Grandma's Chocolate Cake Recipe
Grandma's Chocolate Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Grandma's Chocolate Cake Recipe

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My grandma made this delicious cake for me throughout the years on my birthday. It's wonderful for chocolate lovers!—Dorothy Eagen, Allentown, Pennsylvania
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 40 min. + cooling
MAKES:12-16 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 40 min. + cooling
MAKES: 12-16 servings


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half-and-half cream

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 297 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate (37g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and hot water, beating well after each addition.
  2. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. For frosting, melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 240° (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat. Cool completely, without stirring, about 1 hour. Add vanilla; beat until thickened. Add cream; beat until smooth. Frost cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.
Editor's Note: We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
Originally published as Grandma's Chocolate Cake in Country February/March 2003, p49

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[email protected] User ID: 829313 124731
Reviewed Feb. 15, 2013

"My husband's brthday is Valentine's Day. He wanted a chocolate cake for his birthday. I made this and my whole family loved it. I thought the icing was runny, but after I put it in the fridge to cool quicker and used heavy cream instead of half and half and beat with my mixer, iced the cake and chilled until ready to eat, it turned out delicious. My husband loved the icing because it tasted like homemade fudge that I make him at Christmas."

jsouba User ID: 1788691 44620
Reviewed Feb. 22, 2012

"Very good, all turned out delicious, would make definately make again!"

BarbiVee User ID: 6261512 38558
Reviewed Nov. 7, 2011

"Though the frosting failed, the cake itself was very good. I ended up using a wonderful butter frosting from Paula Deen, my superhero of baking & go-to girl when I need a great recipe, which went very well with this cake recipe. I would give the cake 4 stars & the frosting that goes with this cake 1."

BarbiVee User ID: 6261512 124728
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2011

"I haven't tasted the cake yet so I can't review on that. This review is for the frosting. Extremely disappointed in it. After following instructions to the letter, the frosting turned out very gritty. Back to the drawing board, and off to search for a different frosting recipe."

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