Chocolate Lover’s Dark Chocolate Snack Cake

Amy Manes
by Amy Manes
1 8 inch cake
2 hr 30 min
Dark chocolate lovers rejoice! This dark chocolate snack cake, topped with thick layers of dark chocolate buttercream is the perfect treat for any time of year. One of my all-time favorite desserts to make. This recipe makes the perfect sized 8×8 inch cake to enjoy whenever the mood for chocolate strikes you. It’s a wonderful snack cake for any time of year! This cake is made with extra dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder for a rich chocolatey taste. The frosting contains chopped and melted extra dark chocolate for a not to sweet, totally chocolatey buttercream topping! Be sure to use the highest quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder for the cake and 78% cocoa or higher dark chocolate for the frosting. It’s the chocoholic’s dream!
There is one dessert that I will always crave and that is chocolate cake. What is it about chocolate that is so irresistible?! Give me a chocolate snack cake any day and I will be one happy girl.
Read on for how to make the best dark chocolate snack cake!How to Make Dark Chocolate Snack CakeIf you’ve been following along with me for awhile now, you know that I live in Colorado and have really turned my baking into a science! Baked goods turn out much differently at elevations of 3,000 feet or above! If you are lower than this, feel free to skip over this section and go straight to the recipe below – just follow the instructions as is! But for those at higher elevations that really struggle to get the perfect cake, read on for my tips on how to make this chocolate snack cake fluffy, tender and oh-so-perfect!
For reference, I live at 5,800 feet. These adjustments would likely give you the result that you are looking for if you live within a few hundred feet of where I am at. But high altitude baking can be a lot of trial and error. I’ll provide my explanations below for each adjustment I made. This should then give you a starting point to go off of to experiment with your own ingredients at whatever elevation you live at! I would also recommend checking out this  guide here.
High Elevation Cake Adjustments
  • Flour – increase by 1 tbsp. Additional flour helps to strengthen the structure of the baked good so that it will rise correctly.
  • Use 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk. This will keep the baked good from drying out at a higher baking temperature and evaporation rate. If I am baking a cake, I like to add one more egg to increase the liquids in most recipes. This should hold true at most higher elevations, but experiment with it, of course!
  • Baking Soda – decrease to 1/2 tsp. You can see this table on King Arthur’s website for how to adjust leavening agents for higher elevations (scroll down a ways to the “Leavening” section on their site). For my elevation, I typically cut all leavening agents in half. This allows for the right chemical reactions to happen between the other ingredients for the perfect rise. If there is too much leavening within the batter, not all of it gets used up (not all of it reacts with the other ingredients), so you are left over with a soapy bitter-tasting baked good due to the excess baking soda or baking powder in the batter.
  • Baking Powder – decrease to 1/4 tsp. Essentially for the same reasons as for the baking soda!
  • Increase oven temperature to 365° F. Since rising and evaporation proceed more quickly at higher elevations, you will want to use a higher baking temperature to set the structure of the baked goods so that they don’t sink in the middle and dry out on the edges. I recommend starting with increasing the baking temperature stated in the recipe by 15° F and go up from there in small increments (all the way up to 25° F increase if needed).
  • Decrease baking time by 5 or more minutes. This is because you will be baking at a higher temperature. You don’t want your cake to burn! I usually decrease by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes of baking time and adjust from there. Keep a close eye on your dessert in the oven while you are experimenting with time and baking temps.
If you have specific questions on high altitude adjustments, feel free to contact me and we can work them out!
Other Ingredients Needed for Dark Chocolate Snack CakeThis cake requires a lot of chocolate! For this cake, I like to use a good quality, extra dark chocolate for both the cake and the frosting (usually 70% cocoa or higher). This Lindt dark chocolate bar is my absolute favorite. Feel free to use chocolate chips or whatever chocolate bar you like!
I also think it’s very important to use a good quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder. It gives this cake such a rich, chocolatey taste that I know you will love! My favorite type of Dutch-processed cocoa powder comes from Rodelle, but you can of course use whatever you like!Lastly, to bring out all of the amazing chocolate flavors in this snack cake, I like to add in a bit of espresso powder. It compliments the dark chocolate so well but, have no fear! If you aren’t a coffee fan, you won’t even taste the coffee in this cake if you use espresso powder. Here is my favorite one to use.
I hope that you enjoy this easy little dark chocolate snack cake! The frosting is my favorite part. If I had to pick one of my favorite recipes, this one would be it! I absolutely LOVE this dark chocolate snack cake, and I know you will too!If you’re looking for other cake recipes, check out my Cakes & Cupcakes page!As always, be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram if you make my recipe or use in your photos! I love to see what you are baking.
Chocolate Lover’s Dark Chocolate Snack Cake
Recipe details
  • 1  8 inch cake
  • Prep time: 2 Hours Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 2 hr 30 min
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For the Dark Chocolate Snack Cake
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped extra dark chocolate
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
For the Extra Dark Chocolate Buttercream
  • ½ cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
For the Dark Chocolate Snack Cake
For high altitude adjustments, skip below to the notes section!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8×8 inch square cake pan with parchment paper and set aside
Stir the espresso powder into the boiling water until dissolved. Add the chopped chocolate to a bowl and pour the hot water/espresso powder mixture over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt on low speed until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the yogurt mixture and mix until just combined.
Stir the chocolate and espresso mixture together until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack in the pan for 25 – 30 minutes. Invert the cake to remove from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack. Frost the cooled cake, slice and enjoy!
For the Extra Dark Chocolate Buttercream
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the chopped chocolate until smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
Reduce the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Beat on low for 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes).
Stop the mixer and add the melted chocolate to the bowl. Mix on low speed until combined. Frost cooled cake with buttercream.
  • Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • High Altitude Directions (those living above 3,000 feet): Flour – increase by 1 tbsp Use 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk Baking Soda – decrease to 1/2 tsp Baking Powder – decrease to 1/4 tsp Increase oven temperature to 365° F Decrease baking time by 5 or more minutes
Amy Manes
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  • Nicole P Nicole P on Feb 28, 2021

    Wow! looks so tasty!

    • Amy Manes Amy Manes on Mar 01, 2021

      Thank you! This is my all-time favorite chocolate cake :)

  • Cindy Windom Tate Cindy Windom Tate on Mar 01, 2021

    Thank you very much for elevation explanation. I've been struggling for quite a while. Some recipes say to make certain adjustment but not WHY.

    • Amy Manes Amy Manes on Mar 02, 2021

      I am so glad that you find the explanations helpful! Understanding the WHY really helps you to make the appropriate adjustments based on your elevation. Please reach out to me if you have any questions on modifications for high altitude! Very happy to help, as I have done a lot of experimentation with it