Chocolate Cake for the WIN!

Last Thursday was my mother’s 70th birthday and I was booked solid with cleanings and errands. Knowing this in advance, and also knowing how difficult it can be to connect with her, I sent her an email…

I’ve got a full week ahead of me on the weekdays, but Saturday is wide open.

So here is what I’m going to do. I’ll be serving a yummy lunch (what I’m not sure yet) along with a beautiful home-baked devil’s food cake. It will even have candles on it.

At approximately 12:30, we will gather together and eat lunch with yummy aforementioned cake directly after. We will look awfully silly singing Happy Birthday to you if you are NOT here, so I would suggest that you plan on being here at noon. Then, if you want to go do something, I am available for at least a couple of hours – we could go to an estate sale or something!

This worked, and she emailed me back to tell me she would be here.

Now, I’m new to homemade cake-baking. I’ve made a couple over the years, but it isn’t a regular thing, and I had never made a devil’s food cake. I knew that was her favorite, so I decided to give it a try.

I found a recipe online and altered it.

In the end? Mom loved the cake and said it was, “the best chocolate cake she had ever tasted.” What we did not devour then and there was quickly dispatched the next day. So quickly, as a matter of fact, that there is no photographic evidence that such a cake ever existed (yup, that’s a stock photo above). Believe me, it did, and we are all (especially me and Mom) a little fatter for it.

The icing is to die for. I have some remaining in the fridge. And no, I won’t be sharing it with you. Not one single bite. Go make your own!

The Best Chocolate Cake EVER

Here is the recipe as I made it…


  • 16 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 1/2 cups heavy cream


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 – 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp butter at room temperature (plus more for buttering pans)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 – 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup milk


To make the frosting: Put the chocolate and cream in a double-boiler over medium heat (remember to add water to the bottom section!) Gently whisk until the chocolate has all melted and incorporated into the cream. The mixture should be smooth. Remember, gentle is the ticket, otherwise you end up with butter!

Cover the surface of the frosting with plastic wrap. Set aside and let set up at room temperature until it is mostly cooled off, then refrigerate it to have it set up further and be easy to spread.

To make the cake: Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment or wax paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar. Continue beating until light and smooth, about 4 minutes. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat at medium speed for 1 minute more. (Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl again, if needed.) With the mixer running at medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Combine the water and milk in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer at low speed, add the flour mixture, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Carefully pour the hot liquid into the batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a large rubber spatula, finish combining the batter until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

The batter may seem rather runny, but will set up perfectly in the oven, don’t worry!

Set the pans on the middle rack in the oven. Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and the center springs back when touched lightly, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool the cakes, in the pans, on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake layers out of the pans and cool on the rack. (If not assembling the cake right away, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 2 months.)

Assemble the Devil’s Food Cake. Place 1 cake layer upside-down on a cake stand or flat plate. Scoop about 1/3 of the icing onto the center of the layer. Using a large, offset spatula, spread the icing evenly over the layer to the edges. Place the other cake layer, rounded-side up, on top. Evenly spread half of the remaining icing over the top, spreading any excess icing down the sides. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake. Use the tip of the offset spatula to make a swirling pattern in the icing. Serve. Store under a cake dome or loosely wrapped with plastic, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

If it lasts that long…because it tastes so good…

I had leftover icing which I’m considering using to cover some fresh baked cupcakes. But honestly? I just might eat the frosting straight because it is that good.

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