Black Bottom Cake

When I was planning out an Oscars themed meal, the first dish I thought of was actually dessert. When one of the biggest films of the year is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, making a black bottom cake or pie was an absolute no brainer. I went with cake simply because I found a super simple recipe. (We’re talking icing-from-a-can level simple.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a bundt pan. First, make the main cake batter. Mix 1 box of chocolate cake mix with 1 1/4 c. water, 1/2 c. vegetable oil, 1/2 c. sour cream, and 3 eggs. This can easily be mixed by hand til there’s no dry bits of cake mix. In a separate bowl, combine 8 oz softened cream cheese with 1 egg, 1/4 c. sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Pour 3/4 of the cake batter into the pan, spoon the cream cheese mixture over that, and pour the remainder of the cake batter. Bake for 50 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Let it cool for a bit before turning it out onto a plate. Once it cools completely, take a can of chocolate frosting and warm it up in the microwave (only about 25 seconds). Pour it over the cake for extra indulgence.

  • The cake batter could probably handle a bit less water. Mine was thin, which made the cream cheese kinda sink so I didn’t have distinct cake-filling-cake layers. Maybe only 2 eggs?
  • I highly recommend using a mixer on low speed for the cream cheese. I overblended my mixture and it thinned it out, making it hard to achieve that clean layer you want.

Clearly, consistency/density was my issue. The flavor was great but it didn’t have that stunning layered effect I was going for. (Which is why I’m not sharing a pic of a cut piece.) While I mention reducing the water or maybe eggs, I did like that the cake had almost a custardy consistency. And how did I not know this frosting trick?! I’ll be using that on all cakes moving forward. Oh and in case you were wondering, this cake pairs very well with ice cream and fresh berries.