Because it’s the week of chocolate…

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

We get to go all out (on a Tuesday!) and make the chocolatiest cake of them all.

I mean, it’s so chocolatey it’s called blackout cake. That’s gotta tell you something.

Truthfully, I just assumed the blackout part of the title was from chocolate overload, but apparently this cake surfaced during the blackout drills of WWII in Brooklyn. I found the website kitchenproject with the entire history of the Brooklyn Blackout Cake. Just click on the link for more info, kind of interesting.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

So in all honesty, me making this cake had nothing to do with this week or Valentine’s Day. It just worked out that way, but I have been pretty much dreaming about this cake ever since I saw it last year on one of my favorite blogs, The Tart Tart.

From the minute I laid eyes on that cake, I knew that at some point in time I would have to make my own variation. Kind of sad it took me a year to do it, but oh so happy that I finally made it.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

Of course me being me, I changed a few things around and added a little of my favorite frosting, ya know, I just can’t help it.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

So I tried a couple different recipes, each only slightly different. My first cake was basically disgusting, like rock hard and gross. I am pretty sure that I messed something up. I didn’t give up and decided to try a different recipe, this recipe worked great.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

Here’s the deal, The Brooklyn Blackout cake has a pretty simple chocolate cake as the base, but the thing that makes the recipe shine is the pudding. Yeah, the pudding!!

Instead of frosting each layer of cake with frosting, we are going to use homemade chocolate pudding. It’s silky, creamy and perfect. I mean, pudding and cake? Together? YES.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

Here is what I did though, I made the cakes with a little coffee. See, I have a hard time making a chocolate cake without at least a little coffee, it just makes that chocolate flavor shine. Then I made the pudding, BUT I also made some of my all time favorite whipped chocolate buttercream frosting because again, I just can’t make a chocolate cake without it.

It may seem like a bit much to have both pudding and frosting going on, but I promise, promise, promise that it’s not. It also has just the right textures and level of sweetness.

The pudding is still the star of the cake, but the frosting adds that sweet buttery taste that we all love with cake. Gotta have that.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

OH and then? You cover the entire cake in well… crumbled cake crumbs.

Meaning you do not even have to worry about making your frosting look pretty, you are just going to cover it in more cake. Score!

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

And guys, I know that cake is not really a Tuesday thing… wait, scratch that. Cake is an everyday thing. So just make it, enjoy it and a be happy.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Refrigerate 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 916 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
  • In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter and canola oil together. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. One by one, add the eggs, mixing after each addition. With the mixer running at low speed, add the vanilla, cocoa, coffee, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. With the mixer still running on low speed, add about 1/3 of the cake flour, then about 1/3 of the buttermilk, and beat until combined. Repeat with the remaining cake flour and buttermilk, beating until combined.
  • Pour the batter among the 2 cake pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then grab 2 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before slicing + frosting.
  • While the cake is cooking, make the pudding. Pour 2 1/2 cups of the water, the sugar, honey and cocoa powder into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup very cold water and the cornstarch together until smooth. Whisk the corn starch mixture into the cocoa mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until very thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm, about 45 minutes.
  • To make the frosting, add the butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer). Beat the butter and powdered sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat, scrapping down the sides as needed another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks of white. Add 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream and whip the frosting for 2-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. If desired add the remaining tablespoon of the heavy cream (I normally do) and whip until combined. Taste the frosting and add more powdered sugar if you like a sweeter or thicker frosting.
  • To assemble the cake, use a long serrated knife to cut the cake layers in half horizontally. Take the ugliest layer of cake and crumble it into fine crumbs (or put it in the food processor) for topping and then reserve the other 3 cake halves for the cake. Place a cake layer on a cake plate or serving platter (reserve the most even layer for the top) and spread with cooled pudding. Top with another layer of cake, then pudding, then the final layer of cake. Now take the butter frosting and frost over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, you can now cover the frosted cake in any remaining pudding, I did. Use your hands to coat the cake with the reserved cake crumbs, pressing the crumbs gently into the pudding. Chill until ready to serve, at least 2 hours.


*To quickly bring eggs to room temperature place them in a bowl and fill with warm water. Let them sit five minutes. 
**Recipe adapted from Food Network.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake | @hbharvest

Those layers? That pudding? That’s what’s going to make everyone happy. Trust me!

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  1. 5 stars
    So decadent and moist. I even manage to make it look good to almost like yours. Will make this again. Like alot of your other recepies that i have tryied. Thank you!

