Pat’s Chocolate Layer Cake

It’s a hot Sunday afternoon, and Fuzz and the kids from next door have been running back and forth from house to house. They jump on the trampoline here, then go next door and do the Slip & Slide. In between spurts of trampolining and Slip and Sliding, they play in the now carpet-free upstairs. This afternoon, they took some to sit and the kitchen table and help me judge whether or not today’s cake was any good. What good kids!

The cake is from a recipe in a cookbook put out by my grocery store. The recipe was submitted to the cookbook by a lady named Patricia from Llano, Texas. Patricia notes that she was trying to recreate the recipe as her mother made it. If the recipe looks familiar, it’s because it’s very similar to Hershey’s Perfect Chocolate Cake. This version is different in that it has 1/4 cup more sugar, 1/4 cup more flour and 1/4 cup more cocoa. It also uses half and half instead of milk, hot coffee instead of water and a tad more vanilla. Pat recommends Mexican vanilla, but don’t sweat it if you can’t find Mexican vanilla because the cake is just as good with Adam’s extract.

Now I’d have to eat the cakes side-by-side to say which version is better, but I’m giving Patricia’s version a thumbs up. It’s especially nice in that it doesn’t require an electric mixer. I made the cake with a bowl and mixing spoon.

The frosting is a different story, and will require an electric (hand held) mixer. I’ve included notes on that at the end of the recipe.

chocolate layer cake on plate.jpg

Pat’s Chocolate Layer Cake

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour, lightly spooned and swept — I used H.E.B. soft wheat flour for cakes and pastries
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 cup half & half
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot coffee (decaf is fine)
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Frosting (see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9 inch round baking pans with flour-added cooking spray or grease and flour using your favorite method.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, baking soda & baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Stir them well so that they are very thoroughly combined.

Stir in half & half, eggs and oil until very well mixed, then stir in coffee. Batter will be wet and soupy looking. Mine had little flecks in it, but they baked away.

Bake for 35 minutes or until cakes test done. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes, then flip from pan and cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Notes: Frosting is kind of a personal thing……like chili. I find it almost impossible to make frosting (or chili) without modifying whatever the original recipe is.
I was a in hurry this morning and used Hershey’s “Perfect Chocolate Frosting” but doctored it up with by melting together the following: 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, 1 oz cube unsweetened chocolate and 1 tablespoon of butter. I let the melted chocolate mixture cool, then whipped it into the frosting.

Also, if you use the Hershey’s frosting recipe in the link (doctored or not), note that the recipe calls for plain butter. If you use unsalted butter, you will need to add a few pinches of salt (taste as you go) to the icing or else it will taste flat.

And one final note. H.E.B. has its own line of store-brand flours, one of which is a lower gluten/soft wheat flour for cakes, cookies and pastries. They have this same recipe printed on the side of the bag. So if you’d like to get an idea of how the special flour works, give this recipe a try. Patricia’s recipe just calls for flour, so it is not necessary to use the special flour. If you don’t have an H.E.B. near you, you might try this with a national brand cake flour. If you do, let me know how it works out.

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  1. Jackie says


    The cake looks delicious.

    How are the new hardwood floors? Was it worth the few days of inconvenience? Did they do a nice job.

  2. says

    Hi Jackie,

    Yes, it was totally worth it. We have wood downstairs, but for the upstairs, we bought a laminate. It’s perfect for kids to romp on.

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