Our oldest baby turned 21 a few days ago 😳. I decided to make her a very special chocolate cake from a “Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe” that has been in my family for over 40 years. My mom, whom is now 86, found this delicious “from scratch” cake recipe in Family Circle Magazine in 1975. I promise you, it will not disappoint and you will be making this your go-to Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe for many years to come.
Where Did the Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe Come From?
My mom came across the recipe in the January 1975 issue of Family Circle, and my older sister’s birthday just happens to be in January. So, lucky for her, my mom made this luscious chocolate fudge cake for my sister Carolyn every year until she was 30 years old.
You would think that the rest of us kids would have been jealous, and put up a fuss about not getting “the cake” on our birthdays. Somehow though, we all got use to it, and it didn’t even matter to us 😆. We actually started calling it, “Carolyn’s Cake”.
Well, everything does come full circle, because I remember my mom made the cake for my deceased brother’s birthday in 1996 after she had stopped making it for my sister because they were both older now. It was now like this famous cake was evolving into “The Family’s Cake”.
After that, the cake rather disappeared until I asked my mom a few years ago if she could make it one more time for you (okay maybe for me, ha ha). She did in fact do that, and you can see the original recipe from the magazine, and my mom making the cake that day, here.
Keep in mind, the recipe I am sharing below is more specific than the original which didn’t include the exact ounces of chocolate (I don’t think there were many choices back then of unsweetened “squares” so ounces weren’t required).
My Changes & Tips for Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe
When I decided to make the cake for the first time by myself last week, I followed the recipe below to a “T”. If you have any questions, please just ask me in the comments and I will get back to as soon as I see your question.
The only significant change I made from the original recipe was adding more frosting. I found the original recipe didn’t give me enough to cover the cake, and I was having a hard time stretching it out. I ended up adding another 1/2 of a batch of frosting to the recipe. It’s all included below, so no changes are necessary on your part. You may end up with a a little left over, but that’s not a bad thing 😉.
As far as tips, the most important one I can think of is the baking time. I ended up adding 10 minutes onto the baking time because after 35 minutes, my testing tooth pick came out full of batter. So, make sure your tooth pick comes out completely dry after testing the middle of the cake. A good place to start is at 35 minutes.
My next tip is for the frosting. My frosting got a little too cold in the ice bath, so it made it more of a challenge to frost the cake. The thick frosting was actually “pulling” the cake apart. If this happens, let the frosting warm up a little either by just waiting it out, or dipping the bowl into a warm bath instead. A good rule of thumb, is to try to get it into a fluffy mayonnaise consistency, or think about how the canned frostings are. That’s what you want.
Lastly, I better tell you how fantastic this cake is cold 🥶 . After you frost your cake it can sit out on the counter for up to 24 hours. After you cut it, I recommend using wax paper to gently protect the cake. Of course a cake plate with a cover is always nice. After 24 hours get it into the fridge and trust me, when you go for your second piece you are going to love it cold!
Don’t forget the milk.
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 2-1/4 C. all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2-teaspoon salt
- 1/2- C. (1 stick) butter
- 2-1/4 firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 teas. vanilla
- 1 C. sour cream
- 1 C. boiling water
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 3/4 C. (1 + 1/2 stick) butter
- 5 1/4 C. confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 C. milk
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate Fudge Cake:
1. Melt chocolate in small bowl over hot, not boiling water- cool.
2. Grease (solid Crisco) and flour two 9×1-1/2 inch cake pans; tap off excess flour.
3. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt onto wax paper.
4. Beat butter until soft in large bowl, or mixer. Add brown sugar and eggs; beat with mixer at high speed until light and fluffy-5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cooled chocolate.
5. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition until batter is smooth. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour at once in prepared pans.
6. Bake in moderate oven (350*) for 35-45 minutes or until centers spring back when lightly pressed with fingertip. Check with tooth pick.
7. Cool layers in pans 10 minutes, use knife to loosen then take out of pan to cool on rack.
8. Make frosting (below). Put one cake layer on a serving plate, spread with 1/4 frosting. Add second layer of cake and spread remaining on top and sides.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
1. Combine chocolate and butter in small heavy saucepan. Place over low heat, just until melted. Remove from heat.
2. Combine sugar, milk, and vanilla in medium size bowl. Stir until smooth; add chocolate mixture. Set bowl in a pan of ice and water, beat with a wooden spoon until frosting is thick enough to spread and hold it’s shape.
3. Frost the cake.