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Monday, August 8, 2011

Audrey's Chocolate Cake

This cake... let me tell you something about this cake. You have never tasted chocolate cake until you have tasted this chocolate cake. In my family, there is no other cake. Ever. Every birthday, every Valentine's day, every special event that called for a cake while I was growing up, was celebrated with this cake. It's that good. It is so chocolaty and moist, there is absolutely no compare.

Imagine my surprise the other day when my mom informed me that she was surprised this cake wasn't already on here. What do you mean it isn't on there? I asked. Of course it is. But it wasn't. I guess this recipe is so ingrained in my life, it never occurred to me that I had never actually posted it.

Well, let me correct that error right this second.

As you might imagine, my family's had this recipe for a long time (I'm no spring chicken, you know). My family is from Pennsylvania Dutch country, near Hershey, which makes sense since I'm pretty sure this recipe is an adaptation of Hershey's chocolate cake recipe. Audrey is my aunt and I guess my mom got the recipe from her since it's her name that's been attached to this recipe for as far back as I can remember; I have no idea where she got the recipe. I suppose it's fairly irrelevant at this point. All I know is that this is the best chocolate cake ever. Oh wait, I said that already.

The first step is to sift together the dry ingredients. I'm not normally a stickler for this kind of thing, but cocoa powder can be lumpy.

Then mix together the wet ingredients. Brew a cup of black coffee and have it on stand by. Add the milk and egg mixture to the flour and cocoa mixture first and then add the coffee last.

This batter will be exceptionally thin. I guess that's what makes for such a moist cake.

Pour the batter into two greased and parchment lined (cut to fit the bottom of the pan to help the cake come out cleanly) 9" cake rounds. If you prefer not to make a layer cake, simply pour into a 9" x 9" square pan with 3 " sides. Bake at 350 degrees for around 35-40 minutes for 9" rounds, closer to 50 minutes for the 9x9x3 cake. Bake until a tester in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.

I like this best as a layer cake with frosting, but it is plenty good all by its little lonesome (that's how my mom usually serves it). Be sure to have a glass of milk or a cup of coffee on hand for this one; you're gonna need it!

Audrey's Chocolate Cake
Yield: one 2-layer 9" round cake or one 9"x9"x3" square cake

Sift together:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa powder (do not use Dutch processed cocoa)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup black coffee

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Sift together the first batch of ingredients. Mix together the second batch of ingredients in a separate, smaller bowl. Add the wet to the dry and mix thoroughly. Lastly, add the coffee. The batter will be very thin.

Pour the batter into two prepared 9" cake rounds. Grease and place a cut-to-fit piece of parchment in the bottom of the pans. Or, you can bake the cake in one 9"x9"x3" pan. Bake 35-40 minutes for 9" rounds or 45-50 minutes for a 9"x9"x3" cake, or until a tester placed in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan and frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
Yield: enough to frost one 9" 2-layer cake

3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
8 TBS milk

Sift together the cocoa powder and sugar. Stir in the butter carefully, lest you end up with a cocoa/sugar cloud. Add milk. When evenly moist, whip with a mixer until smooth.


  1. Ooh, this looks delicious! I love the Hershey Chocolate Cake recipe, so any adaptation of that is automatically awesome.

  2. I Have tried this receipe, it is delicious...

  3. I really love the cake, it looks so delicious. Yummy! I hope I know how to bake so I could try this one, but I’m working on it now with my mom’s assistant.

  4. Ok I had to pop over from the vanilla cake post....this one looks so good too!

  5. how would i calculate this into making a 12x3 and a 10x3 cake?? i am not sure how much batter i need to fill those pans and how to calculate it

  6. making this today!

  7. Sounds yummy! The only problem is that I don't like the taste of coffee! How can I adapt this recipe with no added coffee? What can I add in its place instead? Any suggestions?

    1. Boy, am I ever behind on my comments! I'm so sorry for not replying in a timely fashion. If you are really opposed to coffee, you can simply use hot water, but I absolutely despise coffee (I mean, I really, really, really, really hate the stuff) and I love this cake. I would give it go with the coffee and see what you think. You might be surprised!

  8. I made this cake for my sons 6th birthday and my goodness was it delicious!!!! I got compliments all day everyone thought it was the best cake they had ever had.I will definitely be making this again

  9. This cake is delicious and so fluffy. However, one thing I have run into is that the cake sinks during cooking. This is the first time I have encountered any trouble with your mouth watering recipes. (I especially love your cinnamon rolls.)

    The first time I made this recipe I put it in two 9 in. round pans. After checking that I had measured all ingredients accurately, I checked my ingredients and found that my baking soda had expired so I thought that might have been the problem. The second time I made sure no ingredient was expired and to carefully measure all ingredients. This time I made it in a 9x13 pan as I was planning on using it for my fathers birthday (and he doesn't care how things look so I figured even if it did sink again, he wouldn't mind if I carved it up to even things out. He loved it.) and it sank again.

    This is obviously (to me, anyway) a problem of the levening agents, but I am not familiar enough with the science of recipe construction or levening so know what I need to do in this situation. Any advice? This is a wonderful tasting cake and very moist and fluffy and I would love to have a version of this that didn't sink.

    1. Hi Sarah, I'm so sorry you're having trouble with this cake! It makes me sad because this is the most amazing cake, and it's a shame that it hasn't worked well for you. First, I need to admit that I have never had the cake sink in the middle. My biggest question is this: does the center never rise or does it sink after you pull it out? I'm going to assume it's the latter. If it's the former, I'd have to think harder about possible solutions. ;-) Based on what I know about cakes, the only thing that I think of to suggest is looking at the bake time/temperature. If the cake is not fully cooked when removed from the oven, it will sink when it cools. Are you pulling it out based on time or using a cake tester? If your oven is too cool or too hot, it may cause the cake to look done on the outside before it is really ready to come out of the oven. Using a cake tester is imperative for this cake and you want the tester to absolutely come out clean and it should feel like the tester is hitting a slight bit of resistance. Because this cake has so much liquid in it, it needs to be fully, fully baked before it comes out of the oven. I hope this helps. If you have follow up questions or the cake is never rising in the middle, let me know, I will do my best to help!

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  11. I made this cake for a retirement home at a Christmas party and of the 40 something deserts on the table it was the first one gone. Love it.


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