Black Midnight Cake Recipe

Black Midnight Cake Recipe

Black Midnight Cake Recipe

This black midnight cake recipe was adapted from a recipe originally published on the Betty Crocker Cookbook many years ago with some of our own updates, as well as additional inspiration thanks to the cake recipe behind Hershey’s cocoa cans. We updated it to include coffee and a little bit of cayenne pepper in the dough – both ingredients really enhance the taste of chocolate.


For Cake

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Butter to lubricate the pan
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Two circles of baking paper, cut the size of the bottom of your baking pan
  • Cocoa to clean the pan
  • 2/3 cups dark cocoa powder (we use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder to get that dark dark color)
  • 1 cup of strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda

For Frosting

  • 1 ½ stick of butter, softened
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup dark cocoa (we use Hershey’s Special Darkness Cocoa to get that dark dark color)
  • 4 ½ cup of candied sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract


To Prepare Cakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve cocoa powder and cayenne pepper with hot coffee and set aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl stand with the paddle attachment, cream oil and sugar until well blended.
  4. Add eggs and beat until light and soft, about 1-2 minutes. This process beats air into the mixture. Scrape the paddle and bowl and shake it once.
  5. Slowly add the coffee / chocolate mixture, buttermilk and vanilla and shake until the mixture is even. Scrape the paddle and bowl and shake it once.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to get wet and shake at low speed for inclusion. Scrape the bowl and mix until all the ingredients are mixed, not to mix after the flour has been added.
  7. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch baking pans and place a round parchment circle on each. Butter the top of the parchment then sprinkle all the parts in the parchment and pan with cocoa powder, removing the excess. Pour the mixture evenly between the two pans and place it in the middle of the oven. (Note that aluminum panes are by far the best for baking cakes. Non-stick and dark colored baking sheets can change the cake by browning it more than needed)
  8. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the tooth pick that is put into the center comes out clean. Depending on your oven, you may need to rotate the cake pan halfway. During baking, one cake is done in 30 minutes and the second in 32 minutes. Don’t overcook it.
  9. Chill the pan on a wire rack for ten minutes then carefully turn the pan over to the rack to cool it further.

To Prepare Frosting

  1. Sift cocoa powder with candied sugar in a large bowl. In a stand mixer bowl or hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar and cocoa powder together with buttermilk and vanilla and shake until smooth and soft. Add buttermilk or extra milk if the frosting is too thick.
  2. Place a small shovel of frosting on a baking pan to keep the cake from slipping and place one cake in the frosting. Frost the top of the layer. Place the second cake on top of the first one and freeze the entire cake, top and sides.

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