ultimate Black Cocoa Cake

A black cocoa cake recipe made with black cocoa and coffee (instead of the traditional boiled water)…one of our favorite homemade cake recipes that is begging for a creamy whipped frosting, fruit, and herbs piled on top!

This is a black cocoa cake made with black cocoa and coffee. A deliciously grown-up cake.

The most popular on my site, by far, is my homemade chocolate cake recipe. That recipe is a traditional, birthday cake, sheet cake or layer cake, everyone loved this cake kind of recipe. A go-to. Why, then…do you not just make THAT cake?

–> That is the milk chocolate candy bar. Almost everyone likes it. Some LOVE it. Some tolerate it. But it is a safe and well-liked classic.

This Black Cocoa Cake recipe is like the dark chocolate candy bar. It’s not a lot of people’s favorites. Some really don’t like it. But some LOVE it. Some would go so far as to say they won’t have anything else.

I’m in the latter category. I’m the dark chocolate bar lover and find milk chocolate far too sweet. Most chocolate cakes are not my thing.

This one is a favorite of mine and always served with a creamy top, fruit, and herbs. You could almost pretend it’s savory :). Baha!! I made a chocolate cake recipe that is good for you.

Yeah, not quite. But it IS going to have you calling friends over and opening a bottle of wine.

use cocoa to dust the bottom of your cake pans for this homemade chocolate cake

Black Cocoa Cake Tip #1:

  • Use cocoa instead of flour to coat your cake pans. You will get better flavor and won’t have blobs of flour along the outside of your cake.

By the way, this cake works just as well in a 9 by 13 pan if you don’t want to do a layer cake. Here’s the thing, though. I really don’t recommend a sweet frosting with this cake unless you plan to serve it up for a gathering or party. A simple whipped cream or ricotta is about as sweet as you want to get.

Which, my friend, means the filling is EASY and a layer cake won’t be anything to do. You’ll look sooo fancy soooo fast!

pour coffee into black cocoa

First, we have to talk about black cocoa. Most have never used it. Heck, a fair number of you have never heard of it. No shame in that game. It’s a rare thing.

Think about Oreo cookies. You know that super dark color and flavor? Yep, black cocoa has that kind of thing. It’s super dark in color and concentrated in flavor.

You CANNOT sub black cocoa for regular cocoa in recipes. Don’t try it. Promise, it doesn’t work.

whisking the black cocoa for the chocolate cake

Black Cocoa Cake Tip #2:

  • You use boiling water (in this recipe…boiling coffee) to “bloom” the cocoa AND to help it dissolve without clumps. It’s a two-fer and not to be skipped!

Black Cocoa Cake Tip #3:

  • Using coffee in place of water in your chocolate cake recipe OR adding a tablespoon or two of espresso will deepen the chocolate flavor. Coffee brings out the chocolate flavor in baked goods.
beautiful homemade black cocoa cake batter

The batter for this cake is magnificent. Deep in color, it almost looks like a brownie batter. So good!

Fair warning…this is a thin batter and you’ll be a bit skeptical. But don’t worry, it rises nicely.

homemade chocolate cake

I realized after I took the photos that there is a fairly random orange sitting on top, all alone. Sigh. I’m not re-taking those images.

This cake was piled high with berries and oranges and lemon and thyme. And then sliced. This poor slice got a random, albeit sitting tall, slice of orange.

This, friends, is an amazing little slice of cake. Not too sweet, not too moist, not too heavy, not too light. And perfectly dark. Just the way I like it.

Some favorite topping combos to try:

  • whipped ricotta and honey
  • carmel topping, sea salt, and whipped cream
  • raspberry preserves, fresh rosemary, and clotted cream
  • greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon
  • fresh mint, whipped chocolate frosting, and strawberries

You really can’t go wrong with a creamy topping, fruit, and fresh herb combo. The best!

Where can you get the black cocoa? I KNOW you are gonna freak out and decide NOT to try this simply because of that one ingredient. STOP— I got you… 

  1. Most kitchen stores like Sur La Table (where I got mine), and Crate and Barrel have it.
  2. Some Whole Foods and similar stores will have it.
  3. Or, simply order it online. King Arthur Black Cocoa  is the only brand I use of it and you can grab their black cocoa [easyazon_link identifier=”B00DUF4DIC” locale=”US”]HERE[/easyazon_link].

See, easy peasy! You can easily have that black cocoa in time for the weekend! Call some friends to come over, buy a bottle of wine, and eat cake with your people!

homemade chocolate cake

homemade Black Cocoa Cake

| 12 servings
Prep Time | 20 minutes
Cook Time | 25 minutes
Total Time | 45 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
This is a deliciously dark homemade chocolate cake made with black cocoa and coffee. A deliciously flavorful cake!


  • 4 oz unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup hot strong coffee
  • 3/4 cup black cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • Grease and add cocoa (instead of flour) to the bottom of 2 8 inch round cake pans.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer). Cream until thoroughly combined.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mix well after each addition.
  • In a small bowl, slowly pour the hot coffee into the black cocoa, whisking well. Add the cream and whisk until combined.
  • Slowly add the cocoa mixture to the creamed butter and beat well.
  • A little at a time, add the flour and beat well after each addition.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Be careful…this cake can be over-baked quite easily and get a bit dry. Cool.


Calories: 313kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 222mgPotassium: 121mgSugar: 25gVitamin A: 535IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 1.3mg

Save this recipe to your Pinterest board for later…

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I sure do make alot of bold claims with these cakes, don’t I? But really, I’m that confident that you’ll make them and never look for another recipe. This carrot cake is one of those. A golden standard.

2 thoughts on “ultimate Black Cocoa Cake”

  1. Yes you can use that. There might be a slight taste difference but it will still be delicious. If you want the dark color you could use black food gel in the mix.

  2. Making this for a die hard dark chocolate lover, so what do you think about subbing the black cocoa for the Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder? I’m not concerned about the color really, just the taste! I don’t want it to be too bitter and since I’ve never used the black cocoa I can’t compare the two!!

4.55 from 20 votes (20 ratings without comment)

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