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Chocolate Snack Cake
Are you craving a rich and satisfying chocolate cake that's easy to make and incredibly moist? Look no further than this ultra-moist chocolate snack cake recipe! Made with oil, sour cream, and buttermilk, this cake has a moist and tender crumb and is topped with a delicious chocolate fudge buttercream made with melted chocolate (instead of cocoa powder). Whether serving it for dessert or as a sweet snack, this cake will satisfy your chocolate cravings. And if you're not in the mood for cake, I have plenty of other chocolate baking recipes you'll surely love!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Flavor. The cake is jam-packed with chocolate, and the frosting adds so much extra flavor.
- Texture. This snack cake is super soft and incredibly moist thanks to a few key ingredients (more on that below!).
- Easy to Make. Just mix the ingredients with a whisk, bake, let cool, and top with the frosting. No chilling or stacking layers required!
- Size. This recipe is made in an 8×8-inch pan, so you can get anywhere from 9 to 16 servings, depending on how you slice it!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you'll need to make a moist and fudgy chocolate cake:
- All-Purpose Flour: Only 1 cup of all-purpose flour is needed!
- Granulated Sugar: For the cake batter.
- Cocoa Powder: Make sure you use unsweetened natural cocoa powder. Dutch-processed cocoa will not work with this recipe since we rely on acidity to react with baking soda.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: To help our snack cake bake up nicely.
- Salt: Baked goods made without salt can taste a little plain, so don't forget it!
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is the first of three ingredients that make this snack cake ultra moist. Buttermilk is tangy and creamy which keeps the cake from being too sweet and gives it a rich, buttery taste. The acid in buttermilk also reacts with the leavening agents to give the cake lift.
Buttermilk is a must for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed by adding one teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup of room-temperature whole milk. Stir together and let sit for 5 minutes; the homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe. (Lower fat or nondairy milk works for this soured milk hack in a pinch, but the cake won’t taste as moist or rich.)
- Sour Cream: Another ingredient that helps keep this chocolate cake moist. Sour cream adds moisture without thinning your batter like a liquid would. The extra fat content also lends this cake a mouth-pleasing, velvety texture. You can use an equal amount of full-fat Greek yogurt instead if that's all you have on hand!
- Oil: Using oil instead of butter helps the cocoa flavor shine through. It also has the benefit of yielding a light and super moist chocolate cake. Feel free to use any neutral oil here.
- Egg: You'll need one large egg for the cake. I recommend using fresh eggs instead of carton eggs for the best success.
- Vanilla: Vanilla is a flavor enhancer that helps boost the flavor of the chocolate.
- Boiling Water + Espresso Powder: Hot liquid and espresso powder both enhance the cocoa powder’s flavor. Hot water also encourages cocoa powder to bloom and dissolve appropriately. You could also use hot, fresh-brewed coffee instead. I promise this cake doesn't taste like coffee at all, though!
The decadent chocolate frosting swirled on top of this cake is also insanely easy to make. For it, you'll need butter, dark chocolate, powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt.
How to Make the Best Chocolate Snack Cake
Serving and Storage
Serving: You can serve this chocolate snacking cake either chilled or at room temperature; I prefer it at room temperature! To get to room temperature after chilling, just remove a slice from the fridge about 20-30 minutes before serving.
Storage: Cover and store leftover frosted cake in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. You can then thaw the cake at room temperature, add the frosting, and serve.
Chocolate Snack Cake Video Tutorial
Note: I post my recipes in grams as it’s the most accurate way to bake, and it’s how I develop them. Cups are not only inaccurate, but they vary in volume worldwide! In any event, if you look at the recipe card underneath the ingredients list, you can click “US Customary” and it’ll convert to volume measures!
Remember to tag me @mikebakesnyc on Instagram and leave a rating + review below if you make this Ultra Moist Chocolate Snack Cake recipe!
Ultra Moist Chocolate Snack Cake
- 125 g all-purpose flour
- 175 g granulated sugar
- 64 g unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 120 g buttermilk room temperature
- 120 g sour cream room temperature
- 120 g canola oil
- 1 large egg (≈ 50g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 g hot water + 2 teaspoon espresso powder OR 120ml (½ cup) hot coffee
- Chocolate fudge buttercream (one batch)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt then set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mostly combined. Add in the hot water/coffee mixture and stir until well combined and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until the cake is puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Then remove the cake from the pan and set it on a cooling rack to cool completely while you make the chocolate fudge buttercream.
- Spread the chocolate fudge buttercream evenly over the top of the cooled snack cake. Top with chocolate shavings or sprinkles, if desired.