dark chocolate snack cake

chocolate snack cake

chocolate snack cake

I posted a picture of a chocolate snack cake on Instagram this week and had many requests for a recipe, so here it is. I’ve featured a snack cake on my site before, but found that cake recipe to occasionally sink in the middle, so I’m offering you this one instead.

It is based on my favorite cake recipe, is tried and true, and is very chocolatey and moist.

I bake it in two square cake pans, and while it is as decadent as any regular two-layer cake, it feels ‘snacky’ and simple being served in just one layer.

Chocolate Snack Cake tips:

This recipe makes enough for two snack cakes, and buttercream for two snack cakes. Both the cake base and the buttercream freeze well, so if you only want to serve one, you can freeze the other one (and half the buttercream) to use at another time. I would suggest freezing the cake layer and buttercream separately, and then assembling when they have come to room temperature (you will have to rewhip the buttercream a little bit before spreading).

You can also bake this in a 9 x 13-inch pan which will give you a nice thick cake, or a half sheet pan (12 x 16 inches, with a 1-inch rim) for a thinner cake (you might want to double the buttercream if you go this route, unless you want both to be a thin layer). If using these other pans, you can frost the cakes right in the pan and serve.


A few other things:

Zoe made my white cake today in red velvet form, you can find the recipe here.

I posted these Ham and Cheese Brioche Sandwiches on Bread in 5 a few weeks ago, but forgot to point them out here. They are pretty tasty.

chocolate snack cake

chocolate snack cake

chocolate snack cake

Dark Chocolate Snack Cake

Servings: 20 (2) 8 inch cakes or (1) 9x13 inch cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Based on my favorite cake recipe, tried and true, this chocolate snack cake is very chocolatey and moist. I bake it in two square cake pans, and while it is as decadent as any regular two-layer cake, it feels ‘snacky’ and simple being served in just one layer.
Sarah Kieffer
5 from 3 votes
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  • 3 ounces 85g bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup hot water (hot coffee works, too)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (396g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (75g) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 8 ounces (226g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (339g) 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (226g) confectioners' sugar
  • Sprinkles if desired


  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 8 by 2-inch square cake pans (see note above for other pan options) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • Put the bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Pour the hot water over it and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the sour cream, milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low until combined. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the sour cream mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, 20-30 seconds.
  • Whisk the chocolate and hot water together until completely smooth. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the batter and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, give the batter a couple of turns to make sure it is fully mixed.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 25-35 minutes, until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out with the tiniest bit of crumb.
  • Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper, remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cakes, and let the cakes cool completely upside-down (this will help deflate any doming). Once cool, the cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight or frosted.

For the buttercream

  • Put about 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil.
  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over the pan of boiling water, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir constantly until just melted and set aside to cool slightly.
  • In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, corn syrup, and salt and beat on medium until combined. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Beat at medium, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the chocolate and mix on low speed until no streaks remain.

To assemble

  • Use half the buttercream on each cake, and frost as desired. Decorate with sprinkles if also desired.
  • Reply
    Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 12:44 am

    5 stars
    Not to add yet another pan option, but this baked up perfectly in a 10-cup Bundt! Skipped the frosting but no less snack-worthy …

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 7:34 am

      Oh great, glad it turned out well in Bundt form!

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 7:06 pm

    Can’t wait to make this – I’ve been craving a little snack cake. I’d also like to try a gluten-free version. Has anyone tried this using gluten free flour? Specifically King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill, which are available near me. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Can this recipe be cut in half if I only want to make one 8×8 cake?

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    So I’m a bit behind on this, but I’ve been making your previous snack cake recipe for years! The first time I made it it was perfection, and every time since it has sunk in the middle but I loved it too much to find a new recipe. I decided today I’d look to see if other people had the same sinking problem and I found out even you did! Whew that makes me feel better. But I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am to try this one out because I TRUST YOU! Ha. Thanks for the recipes!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Am I missing seeing a link to print the recipe out? Love your blog – so many great ideas and beautiful photos. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Monday, October 22, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Sarah
    Can unsweetened cocoa be used as a substitute for the Dutch processed cocoa?

  • Reply
    Melissa@Julia's Bookbag
    Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 12:27 am

    SNACK CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am all over this.

  • Reply
    Friday, July 20, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    I love these kind of cakes! Looks so delicious and so easy to make!

  • Reply
    Friday, July 20, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Would these work for cupcakes as well? Looking for a new chocolate cupcake recipe. Thx

    • Reply
      Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Julie – I haven’t tried this recipe as cupcakes, but I’m 99% sure it would work. I would suggest only filling the cupcake liners 1/2 full, as the batter rises quite a bit while baking. Let me know if you try it!

  • Reply
    Friday, July 20, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Looks lovely! I have a question about a couple of substitutes…could you use whole fat greek yogurt to replace the sour cream, as I tend to have that more readily on-hand? And what can you sub for the corn syrup that can work as well in the buttercream? Thank you.

    • Reply
      Friday, July 20, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      I haven’t tried subbing yogurt, but I think it should work just fine. The corn syrup can just be omitted – it adds some shine to the buttercream, but it will turn out fine without it.

    • Reply
      Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 6:33 pm

      5 stars
      I’ve made one batch with all sour cream, and a second batch (two days later by popular demand) with half sour cream and half whole milk yogurt because I ran out of sour cream, and it worked beautifully both ways. Stellar recipe and I’m going to try cupcakes next time.

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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