Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake with Glossy Chocolate Icing



Wow is all I can say.  I don't think you'll ever go back to a boxed cake after making this Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake. It's fantastic. It's what grandma used to make with it's one-of-a-kind flavor and "Betty Crocker" looks.

No mixer required. No eggs even. The oil in the ingredients keeps it moist and it keeps well...not that there are going to be leftovers.

It's really, really fabulous. Just remember when you are baking from scratch...do not overmix, measure exactly, sift your dry ingredients (especially the cocoa which tends to be clumpy) and follow directions.  Your cake will be amazing and you will not go back to the box mix.


Preheat oven to 350o F with rack in the center.  Spray two 8" round cake pans with nonstick spray.  Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl (sift everything too).

Combine water, oil, vinegar, instant coffee and vanilla in a large measuring cup.  Add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined - a few lumps are okay.  Divide batter among pans (3 cups in each), then bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.


Cool cakes for 20 minutes on a rack, then invert them onto the rack.  Leave cakes upside down to cool completely (this flattens domed cakes), then frost.


For the icing, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Sir in sugar, cocoa and salt.  Mixture will be extremely thick and grainy.  Combine heavy cream, sour cream and instant coffee in a large measuring cup, mixing until smooth.  Cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth and hot to the touch.  Do not boil.

Off heat, add vanilla.  Cool icing at room temperature until spreadable, about three hours.  The icing is quite soft. If it seems too thin to stay put on the cake, stir in powdered sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time until it's easily spreadable.

Spread 1 cup icing all the way to the edges of the first layer of the cake.  Top first layer with second cake and spread with 1 cup of icing.  Blob more icing on the sides, then spread around.


Your family is going to go crazy over this.

Print Recipe

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake with Glossy Chocolate Icing

Recipe from: Inspired by Cuisine at Home | Serves: 12

Ingredients

For the chocolate cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar if needed

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in the center of the oven. Spray two 8" round cake pans with nonstick spray. Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl (sift everything too).
  • Combine water, oil, vinegar, instant coffee and vanilla in a large measuring cup. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined - a few lumps are okay. Divide batter among pans (3 cups in each), then bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  • Cool cakes for 20 minutes on a rack, then invert them onto the rack. Leave cakes upside down to cool completely (this flattens domed cakes), then frost.
  • For the icing, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sir in sugar, cocoa and salt. Mixture will be extremely thick and grainy. Combine heavy cream, sour cream and instant coffee in a large measuring cup, mixing until smooth. Gradually add cream mixture to chocolate mixture until blended and smooth. Cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth and hot to the touch. Do not boil. Take of heat.
  • Off heat, add vanilla. Cool icing at room temperature until spreadable, about three hours. The icing is quite soft. If it seems too thin to stay put on the cake, stir in powdered sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time until it's easily spreadable.
  • Spread 1 cup icing all the way to the edges of the first layer of the cake. Top first layer with second cake and spread with 1 cup of icing. Blob more icing on the sides, then spread around.


Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Other Chocolate Cake Recipes you Might Enjoy:
Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ Pinch My Salt
Chocolate Cake with Fluffy Mint Chocolate Chip Butercream ~ A Farmgirl's Dabbles
The Moistest Chocolate Mug Cake ~ Table for Two
Six-Minute Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Balsamic Glaze ~ Noble Pig
Sunday Chocolate Cake ~ Cookies and Cups
One Bowl Whiskey Chocolate Fudge Cake ~ How Sweet It Is

One Year Ago: Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate Tart
Two Years Ago: Bacon-Veggie Pizza
Three Years Ago: Some Mysteries in My Universe

Post a Comment

51 Comments and 13 Replies

  1. Angela 1

    I am always in search of the next chocolate cake recipe. I love this cooked frosting. This and milk and it’s last meal delish.

    Reply
  2. This cake looks amazing, it reminds me of that chocolate cake in Matilda! And I love how the frosting in the middle looks like it just melds into the rest of the cake, bookmarked!

    Reply
  3. Ooh, that does look great!

    Not the icing, but with no eggs and having oil instead of butter, isn’t this cake vegan? Another plus for some. 😉

    Reply
  4. laura 4

    glossy is right! this is a gorgeous cake.

    Reply
  5. Kathleen 5

    I am not a coffee fan. Do you taste the coffee flavor or how would it affect the taste to leave it out?

    Reply
    • Traci 6

      Coffee is meant to bring out the flavor of the chocolate, you cannot taste it but it makes a huge difference in chocolate cakes.

      Reply
  6. That cake looks amazing! There is nothing like a chocolate on chocolate homemade cake!

    Reply
  7. Lindsay 8

    I am not the author nor have I baked this recipe but…. to comment on that, you won’t even taste the coffee. Coffee is used in chocolate recipes to intensify the flavor of chocolate. Similar to what the vodka does to vodka sauce. I’m sure you can leave it out, but I would put it in… I promise you won’t taste it!

    Reply
  8. Just the look of them, made my mouth salivate! Yuuummy, thank you for that!

