Cold Chocolate Snack Cake is a copy cat version of the famous Sara Lee chocolate cake, it’s utterly irresistible straight from the fridge!
Do any of you remember Sara Lee chocolate cake, the kind that came in the little tin foil pan with the cardboard cover on it? — That cold chocolate snack cake was dense and moist, and the frosting was a thick fudgy layer on top. When I was growing up we ate it cold from the refrigerator, and you could cut it into slivers and snack on it continuously (as long as other family members didn’t get there ahead of you.) It’s been one of those lingering food memories, but I haven’t seen it for ages. You know where I’m going with this…
cold chocolate snack cake is a spot-on copy cat recipe!
To be honest I wasn’t expecting to nail this right away. I figured the cake would rise too much, be too dry, or too fluffy. I thought it would be tough to get the texture of the frosting just right, and most of all I was sure it wouldn’t slice as sharply as it did in my memories. But it all came together, and on the first try!
The deep dense chocolatey cake with the thick layer of ganache frosting delicious, but when you chill it, it becomes a whole other thing entirely. Call me crazy, I love a fabulous chocolate layer cake as much as the next girl, but cold chocolate snack cake is everything.
cold chocolate snack cake ingredients
Have your ingredients at room temperature if at all possible for a silky batter. The only exception would be the sour cream, just take that out of the fridge before you start.
- all purpose flour
- both granulated and powdered
- cocoa powder
- any brand of cocoa powder is fine, just make sure it’s unsweetened.
- bar chocolate
- I like semi sweet for this cake.
- sour cream or yogurt
- my original recipe calls for sour cream, but I’ve made it with yogurt as well.
- cream helps form the ganache based frosting that is so amazing.
- baking powder and salt
- vanilla extract
what’s a snacking cake?
This isn’t a cake to sink birthday candles into, or put on a pedestal for for a special occasion, or anything like that. But this is a cake to squirrel away in the refrigerator and attack
constantly every now and again with a knife or a fork (I recommend leaving your utensil of choice in the pan at all times.) This cake cuts cleanly, so you can extract the smallest sliver if you want to. I will melt in your mouth like a piece of fudge, only better.
what makes this chocolate cake special?
The cake itself is a fairly straightforward dense chocolatey layer, but it’s the combination of the poured ganache frosting and the cold temperature that makes it so yummy. Ganache is one of the best delivery systems for chocolate! It’s the base for all my chocolate truffles, and I use it in my Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart.
how we put this cold chocolate cake together
Yes you can cut this chocolate cake into a neat little square and serve it on a plate like a regular cake…but why? Just stash it on the top shelf of the fridge and have at it.
- Mix up the cake batter ~ I like to use my stand mixer to cream the butter, sugar, and eggs together really well, but you can use electric beaters
- Bake the cake and let it cool. This cake bakes quickly, in about 25 minutes, and you want to make sure not to over bake it.
- Whisk together the ganache based frosting and pour over the cake.
- Refrigerate until fully cold and the frosting has set up (this is the hardest part.)
- Dig in!
craving more chocolate?
- Queen Elizabeth’s Favorite Chocolate Biscuit Cake
- Milk Chocolate Mousse Recipe
- The Deepest Dark Chocolate Recipes
- Chocolate Hazelnut Milk
- The Ultimate Drinking Chocolate
- Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mom’s Easy Fudge Recipe
Cold Chocolate Snack Cake
- a 7 x11 brownie pan 8×12 pan, or the equivilent (buy brownie pan here.)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature if possible
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream (you can also use full fat yogurt)
for the frosting
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 oz good semi sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
for the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray an 7 1/2 x 11 1/2 brownie pan with cooking spray (you could substitute a 9×9 square pan, but the cooking time will be slightly longer and the cake will be taller)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap pan firmly on counter top several times to force out large air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Don't over bake!
for the frosting
- Heat the cream in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave until it just starts to simmer. Add in the chocolate and let sit for a couple of minutes. Then stir until smooth and glossy and the chocolate is all melted. If the chocolate isn't completely melted and smooth, zap it for another 15-30 seconds in the microwave.
- Add the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until completely smooth. Pour over the cooled cake. Put the cake in the refrigerator to chill and set the frosting. I like to leave it there for a couple of hours, or overnight. Serve cold, and store in the fridge.
Questions and Reviews
This looks amazing. I hope you have a wonderful sisters weekend!
I, too, remember that little chocolate cake. Can’t believe you conjured up such memories and a recipe to boot! Love the leave the knife by the cake in the fridge statement. Truth! The only thing I question in your write up is that the box was pretty small and there’d be a chance the family would snack it up. You are a saint. I say what an EASY little box it was to hide. Cold chocolate cake – it’s the bomb.
oh my heaven. This looks fantastic. I love cold cake and one that stays perfectly moist like this one would be a dream come true! I’m going to play with this recipe very soon!
Oooooooh, awwwwww, yummmmmm! I am sitting here just moaning about this cake. My name is Tricia and I’m a choco-holic. I need to find a meeting now 🙂
I am back to drool over this recipe again. I am so afraid to make it – I would be at the refrigerator door sneaking a fork full every 5 minutes. This is the kind of temptation that knows me by name – and it calls to me! Really wonderful recipe and beautiful photos.
The Sara Lee cake was my craving during pregnancy and I love it that others remember it as fondly as I do!
Wish I’d thought of that during my pregnancies!
I totally remember those Sara Lee icebox cakes, and I loved them as well. Now, I’m curious as to why you wouldn’t serve this up at the end of a meal? It looks dessert worthy to me. In college my girlfriend and I use to make a cake and dig into it with our forks till it was gone. It was the best way to eat a cake, but also the worst as you consumed far too much. I could afford to do that back then, but I don’t think I could now. I know when I make this, and I will make this, that it will be pretty much gone within an afternoon with my crew.
I know exactly what you’re talking about! I used to love the Sara Lee pound cakes too… I think they’re still my favorite pound cake to this day. Must be the chilled factor and the fact that they cut so cleanly (even the smallest slivers). This looks SO good, I’m bookmarking it and hoping to make it soon!
This would be too lethal for me to have around.
I hear ya.
I absolutely remember the Sara Lee chocolate cake–we would get those and also the pound cakes sometimes. I LOVED them. I may have to give this a try this weekend if I can figure out which pan to use as I don’t have an 8×12. By the way, have a wonderful time with your sisters!
I haven’t had the cake you’re talking about, but I imagine I would be even happier with this one. Everyone should have a cake tucked away in their fridge for snacking. What a great idea!