  2. 4 stars
    I made this recipe for my birthday cake last week! Very chocolatey and perfect for a chocoholic like me. Some things to note: as someone else mentioned, this made WAY more pudding than needed, I could have easily only made 1/2 or even a 1/3 of the recipe and had plenty. I did not at all think the pudding suffered flavor-wise for being made with water instead of milk! Though as the leftovers sat the water started separating. I’d also recommend checking the cake much sooner than called for; my oven almost always bakes the full time given in a recipe or longer, but when I checked the cake at 27 minutes (based off someone else’s comment that it was done for them at that point) it was already totally set. The cakes did end up seeming a bit dry and overbaked, however with the pudding and frosting they were still delicious!

    1. Hi Cori! I am sorry this did not turn out as you expected. Please let me know if there is anything I can help with! xTieghan

    1. Hey Alana,
      No adjustments need to be made:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    This cake will be one of the best chocolate cakes you’ve ever eaten.

  4. I want to make this for my daughter’s 27th birthday. She would like an alternative to the buttermilk and heavy whipping cream. Any suggestions using coconut milk or other alternatives?

    1. Hi Marnee, I would recommend using an equal amount of full-fat canned coconut milk. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

    1. Hi Marnee, jus use an equal amount. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    You’ve done it again! It was delicious, and very fun to make. The steps were varied, yet easy to execute. When you know you’re going to top the whole thing with crumbs, you enter a stress-free state of mind. This cake was the highlight of the party. Lots of oohs and ahs. Plus, the chopped chocolate niblets made a nice crunch that contrasted beautifully with the moist cake layers. The website linked here has cake photos! I hope you know how great you made my birthday! (Bonus: Harry Potter tablecloth!)

    1. Ok wow this is so amazing to hear Julie!! Thank you so much for trying this cake out, I am so glad your birthday went amazing! xTieghan

  6. Did you top the cake with chocolate shavings, or am I seeing visions? I think I will do the shavings, in a salute to you. I’m channeling my inner Tieghan, and thinking how can I make this even more complex and fun?!? I can’t wait to make this cake for my birthday September 4th.

    1. Hey Julie! Yes, I topped the cake with very finely chopped dark chocolate bars. Delish! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe and happiest birthday to you! Thank you! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Easier than it seems and practically fool-proof. I didn’t have cream so used plain yogurt in the frosting which gave it a really nice but subtle tang, cutting the sweetness a bit. Thank you for a magnificent recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    I omitted the icing and instead used the pudding in lieu, followed by oreo crumbs. The recipe is perfect and the pudding is devine! I used red cocoa powder (22%). The cake is perfect from top to bottom

    1. My recipes should work well at sea level and at an elevation. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much and happy Holidays!! xTieghan ?

    2. Hi Hailey! They should work great for you! But please let me know if you have any other questions while making the recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    Hi, this cake looks like chocolate heaven. Do you know if I can make it advance and freeze the cake for a few days before the event? Thanks.

    1. Hey Penny! I have not tried freezing this cake so I cannot say for sure, but I do think it would freeze well. Please let me know how it goes! I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Ok, I HAD to make sure I came back and commented on this cake. My sweet husband made this for my birthday last week and OMG. BEST.CAKE.EVER. But I think it’s safe to say that the pudding was EVERYONE’s favorite. Definitely my new favorite birthday cake! 😀

    1. Thank you so much! I am so glad you loved this cake Amanda! Happy Belated Birthday to your husband!

  11. This cake is delicious!
    I made it for my boyfriend‘s birthday and everybody loved it. I just added blueberries to the pudding and put raspberries on top –

  12. I sound like a meanie for saying this…you might want to correct the typo “use 1 1/3c. sugar for a sweeter cake, not sweater cake.

    1. The water is correct. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  13. Can’t wait to make this! Love everything of yours I have tried and I will ONLY use your recipes when I am making chocolate cake.
    (Just a friendly note that you have “sweater” cake on the sugar line instead of sweeter)
    Thank you for all that you do!

  14. I used 2/3 cup (I took it to mean – don’t add more, because barely 2/3 cup is enough to make pudding thick. I’ve made this recipe twice and 2/3 cup worked out perfectly.

    1. So sorry for the confusion. It is 2/3 cup. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    LOVED this recipe! I made it this weekend and kept it in the fridge overnight for serving guests at lunch today. I sliced 16 pieces, and if I had more skills, I think I could have sliced even thinner pieces. It went fast and everyone thought it was great! It is very rich, so you don’t need much to get a terrific dessert.
    I got lazy toward the end and just made it a four layer cake with pudding enough for between each layer and more to add over the icing. That is a terrific pudding recipe! I did not figure in the time to let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours or I would have had it the evening before for dinner. But leaving it in the refrigerator overnight really sealed it into a stable product, easy to slice into individual pieces. Since there were some guests that did not get a piece, I will make two cakes next time. The directions were easy to follow and tasting as I went assured the amount of sweetness desired.
    Thanks to the original author for correcting the typos. I also enjoyed the link to the history of this cake. Kudos!

