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Chocolate Cake

frosted chocolate cake

It’s okay to look away if you need to. I know, that recipe card is tough to look at. lol It’s one of the ones, copied in my mom’s hand­writ­ing, that went off to col­lege with me in a lit­tle wood­en recipe box.

recipe card

I’m not real­ly a “stuff” per­son. I despise clut­ter and don’t even keep knick-knacks around, for the most part. So, I under­stand that it is 100% irra­tional to not copy that onto a fresh, clean card.

The prob­lem is that like cook­ing and bak­ing, this recipe card brings back some of my favorite mem­o­ries of peo­ple and places and cel­e­bra­tions. It’s splat­tered with rem­nants of anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tions and our kids’ favorite birth­day cakes. It’s the first cake I learned to make on my own, as a child. 

Plus, let’s be real. A recipe card that looks like this has a lot of miles on it. It’s been USED. ‘Cause this cake is GOOD.

chocolate cake slice

So, while I under­stand if you’re peek­ing at it through your fin­gers, with your hands over your face, my heart isn’t quite ready to let this one go, yet.

The Ingredients

If you squint and look at that recipe card, you’ll prob­a­bly notice the first ingre­di­ent is lard. We did use lard when I was grow­ing up. How­ev­er, since I’ve been on my own, I’ve only used but­ter. If you have a good source for organ­ic lard, it will def­i­nite­ly work well in this recipe, but but­ter is scrumptious.

While it’s not a 5‑ingredient recipe, it IS sim­ple and uses com­mon pantry ingre­di­ents. I nev­er buy choco­late cake mix and after eat­ing this lus­cious cake, I’m bet­ting you won’t ever, either. It’s the one and only cake I would devour, even with­out frost­ing. But, yeah…you have to try it with this awe­some Favorite Fudge Frost­ing.

How to Make Chocolate Cake 

Cream togeth­er but­ter and sug­ar.  I do this in my *stand mix­er, but the recipe can be made by hand.  I have suc­cess­ful­ly done it that way, many times.

Add the eggs and milk to the but­ter mix­ture and beat hard.  (Don’t fret if it looks a lit­tle “cur­dled” after this step.  There will be tiny flecks of but­ter through­out the mixture.)

adding eggs to chocolate cake batter

Next, add the flour, cocoa pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt. Beat to incor­po­rate all the ingre­di­ents and to cre­ate a very thick bat­ter. (Be sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl, so that every­thing is well mixed.)

adding dry ingredients to chocolate cake batter
chocolate cake batter before boiling water

Pour in the boil­ing water and vanil­la.  (This is the step that bakes in all that love­ly mois­ture and keeps the cake tender.) 

Mix just until the water has been incor­po­rat­ed into the bat­ter. It will thin the bat­ter, substantially. 

Pour the bat­ter into a greased 9x13 pan (or two greased *9x9 squares or rounds) and bake at 350°.  The 9x13 will take 35–45 min­utes depend­ing on your oven.  The small pans will take 25–30 min­utes.  The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tooth­pick in the cen­ter will come out clean, when the cake is done.

Cool the cakes com­plete­ly and then frost with Favorite Fudge Frost­ing.

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chocolate cake

Ultimate Chocolate Cake


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Prep Time: 10 min­utes
  • Cook Time: 25 min­utes
  • Total Time: 35 min­utes
  • Yield: 24 serv­ings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tea­spoons bak­ing soda
  • ½ tea­spoon salt
  • 1 tea­spoon vanilla
  • 1 cup boil­ing water

Instructions

  1. Cream togeth­er but­ter and sug­ar.  I do this in my stand mix­er, but the recipe can be made by hand.  I have done it that way, before.
  2. Add the eggs and milk and beat hard.  (Don’t fret if it looks a lit­tle “cur­dled” after this step.  There will be tiny flecks of but­ter through­out the mixture.)
  3. Add the flour, cocoa pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt.
  4. Beat hard to incor­po­rate all the ingre­di­ents and to cre­ate a very thick bat­ter. (Be sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl and be sure every­thing is well mixed.
  5. Add the boil­ing water and vanil­la.  (This is the step that bakes in all that love­ly mois­ture and keeps the cake tender.) 
  6. Mix just until the water has been incor­po­rat­ed into the batter.
  7. Pour the bat­ter into a greased 9x13 pan (or *9x9 squares or rounds) and bake at 350°.  The 9x13 will take 35–45 min­utes depend­ing on your oven.  The small pans will take 25–30 min­utes.  The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tooth­pick in the cen­ter will come out clean, when the cake is done.

Notes

This cake will raise rather round and high in the cen­ter as it bakes, but when you pull it out of the oven to cool it will set­tle to a flat-topped cake, because of the high mois­ture con­tent.  Don’t pan­ic.  That’s exact­ly as it should be.  The cake is dense and moist and the way cakes tast­ed before the advent of mix­es.  It will remind you of Sun­day din­ner at your grandma’s.

  • Cat­e­go­ry: Cake, Dessert
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

Ok, go make your fam­i­ly a won­der­ful choco­late cake! You can def­i­nite­ly do it! 

And, if you’re look­ing for more fan­tas­tic cake recipes to add to your col­lec­tion, check out this DELISH recipe for Fresh Straw­ber­ry Pound Cake.

20 thoughts on “Chocolate Cake”

  1. I have nev­er heard of adding boil­ing water to cake, but this looks so deli­cious I’m going to have to try! Recipe cards like that are the best. So much love in your kitchen!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Stephanie! Yes, I agree that the kitchen is where love is shared and mem­o­ries are made. Thanks so much for tak­ing the time to stop and visit!

      Reply
  2. I have old cook­books with taped pages and recipe cards that look near the same and I won’t re-write them either. Those recipes and what they are print­ed on are the only way to trav­el back in time 🙂 Your ulti­mate choco­late cake looks amazing!!

    Reply
    • Mar­celle, you’re a kin­dred spir­it, for sure. Each and every one is it’s own trea­sure! Thanks for your kind words and tak­ing the time to stop and vis­it today!

      Reply
    • You under­stand! Thanks, Alli­son, for tak­ing the time to stop by. And thanks so much for all your hard work in orga­niz­ing #Choc­to­ber­fest. It’s been a blast!

      Reply
  3. I love when peo­ple share their most loved recipe cards! I have sev­er­al of these from my mom and I know what a splat­tered and torn recipe card means — it means that this one is a keep­er! I look for­ward to try­ing your choco­late cake recipe!

    Reply
  4. Glen­da, thank you so much for shar­ing this trea­sure! I made this choco­late cake and every­body said this is the most deca­dent, lus­cious choco­late cake ever!

    Reply
  5. This choco­late cake turned out amaz­ing. So good and moist! I love that you had your mom’s orig­i­nal recipe card for it:)

    Reply

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