Dive into this dark, dense, rich, and moist Double Chocolate Cake that is covered with creamy smooth Old Fashion Chocolate Fudge Frosting. The first bite will take you back to when the simple things in life made you grin from ear to ear. This “show-stopping” decadent dessert is for any day of the week. You don’t need a special occasion to treat your friends, family, or yourself to a big slice of Double Chocolate Cake and a big glass of ice-cold milk.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from Aunt Irene’s “Red Devil’s Food Cake” with frosting (page 80) by way of Aunt Carol Jean’s “My Cookbook” a collection of family recipes handed down through the years. Aunt Carol Jean lovingly gathered and put together a cookbook of old family recipes from handwritten scraps of paper, backs of envelopes, note cards, and thorough note-taking over the phone.
“Cooking with my family connects the past, present, and future. This cookbook is dedicated to my family and friends. They have blessed me with a lifetime of love, joy, and recipes filled with memories” ~ Aunt Carol Jean Knight
I love finding older recipes that use ingredients that are commonly found in the traditional larders of the past. Ingredients like butter, all-purpose flour, Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, sour milk (buttermilk), eggs, baking soda, and granulated sugar. These ingredients were economical to purchase in bulk and they would keep for an extended period of time. No need to purchase special ingredients like Cake Flour or Powder Sugar. Because people kept these ingredients on hand they could quickly be combined in one bowl or saucepan to create a delicious treat for dessert, unexpected guest, or for that special occasion.
“Everyone looked forward to my dad’s oldest sister’s “baked goods.” Aunt Irene was famous at church bake sales for her Peanut Squares. For her nieces and nephew, she baked Cowboy Cookies. And for family reunions, she baked her “show-stopping” Red Devil’s Food Cake. ~ Aunt Carol Jean Knight
It was the simplicity of the recipe for the Red Devil’s Food Cake and the frosting that intrigued me. I could tell by reading the cake recipe it would not be extremely sweet. The recipe called for blending the natural cocoa powder (Hershey’s Cocoa Powder) and baking soda with warm water. This reduces the acidic nature of the cocoa powder, tames the flavor of the baking soda, and also releases the excess CO2 from the cocoa powder before being blended with the other ingredient and baked.
The recipe and cooking process for the Chocolate Fudge Frosting is really special. It is an Old Fashion Cooked Frosting which uses Granulated Sugar rather than Icing Sugar/Powder Sugar to sweeten it. The end result is a frosting that is thick, smooth, and creamy in texture. A cross between dense chocolate pudding and fudge. I don’t know why this style of frosting fell out of favor for powdered sugar frostings, but I’m here to say this type of frosting is much better.
Playing with my food: I made the recipes as they were written by Aunt Irene and it produced a really delicious cake and creamy frosting but I wanted more chocolate flavor in both recipes. Through multiple test batches, I found the keys to the best flavor and texture for each recipe. For the cake batter, I added more cocoa powder, increased the butter and buttermilk, decreased the flour, and added 5 oz. (141 g.) finely chopped 70% chocolate making it a Double Chocolate Cake. The cooked frosting saw an increase of ingredients across the board for added flavor with the extra addition of cocoa powder and an increase of butter from 2 Tablespoons to 1-½ cups for creaminess and richness and finally, the addition of sea salt to balance the sweetness and to bring out the chocolate flavor.
The simplicity of Mixing: The Double Chocolate Cake recipe is designed to be mixed by hand in one bowl, but an electric hand mixer can be used if so desired. Mix on low speed to first incorporate the ingredients and then on medium-high to beat well. The Chocolate Fudge Frosting is mixed, cooked, and cooled in one saucepan. The butter is added in 4 additions to the warm cooked frosting and then beaten in until smooth. Whisking after the last addition of butter makes for a smooth and glossy frosting. Once cooled completely the Chocolate Fudge Frosting becomes very thick and dark. The frosting is beaten one last time before being slathered all over the cake layers.
As with all baking recipes I recommend you weigh the ingredients for the Double Chocolate Cake and Old Fashion Chocolate Fudge Frosting. Weighing ensures you have a consistent recipe each and every time. As a baker, we are always striving to remove any variables from the process of baking.
The full instructional video for Double Chocolate Cake with Old Fashion Chocolate Fudge Frosting is at the bottom of this blog post. Follow this link to “LIKE” and “SUBSCRIBE” to my YouTube Channel “Just One Bite, Please?”
- Mixing Bowls
- Heat Proof Rubber Spatula
- Measuring Cups & Spoons/Electronic Baking Scale
- Double Mesh Sifter
- Non-Stick Spray
- 2″ x 9-inch (23 cm) Cake Pans (non-stick)
- 2 – 9-inch (23 cm) Parchment Cake Rounds
- 2 – 10-inch (25 cm) Cake Boards (greaseproof)
Preheat the oven to 325℉ (163℃) 30 minutes before baking the Double Chocolate Cake layers.
