Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake – A Birthday Wish

Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake

It’s my birthday and I’ll eat cake for breakfast if I want to! I figured that since it was my birthday, I would make whatever I wanted. Perfectly reasonable. I briefly toyed with broccoli recipes but settled on Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake instead. (Just kidding! I always want chocolate cake with chocolate icing for my birthday!)

The recipe for both the Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake and the most chocolaty chocolate icing that I have ever had come from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts. She is a woman after my own chocolate-loving heart. I was practically giddy while trying to decide which of her 12 chocolate cake recipes to make. I vow to make them all at some point. Yes, all twelve.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge CakeI chose this particular chocolate cake for numerous reasons: it has “fudge” in the name; Maida says it is so easy she gave it to an 11 year old; it calls for white vinegar, the addition of which I found intriguing; Maida calls it “Old Fashioned” and I trust her implicitly; and most importantly, there is more unsweetened baking chocolate in this whole recipe than in any other I have found!

This Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake with whipped chocolate icing will make any chocolate-loving birthday girl (or boy!) smile from ear to ear. The cake is moist and has the perfect amount of chocolate when paired with the incredibly rich chocolate frosting.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge CakeLater this morning my fiancé and I are headed to Philadelphia for my little brother’s college graduation, so I made a petite version of the layer cake to be eaten immediately. The remaining batter I made into cupcakes to be frozen and enjoyed at a later date!


Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake – A Birthday Wish

Yield: Serves 12-16

An easy recipe for a fudgy, rich chocolate cake with a decadent chocolate icing!


    For The Old Fashioned Fudge Cake
  • 3 ounces (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1-¾ cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs (graded large or extra-large)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-½ teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup milk (please, please, please make it whole. It makes a difference)
  • For the Whipped Chocolate Icing
  • 6 ounces (6 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted, sweet cream butter
  • 2 ¼ cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 eggs (graded large or extra large)
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


    Bake the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch round layer-cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit, butter the paper, dust with flour, then lightly tap the pans to remove the excess flour. [Note: to cut parchment paper to fit any pan, place the pan right-side-up on top of a sheet of parchment. Trace the outline with a pencil and then cut out the desired shape. Voila!]
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water with the stove on moderate heat. Cover until partially melted then remove from heat and stir until all chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In the large bowl of a standing mixer [you may also use a hand mixer] cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until mixed well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vinegar. Fortunately Maida makes a point of telling us that the mixture will look curdled and that is “O.K.”, because if she hadn’t, I would be totally freaking out at this point. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.
  4. On low speed add the sifted dry ingredients in three additions alternately with milk beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the bowl and beat only until smooth after each addition.
  5. Place half the mixture in each pan and smooth the tops. Bake for 30- 45 minutes until the layers begin to come away from the sides of the pan and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip. The bamboo skewer test doesn’t really work here. I tried it and my cake was slightly overcooked. Still moist though!
  6. Remove from the oven and cut around the edges to free the cake from the pan. Let the layers stand for 5 minutes in the pans. Cover each layer with a rack , invert, remove the pan, peel off the paper lining, cover with another rack and invert again. Cool right side up.
  7. Make the Icing & Frost:
  8. Place chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over moderate heat and cover until partially melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted.
  9. Place all remaining ingredients in a small metal bowl. Beat briefly just until mixed. Fill a larger bowl partially with ice water and nest the small bowl inside. Add the melted chocolate and butter and beat until the mixture thickens slightly. Keeping the small bowl on ice, stir the chocolate icing with a rubber spatula until the icing is the consistency of “thick mayonnaise”. Her words, not mine.
  10. Spread a light coating on the bottom layer. Align the top layer on the bottom and continue icing the rest of the cake.
  11. Follow directions in my fiancé’s birthday post for [icing instructionshttp://americanheritagecooking.com/2013/05/yellow-cupcakes-with-chocolate-frosting/].


Both cake and icing recipes are from Maida Haetter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts ed. 1981 That is a homemade marzipan rose atop my cake. I heart marzipan. It is one of my favorite things! I know it isn’t the prettiest marzipan rose, but it’s my birthday and my first one, so cut me some slack.


Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake

Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge CakeCut yourself a healthy slice because it will be gone before you know it! Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Cake



    • AmericanCooking22 says

      I can see how you could have an entire blog devoted to Maida…she has so many amazing recipes. It was really hard to pick just one chocolate cake. You should really try this icing. It to die for!

  1. Rosie says

    I believe you forgot to mention the amount of sugar required for this recipe…I am looking forward to making this, sounds delicious!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      I absolutely did, Rosie. I am so sorry! It calls for 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. I’ll update the recipe right now and I’ll make it printable too 🙂

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      I have never tried, Amy, which is shocking considering how many cupcake recipes I have! I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! Just start checking them for doneness after 10 minutes. 8 if you want to play it safe! In my experience a typical cake recipe will make 24 cupcakes but that is a rough guess. Let me know if you try!

      • Julia says

        Despite having zero culinary aptitude, my husband and I made cupcakes using this recipe. We started checking them at 9 minutes but wound up baking them closer to 12-15. DELICIOUS!

  2. Allison says

    So my mom and I have been making this recipe since I was a little girl. My mom has the original book… It’s so old the pages are brown! This cake is amazing and so worth the effort! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a really good chocolate cake.

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