My Family’s Favorite Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake-pink frosting 004Deep Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Frosting

If she’s lucky, every grandmother has that one recipe her grandchildren love. For me, it is this delicious, moist chocolate cake recipe passed down from a home economics teacher – back when my grands were just a “twinkle in my eye.”

When you read the recipe, don’t think I’ve made a mistake. It is a strange one. There is only one egg in it. Stranger yet, you add a cup of boiling water to the ingredients. Honest – it works. The cake is incredibly moist. Often, chocolate cake recipes produce a dry cake. Not this one!

The cake shown here was iced with my strawberry frosting (see Dessert Recipes – Buttercream Frosting). But the request I most often receive includes chocolate frosting. Apparently, there is no such thing as too much chocolate….

My Family’s Favorite Chocolate Cake   chocolate hearts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 cup regular milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice added. Allow to stand 5 minutes)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 egg


In a mixer bowl, place flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Blend on low.

To dry ingredients, add 1 cup boiling water (add slowly on low speed). Then add vanilla.

In a separate bowl (or large measuring cup), mix together buttermilk, oil, and egg. Add to mixer. Beat on low speed to mix all ingredients well. It is best to scape the bowl well, especially along the bottom. Then mix again on medium speed until well blended. Batter will be thin.

Choice of pans: (grease and flour pans well)

13″ X 9-inch – bake 35-40 minutes

Two 9-inch pans – bake 30 minutes

*10-inch tube pan – bake 50-55 minutes

Test for doneness with a cake tester. The cake may seem a little moist, kind of like a brownie, but it is best not over-baked. Cool cake in pans for about 20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool.

*I’ve never made this cake in a tube pan. My crew likes that extra layer of frosting.

FUN FACTS About Chocolate: (Source:

The average American consumes more than 10 pounds of chocolate every year.

       choc. easter bunny
76% of Americans say the ears of the chocolate bunnies should be eaten first.
5% think chocolate feet of the bunnies should be eaten first.
4% think chocolate tails should go first.

(photo of chocolate hearts courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at

(photo of chocolate Easter bunny courtesy of Jeroen Van Oostrom at

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