Double Chocolate Cake
- Measured Grams Ingredients
- 2/3 cup 60 g. Natural Cocoa Powder (100% Cocoa)
- 2 tsp. 12 g. Baking Soda
- ½ cup 113 g. Water (warm)
- 1 cup 226 g. Butter (unsalted, room temperature)
- 1-¾ cup 360 g. Granulated Sugar
- 3 each 3 each Eggs (large, room temperature)
- 1 tsp. 4 g. Vanilla Extract (pure)
- ½ tsp. 4 g. Sea Salt (fine)
- 2-¼ cups 305 g. All-Purpose Flour (unbleached, unbromated)
- 1-½ cups 386 g. Buttermilk (room temperature)
- 1 cup 141 g. 70% Chocolate (chopped fine)
Mixing the Double Chocolate Cake batter:
- Lightly spray the interior of the cake pans with non-stick spray and place the parchment rounds into the bottom of the pan. Set aside until needed.
- Place the sifter over the mixing bowl and add the cocoa powder and baking soda. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl. Use the rubber spatula to force through the sifter if necessary.
- Add the warm water to the bowl and mix with the rubber spatula to blend the ingredients. Mix the cocoa mixture until it is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the butter to the bowl and beat it into the cocoa mixture until well combined.
- Add the granulated sugar, sea salt, and vanilla to the bowl. Beat the ingredients together until well combined.
- Add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time, and beat the batter until well combined after adding each egg.
- Sift the all-purpose flour into the bowl, add the finely chopped chocolate and fold the ingredients together until well combined. Beat the batter with the rubber spatula until smooth.
- Add the buttermilk to the cake batter and gently fold together until the batter is well blended. Beat the cake batter with the rubber spatula until smooth.
- Evenly pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and smooth out.
- Place the cake layers into the preheated oven.
- Bake the cake layers at 325℉ (163℃) for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. The cake will have retracted from the cake pan slightly also.
- Remove the cake layer from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Cool the cake layers for 10 minutes before turning them onto 10-inch cake boards.
- After 10 minutes turn the cakes onto the 10-inch cake boards and return to the cooling rack. Cool the cake layers completely to room temperature.
Equipment: (Available from Amazon)
Old Fashion Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- Measured Grams Ingredients
- 1-½ cups 315 g. Granulated Sugar
- 6 Tbsp. 60 g. All-Purpose Flour (unbleached, unbromated)
- ½ cup 52 g. Cocoa Powder (100% Cocoa)
- ½ tsp. 4 g. Sea Salt (fine)
- 1-½ cups 340 g. Milk (whole)
- 1-½ tsp. 4 g. Vanilla Extract (pure)
- ¼ cup 57 g. Unsweetened Chocolate (100% chocolate)
- 1-½ cups 339 g. Butter (unsalted, cold cut into chunks)
Mixing and Cooking the Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
- Place a sifter over the saucepan and add the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and sea salt to the sifter.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the saucepan to remove any lumps.
- Add the milk and stir to combine.
- Place the saucepan onto medium heat and stir constantly with the rubber spatula until the mixture comes to a complete boil.
- Boil the mixture for 3 minutes stirring constantly while scraping the bottom of the saucepan. The mixture will become very thick.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the unsweetened chocolate pieces. Stir the chocolate mixture until the unsweetened chocolate melts completely.
- Add the vanilla and stir to incorporate.
- Add the butter in 4 batches beating the Chocolate Fudge Frosting after each addition.
- Finish by whisking the frosting until smooth.
- Let the frosting cool completely to room temperature before frosting the cake. The frosting will continue to thicken as it cools.
Equipment: (Available from Amazon)
Frosting the cake:
- Double Chocolate Cake Layers
- Old Fashion Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- Beat the cooled Chocolate Fudge Frosting using a rubber spatula until creamy. Note: The frosting should have the consistency of peanut butter.
- Remove the parchment paper from the cake layers.
- Place a cake layer on the cardboard cake round onto the cake turntable.
- Add about 1-¼ cups of the frosting to the bottom cake layer and spread evenly over the cake layer using the large offset spatula.
- Place the second layer of cake onto the frosted first layer and center the top layer over the bottom and gently press together.
- Add about 1-¼ cups of frosting to the top of the cake and spread evenly to the edge of the top cake layer using the large offset spatula.
- Use the large offset spatula to add frosting to the sides of the cake. Turn the cake and spread the frosting evenly as you apply it.
- Use the bench knife to remove any excess frosting from the cake board.
- Smooth the frosting on the sides of the cake using the bench knife and while slowly turning the cake turntable.
- Smooth the top of the cake using the large offset spatula.
- Use a small offset spatula to create a decorative spiral pattern on the top of the cake by turning the cake and lightly pressing the tip of the small offset spatula from the edge to the center of the cake.
- Let the cake rest at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
- To serve: Use a serrated knife that has been dipped into hot water and dried on a kitchen towel to cut the cake cleanly.
Note: The Frosted Double Chocolate Cake will keep for 5 days if covered with plastic wrap or a cake cover. The cake can be frozen if double wrapped in plastic wrap. Thaw to room temperature before serving and enjoying.