“Black Magic Cake” with Butterscotch & Cream Cheese Frosting

by on May 20, 2013


Super moist Chocolate Black Magic Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe by WhiteOnRiceCouple.comPinterest gets me in trouble, and it isn’t even from me browsing. Diane will be lying on the couch at the end of the day, scrolling along while I catch up to the sports world on ESPN. Then suddenly she’ll pipe up “I want that”, thrusting her phone towards me.Chocolate Black Magic Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe on WhiteOnRiceCouple.com

What am I supposed to do, say “No”? Well, I could but between you and me, I like to bake. I don’t mind at all when she discovers these little sweet cravings. We’ve had some great finds, as well as a few others that looked really cool, but in the end I wasn’t crazy about the taste or texture. Sometimes if they are interesting enough the “no-go’s” will get shuffled into a drawer and every once in a while I’ll work on adjustments to see if I can make something I’m happy with.

The Black Magic Cake had no worries of being shuffled off into the “let’s work on this” drawer. With a few personal adjustments on the fly, it was awesome first time off the paper.

Diane’s been bugging me about this one for a while. The black magic cake recipe is just for the cake alone, and it took me a bit to think up of how I wanted to finish it. Finally this concoction of butterscotch, roasted peanuts, and a cream cheese frosting popped into my head, so I cranked up the mixer and went to work.

The cake came out marvelous. Straight out of the oven the cakes had beautiful domed tops which to my temporary dismay fell flat while cooling. With the top now settled even with the sides, the lazy cook on my shoulder whispered, “But now you won’t have to cut the top level!” Good point I said back to myself.

With the butterscotch already done ahead of time, and after whipping up frosting once the cakes had cooled, I assembled the cake and waited for it to chill so we could get a pretty slice out for the photos. It was a long, hard wait. After an agonizing couple hours (my sweet tooth was kicking in), we sliced, shot, and sampled the cake. “Would it be share worthy?” “Would we have to do-over?” “Could it painfully be a fail?”

Yes. No. And definitely No. The cake was awesome. Super moist, just the right amount of fluff to not be dense. The peanuts, butterscotch, and frosting played off the chocolate cake to remind me of one of my favorite candy bars, Snickers. Awesome!

So here you are. Hope everyone who get a chance to make it loves it as much as we do.


Black Magic Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Butterscotch filling from WhiteOnRiceCouple.com

"Black Magic Cake" with Butterscotch & Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 1 two layer, nine-inch Cake

The cake layers are adapted from Hershey's Black Magic Cake. It is a great base chocolate cake. For the butterscotch, you can control the thickness by how long you boil it. If you find it is too runny after it cools, simmer for another minute or so. The time factor in the recipe works perfect on our cooktop, but everyone's heat will vary. We used bourbon in this sauce, but you could always us the traditional scotch of just leave it out completely and reduce cook time by a minute.


butterscotch ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup (220 g) Golden Brown Sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons (22 ml) Bourbon
  • Sea Salt to taste (@ 1 teaspoon (5 g))

chocolate cake ingredients

  • 2 cups (400g) Sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups (220g) Flour
  • 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) Buttermilk *see note 1 for alternate
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) Espresso or Strong Coffee
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) Bourbon
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Vegetable Oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Vanilla Extract

cream cheese frosting ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted Butter, room temp.
  • 2 - 8oz pkgs (455g total) Cream Cheese, room temp.
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Vanilla Extract
  • 4 cups (455 g) Confectioners Sugar
  • few dashes Orange Bitters (optional)

additional ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (65g) Roasted Peanuts, roughly chopped


butterscotch directions

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Just before butter is completely melted, add the brown sugar, stirring to completely moisten the sugar.
  2. Gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture caramelizes and transforms from its initial graininess to a smooth “molten lava”. Make sure to get the corners of the pot and watch closely because the texture will change quickly, 3-5 min of total cook time.
  3. Whisk in all of the cream at once, and continue whisking until the the liquid is homogenous. Cook for another 7 minutes, whisking every few minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Add half of vanilla extract, bourbon, and sea salt, then taste for flavor. Add more of each until the flavor is perfect to your palate. Allow to cool for at least 45 minutes to determine texture. You may want to slightly re-warm the butterscotch when pouring it between the cake layers.

cake directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. If making buttermilk substitute *see note 1, make that now.
  2. hisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in mixer bowl for at least 20 seconds. Beat in eggs, buttermilk, espresso, coffee, bourbon, oil, and vanilla extract until well combined. Make sure to stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl once or twice to get everything well mixed.
  3. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then release cakes from pans onto wire racks to cool completely. While the cakes cool, make the frosting.

cream cheese frosting directions

  1. In a mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, and bitters then slowly increase speed and beat until incorporated. Set aside until ready to frost cake.

