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Chocolate Birthday Cake

January 6, 2010

I made my “go-to” chocolate cake for Carrie’s birthday dinner. I use the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa box. Joan said she remembers Mom making this cake, so I guess you could call it the Wright family recipe.

It’s not a fussy cake–it’s very easy to make. It calls for boiling water. I don’t know why it has to be boiling water, but that’s what I use. The cake is always extremely moist.

It would make excellent cupcakes, too! (Fill paper cupcake cups 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Makes about 30 cupcakes.)

I enjoyed the last small piece for breakfast this morning!

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

(printable recipe)

(Cake and frosting recipes adapted from the ones on the Hershey’s cocoa box)


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 c. flour (210 grams) (I use King Arthur All Purpose)
3/4 c. cocoa (not Dutch processed)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil (I use light olive oil)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. boiling water


Heat the oven to 350˚. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans. (Or spray them with Pam Baking Spray, which is what I did.)

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. (I weighed the flour, instead of measuring it. 1 ¾ cups of flour weighs 210 grams.) Sifting the cocoa through a mesh strainer into the bowl helps to eliminate lumps.

Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the boiling water. The batter will be very thin. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and put them in the oven. The recipe says to bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. I don’t know if it’s my pans or my oven, but it always takes 40 minutes for me. When the cake is done, cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and finish cooling on wire racks.

When completely cool, frost with chocolate frosting.


Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting


1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
2/3 c. cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla


Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Pour the butter into the mixing bowl. Sift the cocoa through a mesh strainer into the bowl. Mix well. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, mixing well after each addition. Add more milk if needed. Mix in the vanilla.



Rose Levy Beranbaum is an expert on cakes. She is the author of The Cake Bible and her new and highly acclaimed Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. Chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau had an interesting interview with her on last Saturday’s “In the Kitchen with Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau”. (The show is now called Seattle Kitchen.) She said that you really must use bleached white flour for cakes! I had never heard that before. She said unbleached is perfect for breads, but bleached gives a more tender crumb for cakes. Perhaps I’ll have to try using bleached flour (which I haven’t purchased since who knows when) for my next cake.



Newsflash on bleached vs. unbleached flour!

The March/April 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated reports that King Arthur Flour has introduced an unbleached cake flour that performs just as well as bleached flour. And it doesn’t have the slightly chemical taste of the bleached flours.  Sounds like a winner!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Joan permalink
    January 6, 2010 5:54 pm

    I want some more!!! NOW!

  2. January 6, 2010 8:08 pm

    I know! Me, too! But I’m in my post-holiday cut-out-the-sweets mode.

  3. Byron permalink
    January 7, 2010 3:23 pm

    Kath, I refuse to believe that you got this recipe from the back of the Hershey’s box! It’s way too good! I’m convinced that you’ve added some kind of magic…

  4. January 7, 2010 3:55 pm

    haha, Byron! Thank you! 🙂

  5. October 20, 2010 10:38 am

    My friend asked me to bake him a decadent chocolate cake this weekend. Thanks for the idea! 🙂


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