Tuesday, July 20, 2010

big, fat chocolate cake

my little lydia, back in the day, helping dannell with her candles

A couple people have asked about the recipe for this cake. It's nothing I invented. I found it in a cookbook a long time ago--the Ideals Family Cookbook, from like 1974? I'm not that good at Roman Numerals in size 4 font.

Anyway, here it is:

Black Midnight Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup black coffee, warm or cold, whatever

Stir it up. Grease and generously flour two round pans. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for an hour or so and gently pluck layers from the pans. Run a spatula or pancake turner around the edges, lifting gently as you go. Turn the cake over toward your palm, gingerly lift the pan and look for stuck spots. Set the pan back down and gently try to loosen those spots with the pancake turner and try tipping it again. Perfection is NOT necessary, just get it out of the pan mostly intact.

Set the bottom layer on a tall fancy cake stand, and the other layer on the upside down pan to finish cooling. Cool completely before frosting. No warmth should be evident against your palm when you feel of it. If it's taking too long, put the layers in the fridge or the freezer for a little while.


l pkg cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 1/2 bags of powdered sugar
milk to spreadable consistency

Beat the cream cheese and butter with a splash of milk. Add 1 bag powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar from the second bag, alternating with splashes of milk until frosting is fairly stiff, but not unreasonably so. (When you lift the beater out, it forms a point, but is still creamy.)

Spread generously on cooled cake. If the frosting is too thin or the touch is not quite light enough, spreading will tear the cake itself, so put on plenty and smooth it around. (Yesterday I elbowed the cake accidentally while digging in the cupboard, and that was fun. I washed off my elbow and patched the spot with extra frosting. Nobody cared.)

Sprinkle. Light candles. Sing to the birthday person. Eat. A cake will serve 20 if cut in thin slices. If there are only six of you--wow. love, Val


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Best cake ever. The kind of cake that makes you dread eating any other.

    Poor Dan, I still laugh when I think of his first birthday with my family, he requested chocolate cake, and my mom made him a bizarre and very dry chocolate zuchini cake. He was like, "What is this? This is NOT chocolate cake." For some reason she has to make sure she somehow gets vegetables in everything she serves. ;) I'm totally making this cake for her birthday next week. Show her how it's done.

  2. Aww, sneaking vegetables into cake. She's so much better than I am about nutrients. That didn't hurt Dan in the least, lol.

    Yeah, make this for her next week and tell her I didn't get my fat little arms by eating zucchini.

    Hey--I am down six pounds from last week. Another ten I'll be very pleased, fifteen I'd be delighted and done--waist trim, arms improved. Think I can do it? (I can if I stick with it. Ugh, that's the hard part, keeping the motivation going.)

    love you so, V