final assembly

  1. Put a dab of frosting in the middle of a cake circle or plate (the frosting helps keep the cake from sliding around). Place the first cake layer on a cake circle or plate. Line several strips of wax paper around base of cake to help keep circle or plate clean.
  2. Put about 3/4 cup of frosting in the middle of the cake and spread the frosting working from the center out, leaving a slight built up edge on the outer rim. When finished, you should have nice thin layer of frosting over most of the top surface of the cake, with a little wall on the outer rim that will help hold in the butterscotch.
  3. Pour butterscotch over the thin frosting layer, spreading it evenly over the bottom cake layer. Sprinkle the roasted peanuts over the butterscotch. Take the second cake and place on top of the peanut layer.
  4. Spread a thin layer of frosting over entire cake as a crumb coat. Place in the freezer to chill for about 10 minutes, then add the rest of the frosting and evenly spread across and on the edges of the cake. Remove strips of wax paper at base of cakes. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving if possible.

Note 1: to make a buttermilk substitute, add one tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of milk. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then use as directed in recipe.

Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nutella May 20, 2013 at 10:57 am

This has been my family’s go-to chocolate cake for years. Originally baked from a $0.75 paperback cookbook that you sent away from from the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder package in the early 80′s. It’s even better the 2nd day. We get very liberal with modifying it (cutting back the sugar, sub-ing Kahlua for some of the coffee, using a darker cocoa) and it never fails.

I love this filling/ frosting combo and cant’ wait to try it. Thanks!


2 Nutella May 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

Also, tried it with coconut oil for the first time a few weeks ago and it worked perfectly!


3 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

Great to know the versatility of the Black Magic Cake recipe. I’m all in for the Kahlua sub! The bourbon we used was great in it too, but before hand I kept going back and forth between Kahlua, Dark Rum, or Bourbon. Thanks for sharing.



4 Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) May 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

I don’t think I have ever heard of a better frosting than Butterscotch and cream cheese. Seriously I think it sounds genius!


5 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Awwww. You’re such a flatterer. ;) Thanks so much.


6 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar May 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I can totally see why Diane wanted this cake so bad! Maaaan what a fabulous recipe!!


7 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Thanks so much Katrina. She was mostly wanting me to try the chocolate cake, but I think the butterscotch & peanuts amped it a little. Great chocolate cake recipe for sure.


8 Rachel - A Southern Fairytale May 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Oh my word. I can definitely see how Diane would want this! YUM


9 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Yeah, she gets me into trouble with her finds. Delicious trouble.


10 Averie @ Averie Cooks May 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I love that Hershey’s Black Magic Recipe and you did it up right! One of my favorite homemade peanut butters to make is with honey roasted peanuts and butterscotch chips and white chocolate, so I know I would love the filling! The texture on your cake is just awesome – super moist and that filling, mmm, so good! Beautiful!


11 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Averie, your descriptive comments simply rock. If you get a chance to make it, you’ll definitely love this one.


12 Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet May 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Woah! No wonder Diane requested this cake! I would too!


13 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

It has just about everything in your site name, Crunchy – Creamy – and Sweet. You must make!


14 Emily May 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

It’s a good thing I don’t have bourbon or espresso on hand or I’d be about 4k calories over my daily allotment today.


15 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm

You could always make it without the bourbon & espresso – although I’d have to think of what to use instead for the liquid replacement. Maybe OJ? Just sayin’. Maybe trying to tempt a little too. ;)


16 Jennifer @ Delicieux May 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

That is one amazing looking cake! I love love the addition of bourbon here, and I especially love the butterscotch filling. Cut me a slice please :)


17 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

This is such a grand age for bourbon right now. It is hard not to love it. One slice coming up.



18 ami@naivecookcooks May 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

The looks amazing!!!So grand!


19 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Thanks so much.


20 Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today May 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Great choice, definitely my flavors.


21 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Hopefully you’ll get a chance to make it!


22 Gail May 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Damn you, Todd & Diane!
I’m going to dream about chocolate cake and this fabulous filling & frosting!!!


23 White on Rice Couple May 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm

But they will be such sweet dreams, Gail!



24 Robin @ Simply Southern Baking May 21, 2013 at 5:07 am

Oh my! I saw this in my Facebook feed this morning and started drooling. Now that I’ve read that it tastes like a Snickers candy bar, I know for sure this cake wouldn’t last long at my house!


25 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel May 21, 2013 at 5:56 am

What an amazing cake! I love that Diane finds things and tells you to make them. I also wanted to thank you for such an amazing session this weekend. You brought many of us to tears, not once but twice!


26 kelly Luna May 21, 2013 at 6:00 am

I needed a recipe for this weekend, and I’ve just found it. Thank you! This looks amazing.


