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
As someone else mentioned, we have the McCain Deep’N’Delicious freezer cake in Canada but it is not very good. In fact, there are billboards around Toronto right now advertising the McCain cake as having “better ingredients now – it’s okay to dig in!” No thanks!
Your version is the real deal – I’m definitely planning to make this, it looks delicious.
Yikes what an ad campaign — somebody’s head needs to roll for that one!
This cake sounds incredibly dangerous! I cannot see it lasting long in my fridge! I never had the Sara Lee cake, but I recall McCain making a deep ‘n delicious chocolate cake that was very similar. Ok, now I’m dreaming about eating this cake!
haha — you need to make this 🙂
Followed a link to this recipe. As the page came up I thought, “Wow that looks exactly like a Sara Lee chocolate cake!” Started reading the page & laughed out loud at what you had written. Way too many Sara Lee experiences to share but I will be making this tonight & sharing with friends tomorrow. Can’t wait!
That’s so funny Jo. That cake remains my all time favorite treat.
that Sara Lee cake also came as a slab cake and was always my sons fav for birthday cake at school. available at local wholesale food place. we called it plastic cake because i loved to bake and yet here i was buying frozen cake in a plastic wrapper, how bad were we… so i will definitely be testing this out, pity it is sooo hot or i’d do it tomorrow
I don’t see my family that often either, so all kinds of things make me nostalgic when we’re together, or even just when I think of them. I’m so loving the dense texture of this cake, it’s just the kind of thing that I want to nibble away at through out the day; so that when my husband comes home he wonders what happened to the other half of the cake!
I know decadent is overused with chocolate and chocolate cake…but what else can you say to describle this cake? Maybe luscious! 🙂
Can you use sugar substitute?
MUST TRY…LOOKS WAY TOO GOOD.
Question – I love your scalloped edge pan…where did you find this? Also, my cake pan is 9×13. Is that going to be any problem? I really never heard of 8 x 12. Hummm???
I know, I used a slightly unusual pan. It’s actually 7 1/2 by 11 1/2, I just re=measured it, but it’s called a 7×11 pan. I think it’s referred to as a brownie pan. You can substitute an 8×8 or a 9×9 round or square pan. Just watch the baking time, it will take a little longer. I found it at a department store like Marshalls, and you can find them at most big kitchen stores.
Heaven on a plate!!!
I didn’t find this recipe on your page but another one that linked here but I wanted to give you a shout too!! I made this and it is SO amazingly and sinfully delicious… The texture of the cake with the perfect icing… Wow! And I cannot believe how easy it is to make, I really don’t think I should be allowed to make this again unless I’m taking it somewhere to share!! I took a piece before the icing had set fully and it only got BETTER after time in the fridge. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Perfect!! can i have one? 😀