to get perfect layers otherwise just eyeball it.
  4. The cakes bake for around 35 minutes. When you take them out of the oven and after they’ve cooled for just a couple of minutes, very gently, press down on the top of the cakes just to flatten them out a little. Don’t press down too hard or they may collapse.
  5. The last 2 photos above (photos 3 & 4) show frosting the cake.

How to make the chocolate ganache buttercream

I fill and top my cake with a chocolate ganache buttercream, followed by a little more ganache. To make this, I use the recipe from my chocolate fudge cupcakes recipe. The only difference is that I reserve some of the ganache to pour over the top of the cake.

This stuff should be illegal, it’s so good. An already chocolate buttercream (given flavour using cocoa) is intensified by adding a dark chocolate ganache. This is rich, indulgent, smooth and creamy and your friends will be begging you for this recipe.

A collage of 4 images showing how to make chocolate ganache frosting.
  1. After making a simple ganache (which takes around 5 minutes of very little effort), beat together some butter with a little cocoa and icing sugar until it’s lightened and whipped up (photo 1).
  2. Now, add the cooled ganache and beat it all together (photo 2). You’ll be rewarded with this glorious fluffy but thick and intensely chocolate flavoured ganache frosting (photo 3).

How to frost the chocolate cake

This couldn’t be simpler. No fussing with coating the entire sides of the cake and trying to get it perfectly smooth.

  1. Just spread half the buttercream on top of the first layer and sit the second layer on top. Now spread the remaining buttercream over that.
  2. The last step is to spread the remaining ganache over the top letting some drip down the sides. I like to use a squeeze bottle to add drips the whole way around the cake first, then pour the rest of the ganache into the middle and spread it out.
A slice of chocolate cake on a small dessert plate.

Can chocolate cake be frozen?

Absolutely. This chocolate cake freezes well. I find it best freezing it in pre-cut slices. The best way to freeze this cake – and any baked goods – is to first cut the cake into slices and place it in the freezer on the cake plate until firm. Now, individually wrap the slices and place them into an airtight container.

What are you waiting for? If you like a moist chocolate cake, a simple chocolate cake and a chocolate cake thats overflowing with flavour, you will love this. Get baking 🙂

A fork digging into a slice of chocolate cake.

Did you try this black magic cake recipe? Please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!

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Top down view of a slice of black magic cake on a dessert plate.
5 from 20 ratings
Your friends and family will love this gorgeous and simple moist chocolate cake. Black Magic Cake is a Hershey’s recipe that is big on chocolate flavour, perfectly moist and incredibly simple to make.



  • 230 g plain flour (all-purpose flour) (1 ¾ cups / 8oz)
  • 70 g unsweetened cocoa powder (2.5oz / ¾ cup)
  • 2 cups caster sugar (superfine sugar) (400g / 14oz)
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup buttermilk (250ml)
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 cup hot water (250ml water)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (125ml)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 140 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped (5oz)
  • ½ cup thickened cream (heavy cream) (125ml)
  • 170 g unsalted butter (6oz / 1 ½ sticks / ¾ cup)
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder (30g / 1oz)
  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar (powdered sugar) (195g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided



    Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease then line two 8 inch cake tins with baking paper.
  • Boil the kettle and mix 1 cup of boiling water with the coffee. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour and cocoa together, then add the sugar, baking powder, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine well.
  • Make a well in the centre and add all of the wet ingredients – eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, coffee.
  • Use a handheld beater and mix on low for 90 seconds.
  • Pour evenly into the 2 prepared baking pans. Place in the oven and cook for around 35-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre, comes out with just a crumb or two.
  • Use a small dish with a flat base to very gently press down on the top on top of each cake just to level them out a little. Don’t press down too hard. Cool the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool. Cool completely before frosting.
    Start by making the chocolate ganache. Place the finely chopped chocolate in a small heatproof dish.
  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat until its steaming, then pour it over the chocolate. Give the dish a gentle shake so all the chocolate is submerged. Leave for 30 seconds to soften, then stir to a smooth glossy ganache. Make sure the ganache is about room temperature before proceeding.
  • Beat the butter, cocoa and half the sugar on medium for about 5 minutes or until very light and creamy – scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often.
  • Add the remaining sugar, salt, vanilla and beat until well combined.
  • Set aside roughly half of the ganache for the top of the cake. Add the other half to the buttercream mixture and beat until combined and smooth (only about 1 minute).
  • Spread half the buttercream over the bottom layer of the cake. Place the second layer on top (flattest side up), press down gently to stick them together well. Spread the remaining buttercream over the top.
  • Transfer the reserved ganache to a squeezee bottle or piping bag and pipe around the edge forcing some of the ganache to drip down. Fill in the centre with the remaining ganache and spread out into an even layer.
  • Place in the fridge to set a little (it will only need 15 minutes or so) before serving.
  • Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I helps me to keep creating free recipes and helps other readers too.


  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide). Many countries use a 15ml tablespoon so check yours before measuring.
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary – always check 2-3 minutes before the recipe suggests.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Black Magic Cake
Amount Per Serving (186 g)
Calories 589 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 370mg16%
Potassium 331mg9%
Carbohydrates 75g25%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 52g58%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 582IU12%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 75mg8%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.