Blackout Cake

The Blackout Cake was the creation of Ebinger's, a famous New York-based neighborhood bakery chain. An indecently rich, dark tower of chocolate[, this cake has become something of a Holy Grail for many bakers. Cult-like fans went through Blackout withdrawal when the bakeries closed down and The Cake disappeared. Many have tried to rec-reate this cake; I feel this version comes close. It is a multi-stepped process (remember, this was a bakery specialty) but it can easily be broken down into components.]

Total Time:
2 hr 20 min
20 min
2 hr

10 servings

  • Chocolate Pudding:
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa (preferably Dutch processed)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa (preferable Dutch processed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Icing:
  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 dozen chocolate wafer cookies

To make the Chocolate Pudding: Combine 1 cup milk with 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan and bring to just under a boil.

In a mixing bowl, combine remaining sugar with salt, cocoa, and cornstarch. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup unheated milk. Gradually whisk in hot milk and place entire mixture back into the saucepan. Heat, over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and just starts to bubble.

Whisk in egg and egg yolk and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter. When both are melted, strain pudding through a fine-mesh strainer, and cool. Cover with plastic and reserve in refrigerator.

To make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 (8-inch) cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment and flour pans, shaking out the excess.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Reserve.

In a mixer with a whip attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in vegetable oil. Alternately add dry ingredients with buttermilk, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add the coffee and vanilla to form a thin batter. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks, peel off paper and cool completely.

When cool, split each cake in half with a serrated slicing knife. Reserve 1 layer for another use. Spread bottom layer with half of the reserved Chocolate Pudding. Place second layer on top and spread with remaining pudding. Top with last cake layer.

To make the Icing: Over a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter. Remove from heat, whisk in brewed coffee, corn syrup, and vanilla. Place icing over an ice bath and chill, whisking often until the mixture is of soft but a spreadable consistency. Working quickly, ice the sides and top of cake.

In a food processor, pulse the cookies into crumbs. Press the crumbs onto sides and top of cake.

Serve cake at room temperature. If holding for more than 2 hours, store in refrigerator for up to 48 hours, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Serving Suggestion: Blackout cake is meant to be served simply, on its own. If you want to dress individual plates, perhaps add a drizzle of fudge sauce and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

View All

Cooking Tips
4.8 32
My daughter this this cake today 02/08/15. A Lot of work, the pudding it didnot came to pudding but its very good, the rest of the icing good the cake very good everything very good. We are looking to see if we can find a little lighter version or maybe make it from a cake mix and pudding mix and regular icing.....;) item not reviewed by moderator and published
Awesome taste, lots of work to get to the end product, but worth though! item not reviewed by moderator and published
If you go to all the trouble to make this, don't skip the chocolate wafer crumbs on the icing. I used chocolate Teddy Grahams, since I didn't have wafers. Also, when making the pudding, add a little of the warm milk to the eggs before mixing it all together, or you will have small bits of cooked egg in your pudding. Delicious cake. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Growing up in Brooklyn, We lived only a few blocks from an Ebingers bakery and besides the cupcakes and coffee cakes, we got the Blackout cake almost every time we went, but it didn't have cookie crumbs.The cake was covered with the pudding,not icing,and the pudding was covered with the last layer of the cake crumbled up. I nixed the cookies and the icing. item not reviewed by moderator and published
One of the best chocolate cake recipes. I made these as cupcakes as well and they came out perfectly. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hi If someone can tell me is the cocoa (preferable Dutch processed sweet or unsweet?? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for Easter and for Mother's Day, and it was fantastic both times. The first time, I tried to cut one of the layers in half and it didn't quite work, so I just put the pudding between the 2 layers. The flavor of the cake and pudding were great, but I would have preferred the icing a little sweeter. I recommend leaving the 2 layers whole as the cakes are delicate and putting the pudding between the 2 layers-you'll have more than you need, but you can always keep the extra pudding to eat. I skipped covering the outside of the cake in crushed cookies, but perhaps next time I make it, I'll do it. I made the cake and pudding one day and the icing the next. This cake requires a bit of work, but it's fantastic and worth the effort. Everyone who tried it enjoyed it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My Mom worked at Ebbinger's bakery in Brooklyn as a teen and I attempted this cake as a surprise for her birthday. Success! The cake was moist, the pudding perfect and the icing the perfect touch! The recipe is a little intimidating but worth the effort. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is one of the best chocolate cakes I've made thus far. It is superb: moist, rich and so chocolaty! And I love that I don't have to spend time creaming butter. I didn't taste the flavor of the coffee. I didn't make the icing or pudding. Instead I made a double layer cake with cherry pie filling on top and in between the two layers and drizzled melted chocolate on top. So decadent. My 3 friends literally finished it in one sitting... item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ive tried making this cake twice now, its so delicious. but both times that I've made it... when it comes out of the oven it seems inflated...and then while cooling it collapses on itself. any suggestions?? its soooo delicious but it just turns into a huge mess to serve! item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Help Around the Kitchen