    Reply
  9. John 10

    Yes, please!

    Reply
  10. Becca Qian 11

    YAY you are finally back!

    Reply
  11. bellini 12

    This makes me want to head to the kitchen to bake Cathy.

    Reply
  12. This looks like Heaven on a plate! I can’t wait to try to make this for my family! YUM!

    Reply
  13. This looks amazing. I can’t wait to try this icing

    Reply
  14. Cassie 15

    Oh mommy!

    Reply
  15. Want want want. Nothing beats a homemade chocolate cake!

    BTW, congrats on the new tasting room!

    Reply
  16. Pam 17

    Oh…this is what we call our Wacky cake. However ours does not call for coffee…BRILLIANT. It is so moist we usually don’t frost it but I found a glaze that, again, is much like yours and didn’t overwhelm the non-frosting lovers in the house.

    Reply
  17. OH MY GOODNESS. My boyfriend’s instant reaction to this post was “WHOA. THAT LOOKS UNBELIEVABLE.” Seriously! That cake looks amazing, I can’t wait. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such luscious, glossy frosting. Mmm I can almost taste it!

    Reply
  18. Now that is some serious chocolate! My kind of cake. :)

    Reply
  19. Stacey 20

    This looks great. Can you use espresso powder instead of the coffee?

    Reply
  20. Edward 21

    I tried the recipe. To respond to several earlier comments — yes, the cake itself is fantastic. The icing recipe I found not to be workable. The icing TASTES terrific, but even after adding loads of additional powdered sugar, it stayed too thin. It was actually so thin that when I put the top cake on the bottom iced cake, the top cake started to slide off. Needless to say, I’ll keep the cake recipe, but keep searching for a frosting recipe that yields more body/stiffness with the same great flavor.

    Reply
  21. Oh this cake looks totally mouth watering…I wish I had something like this in my fridge…freshly baked…daily MMMMM

    Reply
  22. Let me have one of those! Yummy! I’ll try the recipes, I definitely will!

    Reply
  23. Katinka 24

    I just made this. I halved the recipe and made a dozen cupcakes. I was a bit nervous about the frosting…it didn’t seem to thicken very much but after I let it sit for about 3 hours I stirred it, transferred it to a tupperware container, and tossed it in the fridge for 5 minutes it was PERFECT. Thick and lush. It wasn’t thick enough to pipe but it swirled beautifully. We had quite a bit left, even with halving the frosting recipe so we re-heated the rest and dipped strawberries in it. Warm chocolate ganache + cool strawberries = one hell of a Thursday night.

    Reply
  24. natalie 25

    perfect timing!!! the hubby’s birthday is on tuesday and he has requested his fave cake, chocolate with chocolate frosting, filled with fresh strawberries! so glad i came across your recipe:)

    i also just took out of the oven your pepperoni pizza muffins for my sons lunch. they smell yummy! my son was at the oven the whole time saying, yummy (while rubbing his tummy, haha).

    can’t wait to continue to explore your site!

    Reply
  25. Luisa 26

    this cake is fantastic, I have made it numerous times and my family loves it

    Reply
  26. Natalie 27

    I am soooo disappointed at how this turned out. As mentioned above, the icing was too thin and the cake wasn’t very sweet at all. I made this for my nephew’s birthday and the top layer fell apart. Not sure I’ll try this again.

    Reply
  27. Hollie 28

    For those who had a tough time with the frosting: DO NOT add more sugar!
    Similarly to a ganache, this frosting will thicken (and stay thick) after a short stay in the refrigerator. After you cool at room temp, put it in the fridge and stir every ten mins until it is the spreading consistency that you would like. I PROMISE this will fix the problem of it being too thin.
    Also, the best part of a homemade cake is that it gets better with age! Today, after sitting on the counter, covered, overnight, it is even better than it was yesterday! No box cake gets better overnight. I am in LOVE!

    Reply
  28. Diane 29

    I have made this recipe three times. It is rich, delicious and easy. The icing needs to sit for a few hours to thicken up and it goes on beautifully.

    Reply
  29. Stephanie 30

    Just made this recipe and it turned out great! Actually, it was great on Day 2, but I didn’t care for it on day it was made. Something about it didn’t taste right then. But am very glad I didn’t throw it out :) I’ve made ganache type frosting before and they always turn out runny, so this time I put in the refrigerator for however long until it was cold but still spreadable and it was NOT thin at all. I left on counter overnight and the frosting is thick and creamy. The frosting reminds me of the Entenmann’s cake actually, and I’ve been trying to find something similar that doesn’t taste like it’s from the can, so glad I stumbled across this. If you think you don’t like it after you try it, give it a chance again the next day. It get’s better. Although next time I think I’ll line the pans with parchment. I just used spray but big chunks of the cake stayed attached to the pan. Maybe that’s just a testament to how moist it is.

    Reply
  30. Cia 31

    I have made this cake twice and everyone loves how moist and chocolaty it is. You really do not taste the coffee in it. Definitely a keeper!

