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Mom’s Chocolate Cake

by on November 28, 2010 · 14 comments

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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Published on November 28, 2010

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue November 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

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!

Lisa Ernst November 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm

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.

Karen November 28, 2010 at 1:20 pm

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

Katrina November 28, 2010 at 1:50 pm

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.

Katrina November 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Karen–the Food & Wine recipe credits Maida Heatter with the frosting recipe. I want to try it.

Esther November 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm

That looks like a very yummy cake. Where did you get the 8 inch cake pans though? I haven’t seen any in stores.

the blissful baker November 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm

mmm that cake looks so chocolatey and delicious! i love dense, moist cakes.

LimeCake November 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

what a lovely cake! your mom must’ve had a magnificent time surrounded by family and delicious cake!

jessielou November 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I need to try that icing technique! Did it keep just as well??

Anna November 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

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.

Louise November 29, 2010 at 10:35 am

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. :-)

jenna November 29, 2010 at 10:10 pm

great blog! can’t wait to read more!
come and check out mine. enjoy :)

Hekawi December 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

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?

Anna December 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm


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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