Mom’s Chocolate Cake

My mom’s birthday always falls near Thanksgiving which means our feast includes birthday cake.  This year, because the recipe caught my eye and because I was baking a cake for my mother, I chose to make Mom’s Chocolate Cake from the current issue of Food & Wine.  It’s by Marcia Kiesel who got it from her friend Joyce Cole.  Joyce Cole got it from her mother.

Chocolate Cake

Because I knew I’d be  busy on Thanksgiving Day,  I made the cake layers in advance, wrapped them in foil, froze them, then made the icing and assembled the cake on the day of our Thanksgiving/Birthday Celebration. The layers froze pretty well, and I do think the freezing process does something to make the cake more dense and moist. At any rate, we loved it.

The icing was especially good and was made using a technique I’d never tried. First, you dissolve the sugar in hot cream. Next, you add the unsweetened chocolate and butter and let it melt into the cream mixture. Instead of cooling or chilling and beating until creamy, you hold the bowl over a bowl of ice and beat until thick with a hand-held mixer.

So as far as “Mom’s Chocolate Cakes” go, this was a good one.  However, there are lots of Mom’s Chocolate Cakes out there.  I noticed Joanne Weir had one too, so maybe I should bake them all.

Here’s the recipe for Mom’s Chocolate Cake from Food & Wine

Mom's Chocolate Cake

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  1. says

    Mmmm! Your description makes that cake sound as good as it looks! I’ve never heard of dissolving sugar in warm cream for icing. Good idea!

  2. says

    Looks very good! I want to try the chocolate icing technique sometime. I agree that freezing the cake actually improves the texture. My favorite chocolate cake is from a place in Amelia Island called Gourmet Gourmet and they freeze the cake initially. It is very dense and moist, kind of in between a brownie and cake texture. Probably the type of batter contributes to that as well.

  3. Karen says

    Maida Heatter has a very similar frosting recipe, I have made it many times and it is very good. Your cake looks terrific!

  4. says

    Mmm. I don’t care about certain non-cake lovers here, looks good to me. Actually, if he HAD to have cake, it’d be chocolate/chocolate.

  5. says

    Jessie, the icing kept remarkably well. Usually I refrigerate cakes, but I kept this one on a counter under a cake dome. The icing tasted great for at least 4 days.

  6. Louise says

    The Chocolate Icing recipe is in “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts” published in 1980. It went with her County-Fair Chocolate Layer Cake. It’s a keeper. 🙂

  7. Hekawi says

    Esther asked about 8-inch cake pans — I got mine at Sur La Table. They are hard to find but I think the taller cake looks much more festive, don’t you?

  8. says


    Thanks for answering Esther’s question. Here in TX, 8 inch pans are pretty easy to find. You can get them at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Michael’s or just about any store that sells bakeware. They’re not very deep, though….maybe 2 inches? I know in other countries cake pans are much deeper.

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