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
Thanks, Sue – this cake is delish.
Had to get clever for a pan – used a biscotti pan, which is terrible for biscotti but was perfect for this cake.
Can you use glass pan? That’s all I have besides a 9×13 cake pan..
Yes, just watch the cooking time, I find glass cooks a little faster.
Is it alright to not use baking powder or baking soda? Thanks
You could try leaving it out, it just gives the cake a little lift.
I ate and loved all three flavors of the Sara Lee cakes this picture looks more like brownie than the Sara Lee cake the cakes were not dense even though it was a single layer. And I I’m quite partial to Chocolate but for the Sara Lee cakes I preferred the banana. I will give this a try though.
I have made this snacking cake several times and it is absolutely delicious! And yes it does taste just like the famous Sara Lee chocolate cake.
Just made it again lol
Can you swap out the sour cream for something else?
You might try a full fat yogurt, or maybe buttermilk, but I haven’t tried either of those myself.
Try full fat yogurt.
Basically a good recipe. The cooking time was way off, so I over cooked it. i took it out of the oven at 18 minutes. My stove is new and I haven’t had any issues with cooking times.
I want to make this for a gift box for work. Usually I leave the box out with all kinds of cookies and candies for the week. Does the cake have to stay refrigerated? It sounds so delicious I really want to make it for them.
The cake is best refrigerated Anns, so I don’t think it would be a good choice for sitting out all week, sorry!
Tried them side by side (Sara Lee now comes in slices) and your recipe is MUCH BETTER. No chemical taste – and richer. Will be a staple for me. Thanks.
Lol thanks for the vote of confidence! I think the reason is because homemade chocolate recipes can use good quality chocolate, commercial stuff doesn’t 😉