Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cake

I first tasted this cake at a family birthday party. I was a bit surprised when I found out where this recipe came from. That’s right: the back of a box.

I hope I didn’t just lose you there. If you’re anything like me, you think of “back of the box” recipes as things to be avoided at all costs. Chock-full of processed foods and shortcuts that sacrifice taste for convenience, most of those recipes are not for me. So believe me when I tell you that this recipe is not your typical back-of-the-box catastrophe. This recipe came from the back of a box of Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, one of my very favorite baking ingredients of all time.

This cake is everything that is good about homemade cakes: moist. Flavorful. Rich. Chocolatey. It uses an entire canister of Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa. In short, it is a dark chocolate bomb.

Happy Chocolate Day! Now go make this cake.


What you need:


For the cake:

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 t. vanilla (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 c. boiling water

For the mousse:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 1/3 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 2 c. whipping cream
  • 2 t. vanilla (store-bought or homemade)

For the icing:

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla (store-bought or homemade)


  • 2 9″ round cake pans
  • pastry brush
  • stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachments
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • spatula

Time: About 45 minutes prep, 35 minutes baking, 1 hour to cool and assemble.

Freezeable: No.

Serves: 12-16

Multiplying the recipe: You could double the cake batter and icing to make two cakes. The mousse recipe makes enough for two cakes.

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cake:

To make the cake:

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 9″ round cake pans. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).

Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Turn the mixer onto low until the ingredients start to become mixed, then turn the mixer onto medium and beat for 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water. Note that the batter will become very thin, so be careful not to turn the mixer on too high!

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

For the mousse:

While the cake is baking, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small dish. Allow to sit for 2 minutes to soften the gelatin. Add the boiling water and stir with a whisk until the gelatin is dissolved. Cool.

Combine the sugar and cocoa in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the whipping cream and vanilla and beat on medium until the mixture is stiff. Add the gelatin mixture and beat thoroughly. Scrape the mousse into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until ready to assemble the cake.

For the icing:

Melt the butter and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Stir in the cocoa. Add the powdered sugar, alternating with the milk, and beat. Add the vanilla. Add more milk, if necessary, to thin the icing enough to spread.

To assemble the cake:

Place one layer, bottom-side down, on the cake plate. If necessary, level the top of the cake by cutting off any domed portion with a long, serrated knife. Cover the top of the base cake with mousse. There should be extra mousse, so don’t plan on using it all!

Place the remaining cake layer, top-side down, on top of the mousse. (Again, you may need to level the cake to do this.) Spoon a large amount of icing onto the top cake layer and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly over the tops and sides of the cake. If desired, decorate the cake using sprinkles or berries.

Keep the cake covered and refrigerated. It can be made a day ahead.

All opinions expressed herein are my own. I have not been compensated in any way by Hershey’s.

About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
This entry was posted in Baking, Dessert, party food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cake

  1. Pingback: Weekly Menu Plan #29 | Cooking for the Fam

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