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 snacking cake is amazing!! I’ve made it twice now. I follow the directions to a T, except my chocolate bar for the frosting is only 4 oz. It doesn’t seem to matter. Try this recipe today! You won’t regret it.
Thanks so much Beth – this is one of my favorites 🙂
Great job on this recipe – delicious and just the kind of cake I like – more fudge brownie and less cake. The frosting is delicious too. Thanks for this! 🙂
I made this cake and it was indeed delicious! Now I have some icing leftover in a plastic tub in the fridge and am trying to find something else to do with it. I was hoping to think of something different just for the variety but I might well make another cake! (Any ideas are welcome!)
Spread it on graham crackers! So so good!
Try this frosting on graham crackers. I need to try this cake so I have an excuse to make the frosting.
Hi. Just found your blog today. This cake looks incredible. I am supposed to bring “something chocolate” to a family get together this weekend. This maybe it! I pinned a couple of your fruit juice ice pop suggestions. Wish I had a cara cars orange pop right now!
I love this cake, Alicia, I hope your family does too!
Sara Lee still has a chocolate cake, but these look like the Brownies they used to make. They were a huge favorite in my family when I was a kid. I loved them so much and wish they could be found now. I must try this recipe!! Thanks for sharing. I love your recipes and your pictures.
Thanks so much, Leanne, let me know how it works out for you!
hi can i substitute the all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour?
I don’t see why not jaja. Let me know how it turns out.
I wish I had a piece and a glass of cold milk right this minute! Yum!!
A hit..told the boys it was called a slice of heaven..the took some home too:-)
Ha! We had that Sara Lee cake in the UK, too! I remember the leftovers used to go a bit gooey in the fridge and, you’re right, it was really hard to stop taking just one more bite.
Looks to me like you got the texture of that cake just right … and the frosting doesn’t sound overly sweet which I think for me was the key to that Sara Lee cake.