27 harveys mom May 21, 2013 at 7:42 am

wow!!!! we’re having a retirement party next weekend after agonizing over what dessert, this takes the cake!!! good job you two!!!! thinking one w/bourbon and one w/kahlua. whoooohooo, i’m excited!!!!
thanks so much!!!


28 Cynthia A. May 21, 2013 at 7:49 am

FYI this recipe (in all its variations) makes great cupcakes – large or mini. I’ve had better luck using paper liners rather than greasing the cupcake pans. I frost them with a swirl of cream cheese frosting and top that off with a raspberry.


29 Christi Nielsen May 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

What’s the cooking time for regular cupcakes?


30 Cynthia A. May 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

14-18 minutes on regular size and 13-15 on mini. My yields are usually 24 regular and 7 dozen mini.


31 Gerry @ Foodness Gracious May 21, 2013 at 9:40 am

Just perfect, all moist and dense (in a good way). Cream cheese frosting is my fav by far, not a big butter cream guy and my kids always hand over all mini Snickers at Halloween to me, it’s turned into a tradition where I don’t even need to ask! :)


32 Christi Nielsen May 21, 2013 at 9:44 am

I’m so making a couple of these for the family reunion! Yay!
Now, I’m requesting a German Chocolate Cake please. :) That was my favorite as a kid. For my birthday, I always asked for spinach (I know, I’m weird) and German Chocolate Cake.


33 Joy @ Baking-Joy May 21, 2013 at 10:57 am

This looks fantastic, love the fact it tastes like Snickers in cake form :-)


34 Angie | Big Bear's Wife May 21, 2013 at 11:17 am

a”snickers” frosting sounds like it would be absolutely perfect with a rich chocolate cake. I’ve never had much luck with cake but I feel as though I need to give it another shot!


35 junecutie May 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Whenever I see bourbon as an ingredient in a sweet recipe, I always use Southern Comfort instead. I am going to try SC with this recipe, too. I am drooling already. Cake for Breakfast!


36 Dina May 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

wow this cake sounds so good. i love the butterscotch filling!


37 Nik@ABrownTable May 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm

That is one gorgeous cake, plus it has my guilty addiction butterscotch!


38 Abbe@This is How I Cook May 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Ouch! I think the Black magic got to me! Ans in this case, that’s a very good thing!


39 argone May 22, 2013 at 3:26 am

Thank you so much for writing measures in grams and ml … it’s so helpful for me, as I live in Europe and am not comfortable at all with cups. Great cake !


40 The Bearfoot Baker May 22, 2013 at 4:30 am

Oh my stars this looks incredible!!!


41 Jarome May 22, 2013 at 5:34 am

I have been hypnotize by your black magic cake. I love how the moist fudge looks in the photos. I can add this cake recipe on my guilty pleasure list. :)


42 dervla May 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm

ooooh this one looks amazing. Black magic, indeed!!


43 applemini May 27, 2013 at 11:42 pm

amazing! I want to try it! thank you for this recipe.


44 C. Nelligan May 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm

¡Para chuparse los dedos!


45 Cecily May 28, 2013 at 8:46 pm

That sounds really good.


46 KELLY May 29, 2013 at 10:45 am

I love the Hershey’s Black Magic cake recipe, actually. It is one I remember when growing up as my grandmother would bake it when I came to visit. Your butterscotch idea has me absolutely drooling! It is one of my favorite toppings for chocolate ice cream, so I can only imagine how good it is drizzled into the cake! Gonna have to try that!


47 Carole May 31, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Lovely work! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is all about cakes? This is the link . There are lots of great links there already. I do hope to see you there. Cheers


48 FoodFlav August 30, 2014 at 5:02 am

wow! OMG this Cake so Delicious. I Can’t wait to Make this and Eat it :)


49 Gian September 29, 2014 at 6:53 am

Hey! Has anyone doubled the recipe? Am looking to feed 20 and am thinking I could just double it and have four layers, but am hoping they’ll stay sturdy. Wondering if anyone’s attempted this or has advice?


50 Isabel November 6, 2014 at 11:08 am

Sounds sooo delicious but I have recently been put on an elimination diet. Is there any way to make this without dairy and eggs and with g-f flour and have it come out about the same?


51 White on Rice Couple November 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Not that we know of, but there maybe someone out there more versed in substituting to fit your needs.


52 Isabel November 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Meh. I don’t take the diet that seriously anyway. I just went ahead and made the cake as-is for my husband’s birthday. He’s a “the more chocolate you can cram into a cake, the better” kind of guy so I added cocoa powder to the frosting and the filling was a simple chocolate ganache. He loved it! Definitely keeping this recipe in my back pocket for future baking.


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