  16. Hi! Looking forward to baking this cake today. What does “1 tablespoons stick salted butter softened to room temperature, 8” in the frosting ingredient list mean? Is it 8 Tablespoons or 1 Tablespoon?

    1. 4 stars
      This part of recipe poorly weitten. Itwas not my recipe originally. May I suggest you start with two to four tablespoons butter. See how well it blends with that one cup powdered sugar, then add more if texture not right. A more experienced baker may offer better advice. It has been a very long time since I’ve seen this recipe and I don’t remember the amount of butter used in the frosting. Good luck!

    2. HI! So sorry, those are typos. All fixed now. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! :

  17. I just made this cake for a friends birthday and it was a huge hit! You were totally right about the pudding and frosting combination! I tossed the 4th half of cake and coated the outside with pulverized Oreo cookies instead. It was awesome!! I agree with some previous comments that it takes a lot of time to get this completed. I started at about 10 and didn’t finish until after midnight. To be fair though this is only the second cake I have ever made from scratch. I also had some concerns about the pudding recipe having no dairy but it was really delicious in the cake. I cannot wait to find an excuse to make this again ASAP.

    1. Thats so awesome that you made this!! Sorry it took so long! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!!

  18. Worst cake recipe ever. Like sandpaper on my tongue. I can see why it needs pudding and frosting,…. To mask how bad the cake is

    1. Hey Amy! No, that is actually flour with cornstarch in it. If needed, measure out 1 cup all-purpose flour and then remove 2 tablespoons from the 1 cup. Then add in 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Make sense?

      Tieghan! 🙂

  19. I was so excited to FINALLY getting around to making this. It’s summer, but screw it, I’m baking. So I slammed those cakes in the oven and busy myself making pudding on the stove top. I get done, set the pudding to cool in the fridge, and take a peak at my glorious cakes. They’re absolutely flat as pancakes?!??!?!?! Needless to say, I forgot to put a stitch of flour in the batter. Now it’s Brooklyn-Eat-It-With-Pudding-Out-Of-A-Bowl-Cake. Oh Tieghan. I’ll try again this weekend. #LoveYou 😀

  20. Amazing pudding recipe. I made with gal glands black out cake recipe. I VERY much look forward to making the whole shabang you have here.

  21. Hi Tieghan! How do you think this would do in the fridge overnight? Would like to make the night before having company over for dinner but wondering how the taste would be if it sits in the fridge for a day.

  22. I made this cake and the only suggestion I have is to replace the chocolate pudding recipe with a chocolate pudding recipe that uses eggs and milk. I used Martha Stewart’s chocolate pudding recipe and added 4 tablespoons of butter instead of 2 and it was delicious. I love the frosting on this cake because it is not overly sweet. I will make it again!

  23. I just finished making this wonderful cake and my family refused to wait for it to chill the two hours…we dove right-in after I added dark chocolate shavings to the top! All three recipes (cake, pudding, frosting), are perfect. I’ve never made homemade pudding before, but after this I will never buy those instant boxes again. It was heavenly! It does make about double what is needed for the cake, but we didn’t mind…we’ll be eating it with homemade whipped cream tomorrow. The frosting was the best chocolate frosting I’ve ever made, but it did not make enough for our liking. I will double the recipe next time. Watch the time on your cake. I baked mine for 27 minutes and it was too dry. Definitely take it out right when it sets, just like she says to do. Thank you for the perfect, most delicious dessert for our Valentine’s weekend!

    1. Hey Cyrstell!!!

      So excited you and your family loved this cake. Thank you for all the kind words!!

  24. I just made this cake. Started at about 10:30 and finished about 1:00. It takes time for the pudding to set (45 minutes as the recipe says). I did not crumble the 4th layer as the two cakes cut in two came out perfectly. I just made it a 4 layer cake, and used your suggestion to put left over pudding on top of the icing. The cake is now chilling in the fridge. I think I had twice as much pudding as was needed, and next time I will cut the pudding recipe in half. I listened to your suggestion to taste as it was being made, and added a little more sugar to the cake (I think a little more than 1 1/2 cups), and a sprinkling of extra powdered sugar in the frosting with some extra whipping cream. The icing turned out to taste just like butter cream frosting bought in a fine bakery. I think in my younger days, Mom would use “margarine” and “milk” instead of butter and cream, and I can definitely taste the difference. I followed the portions as directed otherwise and can’t wait for the family to try it for dinner tomorrow. (Oh! This Brooklyn cake will also be known as the “midnight” cake at this house, because I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to make it!)

