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
Went out and bought a brownie pan just to try this recipe. The cake is in the oven now, but if it’s half as good as the batter tastes it’s going to be one helluva chocolatepalooza. When I saw the picture I knew I had to make it and promised myself to share it (as in mail it to my kids) just to be sure I wouldn’t eat the whole thing. I’ll post a final review after I’ve stuffed my face like Garfield.
Lol, hope it goes well for you Mariyn, and btw ~ you can always freeze the extra ~ unless of course you love your kids very VERY much 😉
Sue, this is the best thing I’ve made when I crave chocolate. I did give some away to my kids (does a slice count as sharing?). Making it today for 4th of July and thanks for the tip about freezing. I’ll bet it is even better frozen with some fresh raspberry sorbet.
Now you’ve gone and made me jealous…wish I had a slice. And yes, I do think that counts as sharing 🙂
I so wanted this to be rich, dense, and fudge like. Unfortunately it was crumbly and dry.
It’s a thin cake Cameron, so possibly yours got a little over-baked? Make sure your oven temperature is accurate, too, that can make a big difference in how a cake bakes up.
I don’t know whose bright idea it was to invent ‘snacking cake’ but this cake is straight up deeeeelish! Really easy and seriously addictive. My husband cannot stop raving about it and I cannot stop sneaking bites. I am now obsessed with your website and all your recipes – especially the desserts! Thank you for this recipe!
Thanks Lissa ~ I’m always glad to welcome in a new snack cake lover, because they’re probably my favorite type of dessert to make. I love how you say you’re sneaking bites, because that’s just how it is with us when we make this cake!
This cake is AWESOME! And it is easy to make. I warned the hubby to have a small piece but he had to have a whole one! Used a 9×9 square pan. It took 30 minutes to bake. Will keep my eyes open for a 7×11 to try. Thank you for this recipe!
Finally, FINALLY got around to baking this cake. Followed the recipe exactly, and OH MY!
Well done, you.
Oops…must brush crumbs from laptop…
We made this cold chocolate snacking cake and reviewed it on our baking podcast, Preheated. It was SO GOOD! Two thumbs up. Thanks for the awesome recipe.
Thanks, I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!
I finally found a 7×11 pan! Yay! However, it is only 1 1/2 inches deep. Is that deep enough for this amount of deliciousness? Thanks for helping a girl out!
This is a fairly thin cake, Tandra, it sounds like you found the same pan I used. Good luck!
Thank you! What chocolate do you recommend for the frosting?
I think I used Bakers semi sweet for this.
Just made this. Chilled a couple hours, took a bite (or two or three) and it is so yum!!!! And I love the frosting! Thanks Sue!
I’m jealous 🙂
NRS, what type of chocolate did you use for the frosting?
Hi! Can i substitute the sour milk for something else? Maybe yogurt? Here in my country there’s no such thing as sour cream :/
You could substitute yogurt or buttermilk, Cami.
This looks blissful! I got sidetracked by Pinterest and stumbled upon this recipe…. and I want to DIVE into my screen right this second. Yummy! I can’t wait to try this. Yes, I suppose I say that to too many bloggers about delish recipes, it’s true. This time I mean it 110%. There is no way that this cake will not be made by me this month. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for stopping by Jelli — and let me know how you like this, it’s a long time favorite of mine.