    Reply
  31. Sheila Charapata 32

    I’m confused about the amounts on the icing. 1-1/2 cups? Is that 1/2 cup OR 1 and a half cups?

    Reply
  32. Joanne 33

    I just made this cake and icing for Mother’s Day and it looks incredible! Can’t wait to enjoy it tomorrow! Regarding the frosting, I have a little trick I use to speed things along…Instead of waiting three hours for the frosting to set, or putting it in the fridge, I take a larger saucepan, put a good size custard cup upside down in the middle of it, and then fill it with ice up to the top of the custard cup. Then I put in cold water to just above the cup and place the frosting saucepan in it. It cools quickly, and all you have to do is every so often give it a good stirring with a wooden spoon till it gets to the spreading consistency you desire. It works every time!!!

    Reply
  33. Oh my god. I am always on the look out for perfect chocolate cake and I think I just found it. This looks incredible!

    Reply
  34. My Art Of Cooking 35

    Your cake look amazing I really wanna try it but confused about the quantity of baking soda, normally in baking we use baking powder r u sure its baking soda not baking powder?

    Reply
  35. ray 37

    just printed this of for my wife. Guess what I am going to have for supper tonight. WOW :)

    Reply
  36. Savita 38

    Wow so delicious!!!!

    Reply
  37. Lee 39

    Baked the cake late last night, and will be icing it shortly. I too had a difficult time getting the cakes out of the pans even though I coated them thoroughly with cooking spray. However, the upside to this is that there were a few chunks to ‘taste test’ and I must say this recipe is going to be a keeper! I have never made a cake from scratch before, and this was a super recipe to give it a try. My birthday is tomorrow, and I made this as a little ‘happy birthday to me!’ cake. Thanks for sharing this on behalf of all the chocolate lovers of the world!

    Reply
  38. Robin 40

    I have been making this cake since I was 10 years old. You can find it without the coffee listed as Wacky Cake. Made originally during the war (s) when everything was rationed… it’s amazing alone or with peanut butter frosting but I like it best with a squirt of whipped cream! Heaven on a fork!!

    Reply
  39. suzan-in-nc 41

    I really like that both the cake and icing call for cocoa, rather than more solid forms of chocolate (choc.chips, blocks, bars, etc.) This makes it an economical cake to make, plus I always have cocoa in my pantry, so no need to run out to grocery store when I get the yen to make a chocolate cake.

    Reply
  40. Claire 42

    This was super easy to make and the frosting was on point but the cake could have been a little more moist , thus making it perfect

    Reply
    • Cathy 43

      Hmmm. Glad you liked it. Funny because it’s probably the most, moist cake I make. So moist, I worry it won’t come out of the pan without breaking. You really have to be careful about overmixing with this one…it might be what caused it to not be so light and airy.

      Reply
  41. MommaL 44

    For the Icing, how much cocoa does the recipe call for?

    Cocoa is not listed with the ingredients however it is mentioned in the instructions.

    I hope you get this soon, as I am making this cake tonight as a special thank you for my hubby.

    Reply
    • Cathy 45

      fixed

      Reply
      • MommaL 46

        Thanks for the quick response. We loved it! My oven runs hot and I cut the recipe in half so I adjusted the bake time by five minutes. which wasn’t enough. My cake was on the dry side but otherwise delicious. Not bad for my first time making a cake from scratch. I’ll keep working on this recipe.

        Reply
  42. mary 48

    Now this is what I call a chocolate cake..yum!

    Reply
  43. Lynette 49

    Why sour cream and not just cream? Can I leave out the sour cream?

    Reply
    • Cathy 50

      Hmmm, you could try buttermilk or plain yogurt. I can’t promise though that the cake with taste the same or come together as well.

      Reply
  44. Nita 51

    Looks delicious, am going to bake it today. What kind of vinegar is it? In UK got malted but I have some spirit vinegar too? Thanks

    Reply
  45. Ezacatela 55

    ,,,” Gradually add cream mixture to chocolate until blended and smooth…”
    — Chocolate??? Where? how much?… there is no mention of any chocolate on the list…. Could you explain??? Thanks

    Reply
  46. Oh my, this cake has my mouth watering. It looks amazing! I can’t believe how easy it is to make and that there are no eggs in it.

    Reply
  47. Elisa 58

    Can I use Apple cider vinegar instead of white or should I make a trip to the store?

    Reply
  48. Krissandra Downard 60

    I made this cake for mothers day, best chocolate cake I’ve had in 10+ years!

    Reply
  49. Alli 62

    how can i adapt this recipe for a 10″ round? (cook times and temps?)

    Reply
  50. Tanya 63

    I made this cake for a retirement this morning – it was a huge hit! I was nervous there were no eggs in it, but it was absolutely delicious.

    Reply
  51. Melissa Torrissi 64

    Love this recipe!! Has anyone tried to convert this to a vanilla cake recipe??

    Reply

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