  25. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of adding pudding. I am actually not a huge frosting person, so the addition of pudding makes me crave this cake something fierce!

  26. Fascinating little history about the name. I had no idea! What I DO know is that I want this cake. In my mouth. Forget the fork. I’ll use my hands.

  27. This is insane! It looks incredible with all those dark chocolate layers. And pudding…yes! I totally need to check out the history of this cake. Cake with histories are so cool. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful as always 🙂

  28. Love love LOVE this brooklyn blackout cake Tieghan. Just so decadent and delicious.. you definitely can cut me a thick slice now!

  29. Oh yes, all that chocolate is definitely a winner for me! You can’t go wrong with chocolate, be it V-Day or any other day. Just wrote this recipe in my notebook and I’m going to give it a try as it has all the things that I love in it. Thank you for sharing!

  30. I grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn in the 50’s and remember the blackout cake from Ebinger’s bakery. This looks and sounds just like it – the pudding between layers is the kicker. I’ve had other blackout cakes, but they were not quite right. I remember going to the Ebinger’s store a few blocks from home, or their factory store about twice the distance away. My other favorites were their French butter cookies, which had a dense texture that I have not found anywhere else, and huckleberry crumb pie.

  31. Stunning! I love that I don’t have to worry about making the frosting look pretty! Can’t wait to try this!

  32. I personally think pudding and cake are amazing together…especially in a chocolate cake where the pudding is creamy and not as sweet as frosting (because I could eat a bowlful of pudding, but not a bowlful of frosting ). Then you have the shot of frosting on the outside to bring back sweetness? Then more cake on the outside? Oh Yes…this looks like chocolate cake heaven to me!

  33. Does anyone remember that Entemann’s used to have a cake like this, made with the pudding & crumbs, too. . . .Oh, about 40 years ago when I was 20 & living in New York City. I can remember my roommate & I would collect soda bottles for the deposit and come home from the store with one of these yummy cakes. Good memories!

  34. Cake is SO totally an every day thing!!!!!!!!! Especially this one! A cake like this is good for the soul, I’m convinced. Pudding and buttercream — yes, yes please. Love this so much, Tieghan!

  35. Holy mother of chocolate! This cake looks incredible! And now you’ve got me thinking about nothing else! One of these days I’m going to have to just move next to you so I can steal all of your delicious leftovers!

  36. As a kid, I used to go to Serendipity and have Brooklyn blackout cake and frozen hot chocolate. Kind of overkill, but now I don’t think I could ever have blackout cake without frozen hot chocolate!

  37. I made a vanilla version of this cake [the White Out Cake] for my hubby’s birthday a few years ago and it was divine! Add chocolate and there’s no way I can pass up this recipe. Pinned!

  38. My jaw literally dropped when I saw this cake. It looks scrumptious! Definitely a great way to kick off Chocolate Week 😉 (even if it is Tuesday haha)

  39. Just looking at this cake makes me feel like I did something incredibly naughty. It looks so moist, rich, decadent and SINFUL. Yes Virginia, there is a chocolate heaven.

  40. A big fat blackout cake is exactly the ting I’m looking for #allthetime – whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not!! This is too perfect!

  41. Looks like a great recipe, I like the use of butter and oil in the cake, keeps it nice ans moist…well, along with the awesome pudding filling too!

  42. This cake means business! I think I just found the cake I’m going to make the hubby for his birthday. Love it! Pinned it!

  43. Now this would really be up my husbands alley. He likes brownies, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate syrup all in one dessert. HAHAHA!!! So you made 2 layers instead of 3. It said it made 3 layers.

  44. Love this cake..looks so moist and chocolately…I’m all about covering my messy frosting skills with cake crumbs…

  45. Another beautiful cake, Tieghan! Looks so luscious! (Plus, I’m always down with a cake I don’t necessarily have to make pretty 😉 ) Coffee in cake is always a good idea, be it chocolate or not!

  46. Love this! As a lifelong New Yorker, it’s always been about the blackout cake from Brooklyn. My grandmother grew up in Brooklyn and always made or bought the blackout cake! My favorite.

  47. Wow this would be perfect for Fat Tuesday next week!!
    But I don’t think I could wait a week to taste it.
    Thanks for finding this one.

    1. We all loved this cake so much!i was going to give a piece to a friend, but my daughter-in-law looked so sad that I was going to give some away that I changed my mind. The family absolutely loved the cake AND the extra pudding!

      1. I kept this cake in the refrigerator for one week, until it was completely gone. I recommend refrigeration if it lasts longer than a couple days. A cut piece tasted great after warming in the microwave for just long enough to get the pudding warm – about 30 seconds to 1 minute.