black magic cake

The Kitchen Witch

June, 2017

Black Magic Cake


This is literally one of the best cakes in the entire world. Apart from its fabulous name, it is easy to make, it keeps well, and it is so yummy good that once you make it, you won’t want to make another chocolate cake ever.

I found this recipe on a Hershey’s cocoa can back in 1971 or so – I was maybe ten or eleven years old. I asked my mother if I could make it and my mother, being the kind of cook that she was, said yes. Up to that point, I had always used cake mixes but this was the first “by scratch” cake I had ever made.

This recipe is very easy. For the beginner cook, it’s the perfect recipe. You blend the dry ingredients and then you add the wet ingredients and then you pour it into the prepared pan and bake it. Nothing could be simpler.

The day I made this cake, I had perfect weather – blue skies, sunshine – you need high pressure to ensure that a cake comes out the way you want it. A cake will not rise properly on a cloudy day. Bake a pie on a low pressure day.

Like my mother taught me so many years ago, I got out all the necessary ingredients and placed them on my work table (which is usually my desk!).

I always have strong black coffee! Some people complain that my coffee is too strong but that’s the way I like it. To sour the milk, add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk and stir and let sit for a minute or two. When it curdles, it’s ready. You need to do this before you start the rest of the recipe so that the milk is properly soured.

Then I blended the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, sugar, salt. Make sure they are blended well!

Then I added the wet ingredients. I always beat the eggs in a separate bowl before adding them. You don’t have to – it’s just what I do. I don’t have a mixer, so it helps to blend the eggs in if they’re beaten separately first.

The recipe reads, “Beat at medium speed for two minutes” – of course, that’s if you have an electric mixer – I don’t even have a hand-held one! But I am old enough to remember the old directions on cake mixes where they would say, “Three hundred strokes by hand” – so that’s what I do. I have a large wooden spoon and I stir vigorously and count at the same time. The best way to do this is to count by twenties – by this I mean, “1, 2, 3, 4 …” up to “20” and then “2, 2, 3, 4 …” – 300 divided by 20 is 15 so the fifteenth round of twenty strokes will be your last! Believe me, you’ll be ready to stop!

The batter will be thin. Don’t let that bother you. Just pour it into your prepared pan and put it into your preheated oven. I usually use a 13×9 pan but you can use two round pans for a layer cake or make cupcakes. Bake for 35 or so minutes – of course it depends on your oven – until a toothpick comes out clean.

When it is cool, frost with Cocoa Fudge Frosting. This is utterly divine.

Melt half a stick of butter and add a half of cup of cocoa and stir for one minute.

Let cool. (This is important). Pour into a mixing bowl.

Then alternately add 3 2/3 confectioner’s sugar (1 pound box) and 7 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Adding the sugar and the milk alternately seems really tedious – well, it is tedious, but it’s the way it’s got to be done if you want proper frosting. Don’t skimp on this process! After everything is added, beat until it’s spreadable. Then spread on the cooled cake.

This cake is super addictive, so I advise you to share it with your family and friends or else you’ll end up eating the entire thing yourself! I have done that myself!

Black Magic Cake

1 ¾ cups flour

2 cups sugar

¾ cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup strong black coffee

1 cup buttermilk or soured milk

½ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Add wet ingredients. Beat at medium speed for two minutes – batter will be thin. Pour batter in a greased 13x9x2 pan or two 9-inch pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cocoa Fudge Frosting

½ cup butter (1 stick)

½ cup cocoa

3 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar (1 pound box)

7 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in saucepan. Add cocoa; heat one minute, stirring constantly. Pour into small mixer bowl. Alternately add confectioner’s sugar and milk; beat to spreading. Add vanilla extract. Fills and frosts two 8- or 9-inch layer cakes or one 9x13x2 pan cake.