Monday, November 14, 2011

My Best Chocolate Cake

“It’s your second-best cake,” Beth corrected.

“It is NOT! You don’t know,” I argued. “You’ve never even tried this one before.”

“I don’t need to try it to know. I know the other one is the best,” Beth snipped back.

It is NOT. She doesn’t KNOW. This one is the richest and fudgiest. I modified the old Walker Museum Gallery 8 cookbook recipe for Wellesley Fudge Cake.

Wellesley Fudge Cake

Cake part:
½ c butter, softened
2 c minus 2 T sugar
4 egg yolks
1 c flour
1 c cocoa
4 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 c milk
2 t vanilla
4 egg whites

Frosting part:
12 oz chocolate chips
¾ c sour cream
1 t vanilla
1 pinch salt

First, do your mise en place for the cake:
  • Preheat the oven to 325°.
  • It is easiest to use an electric mixer for this recipe. Haul yours out.
  • Grease, line with parchment paper, and flour three 9-inch layer pans.
  • Separate your eggs. Be careful not to get any yolk in the whites. Put the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a medium to large bowl.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together into a bowl.
  • Put the milk and vanilla together in a measuring cup or some other vessel. I dunno, maybe a bowl.
Now you’re ready to roll.

In yet another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks.

Mix in ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Then stir in ½ the milk mixture, followed by more dry stuff, more milk, and the last of the dry stuff.

Wash the beaters; any trace of fat will prevent the next step from coming true. With clean beaters, beat the egg whites to the soft peak stage. (Fat prevents egg whites from whipping up. I don’t know why. It’s probably just hatefulness.)

Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the batter, then the next ⅓, then the final part. This helps the egg whites stay fluffy and gives your cake batter the best shot at high volume.

Spread the batter into the three pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out mostly clean. Cool in the pans on racks for 10 minutes, then invert and peel off the parchment. Cool some more.

While the cake bakes, make the frosting:

Melt the chocolate chips in a heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Stir in the sour cream. Stir in the salt and vanilla.

Frost your cake with the warm frosting. The frosting will firm up as it cools, producing a cake that resembles a fudge-walled fortress.


  1. Yum. I know I will never make this, because I would eat it all in one sitting and get sick and have to take a break from chocolate. But it is somehow reassuring to know that this cake exists.

  2. At first I was like, wait. THREE pans? That's one more than I have. I would have to, like, BUY another pan.

    But then I got to the part where the frosting was made out of sour cream, and now I'm going to Amazon to buy a third pan, because obviously any frosting made with sour cream is totally worth it.

  3. Jive Momma, maybe you could bake the cake with a witness in the room so that you would have to split the cake with them. And you could make a half recipe so at worst you each only ate, like, a quarter of a three-layer cake. Which is only two or three pieces of cake. ?!

    Kerry, you're gonna love having three pans. It is so fun. It gives you the POWER! to make OUTLANDISHLY LARGE! cakes. Besides, with three layers, you get to put filling in TWICE!

  4. Maybe a dumb question, but when instructed to grease, paper and flour the pans, do you really do it in that order? And are there big dents on the cake from where some of the paper was folded in a funny way?

  5. Oh, no, I think that's a really GOOD question.

    The instruction would've made more sense if I'd told you that when you line a pan with paper, you only line the bottom. You cut out a circle the same size as your pan. You don't have to be exact; a little bigger or smaller will be OK.

    Then grease the pan; press in the paper so it sticks to the pan; grease the paper, too, if you want to be really thorough; and then dust the whole of it with flour.

    When the cake comes out, you cool it in the pan for 5-10 minutes, turn it out, and peel off the paper while the cake is still hot. No dents! Keeps the cake from sticking and makes a perfectly flat cake surface.


Thanks for your comments - nothing scatological, please. If you wouldn't bring it in the kitchen, please don't say it here.