Black Magic Cake

This Black Magic Cake is a take on Hershey’s black magic chocolate cake and it’s one of the best cakes ever! Perfectly moist chocolate cake covered in the best white icing. This. Is. Sublime.

A piece of chocolate cake on a plate, with Icing and Cookie

What’s in this Black Magic Cake Recipe?

This Black Magic Cake is a chocolate lovers dream. Simple and straightforward, this is one of those desserts that everyone will love. Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor and buttermilk helps make this chocolate cake super moist. 

  • All-Purpose Flour: Gives the cake structure and texture. Be sure to measure using the spoon-and-level method to avoid a dry, dense cake.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the cake.
  • Cocoa Powder: Adds rich chocolate flavor.
  • Leavening: Baking soda and baking powder combine to create a light and fluffy cake.
  • Kosher Salt: Enhances the chocolate flavor.
  • Buttermilk: Adds moisture and a bit of tanginess.
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture and fat to the cake, leading to a tender structure.
  • Eggs: Whole eggs and an egg white add richness and structure while keeping the cake light and airy.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhances the sweetness of the cake.
  • Coffee: Enhances the chocolate flavor do the cake. You can use freshly brewed strong hot coffee or 2 teaspoons powdered espresso powder mixed with 1 cup boiling water.
  • White Icing: I love this cake served with my favorite white icing to balance the rich chocolate flavor.

Pro Tip: When baking cake, you want your eggs and dairy ingredients to be at room temp so they can create an emulsion that traps air that eventually expands with the oven’s heat, for a lighter texture.

Variations on Magic Black Cake

This rich chocolate cake is great as is, but you can also combine it with other flavors to create a whole new experience. Try some of these variations:

  • Mint: Add some peppermint extract to the batter and top with a layer of mint chocolate frosting for a refreshing twist.
  • Peanut Butter: Mix some creamy peanut butter into the batter and top with a layer of peanut butter frosting for a rich and nutty flavor.
  • Raspberry: Swirl some raspberry jam into the batter and top with a layer of cream cheese frosting for a fruity and tangy twist.
  • Orange: Add some orange zest to the batter and top with a layer of chocolate ganache icing for a citrusy and decadent treat.
  • Mocha: Mix some extra instant coffee or espresso powder into the batter and top with a layer of mocha frosting for a coffee-infused twist.
  • S’mores: Top the cake with a layer of marshmallow frosting, sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs, and finish with a drizzle of melted chocolate for a campfire-inspired treat.
overhead image of chocolate cake with sprinkles
What is a Black Magic Cake?

The Black Magic Chocolate Cake is originally from Hershey’s. In their words it’s “a moist and magical buttermilk chocolate cake recipe that will have your friends demanding seconds.” And they aren’t wrong! It’s everything a great chocolate cake should be, moist, bursting with chocolate flavor and easy to make. Maybe that’s why it’s called black magic, something this delicious shouldn’t be this simple to pull together…

Why is it called Black Magic Cake?

The cake is named Black Magic Cake because of its dark color and rich chocolate flavor. It is believed that the name was coined due to the cake’s ability to enchant and captivate people with its delicious taste.

What’s the difference between Black Magic Cake and other chocolate cakes?

Black Magic Cake typically uses buttermilk instead of regular milk, which makes the cake extra moist and gives it a slightly tangy flavor. Additionally, the use of oil instead of butter in the recipe makes the cake denser and more tender.

Can I make Black Magic Cake without buttermilk?

Yes, you can substitute buttermilk with regular milk mixed with vinegar or lemon juice. Mix one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with one cup of milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe.

What kind of cocoa powder should I use?

While you can use any unsweetened cocoa powder you prefer, I like to use natural cocoa powder here because the baking soda helps to neutralize the acidity of natural cocoa powder, letting its rich flavor shine. 

up close image of hershey chocolate cake with white icing

How to Store

Store Black Magic Cake in an airtight container or cake dome at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Enjoy at room temperature.

How to Freeze

Freeze Black Magic Cake whole or cut into individual slices tightly wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving Suggestions

While I love this chocolate cake topped with my favorite white icing, it’s also delicious with chocolate buttercream, chocolate fudge frosting, cream cheese frosting, or stabilized whipped cream. Add a drizzle of chocolate syrup or caramel sauce to take it to the next level.

A piece of chocolate cake on a plate, with Icing and fork
A piece of chocolate cake on a plate, with Icing and Cookie

Black Magic Cake Recipe

A twist on the classic Hershey's cake, moist, fluffy and delicious!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 people
Calories 472kcal
Author Becky Hardin



  • cups all-purpose flour 210 grams
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 400 grams
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 63 grams
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 12 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 4 grams
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 grams
  • 1 cup buttermilk 227 grams, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 100 grams
  • 2 large eggs 100 grams, room temperature
  • 1 egg white 35 grams, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong hot coffee 227 grams (or 2 teaspoons powdered espresso powder mixed with 1 cup boiling water)
  • White Icing Click for our favorite recipe


  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Spray your chosen baking pan(s) with nonstick baking spray.
  • Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment, on low speed, just until combined.
    1¾ cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • In a different bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
    1 cup buttermilk, ½ cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 egg white
  • Return the mixer to low speed and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix about 15-20 seconds just until ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add the coffee and stir, on low speed, just until combined.
    1 cup freshly brewed strong hot coffee
  • Pour the cake batter (it will very thin) into the cake pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Baking time for the 8-inch cake pans is 35-40 minutes, for the Bundt pan 50-55 minutes, and for the 13×9 pan about 35-45 minutes.
  • Top with your favorite icing. (Find our favorite HERE)
    White Icing



Original cake recipe: Hershey Black Magic Cake
Yield: Two (8-inch) round cake pans or one 13x9x2 or one 12-cup Bundt pan
  • Want Chocolate Icing instead? Check out our recipe for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
  • Ideally use high-quality cocoa powder. The darker the hue of the cocoa, the more satisfying the chocolate flavor will be.
  • Ideally use shiny pans instead of dark pans. Dark can cause your chocolate cake to brown too early around the edges and create a hard crust on the surface and general dryness.
  • When baking cake, you want your eggs and dairy ingredients to be at room temp so they can create an emulsion that traps air that eventually expands with the oven’s heat, for a lighter texture.
  • Don’t overmix. Heavy mixing hand leads to tough cake textures. Instead, mix only until dry ingredients are 99.8 percent incorporated.
Storage: Store chocolate cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 520mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 58g | Vitamin A: 78IU | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

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