Homemade Choco-Bliss Snack Cakes

Loved by the sun! And by me. ;)

Loved by the sun! And by me. 😉

So apparently there was a Hostess snack cake in the 1980s called “Choco-Bliss.” That name is pretty lame, and apparently described the cake itself perfectly, for the Choco-Bliss snack cake of arcades past is long gone. Happily, the commercials are still around to make us laugh; though in my darker moments I gloomily wonder why people who churn out such uninspired ads are paid so much. I mean, I could write commercials like this. I choose not to because I have mirrors in my house and occasionally I look into them.

What can I say but “Awesome!” and “Yow!”? Well, I can say that I’m supremely happy that Eighties hair styles are no more. Seriously. If you haven’t been a part of the hour-long spraying and teasing and mousse-ing process that made Eighties hair so… voluminous, then you missed out on that special something that made the Eighties so magical – namely, choking on clouds of nasty hair spray and praying you don’t fall over dead from the chemicals. Doing so – falling over dead, I mean – would certainly get their attention down at the club!

The cakes were having a pow-wow when I wasn't looking. Luckily, one of my spies snapped this revealing photo...

The cakes were having a pow-wow when I wasn’t looking. Luckily, one of my spies snapped this revealing photo…

I am supremely good at tangential discussions, because I am just now getting to the good part: The part where I tell you that this homemade version of the Choco-Bliss snack cake is chocolate crack. Dude, I kid you not. This is now, hands down, my favourite chocolate cake. EVER. I am willing to bet that it blows its inspiration out of the water. The mocha cake is moist and fluffy, and makes a delightful snack cake (hee) on its own. The sweet chocolate filling… oh my word, oh my stars, oh my salamanders! It is insanely good, the kind of filling you could just eat straight out of the bowl without feeling plagued with that vague sense that if only you’d waited to put it on the cake, you’d have had an even better time. I mean, the whole shebang is pretty wonderful, but the filling is really the source of the chocolate cracktasticness in this dessert.

The chocolate icing is a darker, smoother, silky accompaniment to the incredibly fluffy, light, chocolate-y filling, and underscores both the cake and filling’s flavours and textures. It mimics the stiff yet soft texture of a commercial snack cake ganache pretty well, though it boasts a much more true and rich chocolate flavour than anything you’d buy pre-packaged.

A close-up of the cake's incredible moist texture and the filling's creamy beauty.

A close-up of the cake’s incredible moist texture and the filling’s creamy beauty.

These are just the best food in the world to me. They are really rich, so one 2×2″ square is plenty for an adult. That didn’t stop me from attempting to eat two squares in one sitting. I failed at this Herculean task, but boy did I have fun trying!

I know these don’t look like the fanciest dessert, but they are delicious. They are unabashed in their chocolate kick, perfect for a true chocoholic. You can adjust the sweetness or darkness of the chocolate you use in this recipe to suit your tastes, or the tastes of the person you’re making these for. I went middle-of-the-road, using the semisweet chocolate called for in the recipe, but bittersweet chocolate would certainly make these an even more intense, beautiful experience.

This was my birthday cake this year. 🙂 SCORE! 🙂

Regimented chocolate. I like chocolate best when it does what I say.

Regimented chocolate. I like chocolate best when it does what I say.

Homemade Choco-Bliss Snack Cakes

Yield: About 18 snack cakes, depending on size cut


For the cake:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup hot water OR 1 cup hot coffee (if using hot coffee, omit espresso powder below)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar

For the icing:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 TBS light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted*


For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13″ baking dish with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Melt butter in a small bowl. Stir in cocoa powder and hot water / hot coffee. Whisk until cocoa powder is dissolved. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, espresso powder (if using hot coffee in place of hot water, omit the espresso powder), sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add cocoa mixture and stir just to blend. Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla; stir just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes, or until the cake passes the toothpick test. Cool completely in pan.

For the filling:
After the cake has cooled completely, make the filling. Heat the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, salt, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the chips have melted and all is incorporated thoroughly. Add the vanilla. Set aside.

Beat the butter, shortening, and half of the powdered sugar until fluffy, about five minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth.

Remove the cooled cake from its pan and place onto a large work surface. Cut the cake in half to make two 9×6.5″ rectangles. Torte each rectangle and place the top torted layer, cut side up, on the work surface.

Spread half the filling onto the bottom two torted layers. Place the top layers back on their respective bottoms, forming two 9×6.5″ sandwiches. Now it is time to make the icing.

For the icing:
Heat the chocolate chips, corn syrup, vanilla, and heavy cream in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Once all is melted and completely blended, add the powdered sugar. Whisk or beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth.

Working quickly (because the icing firms up fast!), spread the icing evenly over the two 9×6.5″ filled cakes. It’s okay if the icing drips a little over the sides.

Allow the icing to solidify completely. It will still be soft, but it shouldn’t be runny, and it should stay in place. Using a very sharp or serrated knife, cut one of the 9×6.5″ cakes into squares about 2×2″ in size, or whatever size you prefer. Repeat with the second 9×6.5″ filled cake.

Store in an airtight container… that is, if you can resist eating them all immediately!

*I neglected to sift my powdered sugar, and the icing wasn’t as smooth as it should have been. Sad panda, man.

Source: Barely adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker



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