“THE” Perfect Chocolate Cake…no really!

10 Jan


I know, I know, isn’t any chocolate cake the perfect chocolate cake?  True, but this one really is special.  This is our family’s go-to chocolate cake for special occasions, birthdays, celebrations, or just any time we want the perfect chocolate cake.  It doesn’t take any more time than any other made-from-scratch cake, but if you don’t have time to make the cake from scratch, or whip the cream for the filling, you MUST make this frosting.  It is the best chocolate frosting ever!  I’ve made the frosting many times for other cakes, but for the whole perfect package, make the cake too!  This is an old recipe that was first published in the McCall’s Cooking School cookbook in 1972.  An oldie but a goodie!

Ingredients for Cake:

1 cup cocoa

2 cups boiling water

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temp

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Ingredients for Frosting:

6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Ingredients for Filling:

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream, well chilled

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans.  Place a circle of wax paper or parchment paper on bottom of each cake pan, then spray with cooking spray.


Mix the 1 cup cocoa with the 2 cups boiling water in a bowl, stirring with a whisk to remove lumps.  Allow to cool completely.  While that’s cooling, stir together the dry ingredients;  2 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.


In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, cream the one cup of softened butter, 2 1/2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.  Beat for about 5 minutes until light, scraping down bowl as needed.


Turn mixer to low, and add the cooled chocolate mixture in batches, alternating with the flour mixture until all is incorporated.


Divide batter among the three prepared pans.

IMG_5521_1Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the cake surface springs back when gently touched.  Remove from oven when done and cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Loosen cake from sides of the pan with a spatula, remove from pans and cool on wire rack.  Allow cake layers to cool completely before assembling with filling.


Filling Directions:

Combine the 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 powdered sugar, and teaspoon of vanilla into a large bowl.  Whip until cream is stiff.

IMG_5527_1When layers are completely cool, assemble cake by dividing the filling between the layers.





Directions for frosting:

In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips, 1/2 cup half-and-half, and 2 sticks butter.  Stir over medium heat until smooth.

IMG_5532_1_1When the chocolate/butter mixture is smooth, whisk in the 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and stir until mostly smooth.

IMG_5534_1Now here’s how this frosting is different from most.  Place the melted chocolate mixture in a bowl (metal bowl if you have it since it conducts coldness better) and set the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice.

IMG_5536_1Begin to beat the frosting mixture with a hand-held mixer until the frosting has thickened and turned light.  It won’t take very long, and you want to make sure the frosting is a good spreading consistency.  It can harden too much, so watch it carefully. Beat just long enough to get a creamy frosting that’s not too stiff.

IMG_5538_1Spread frosting along sides and on top of cake.


You can swirl the frosting on the top with the back of a spoon, or spread the frosting smooth on top then drag the tines of a fork across to make a design like I did here.


This is a delicious, impressive cake for any occasions!



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