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Delicate Chocolate Cake

"A special friend gave me this recipe more than 20 years ago," recalls Annette Foster of Taylors, SOuth Carolina. "The cake has a light cocoa flavor, and the frosting is rich. Because you frost and serve just half the cake, you can use the remainder to make other scrumptious desserts later in the week."
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1 two-layer cake (6-8 servings) plus 2 plain cake portions


  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • FROSTING (for the layer cake):
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa and water until smooth; add the oil and butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar; gradually add cocoa mixture, beating well. Add buttermilk and eggs; mix well. Pour into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan.
  • Bake at 350° for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut cake into four 7-1/2x5-in. rectangles. Wrap two of the rectangles separately in foil; refrigerate or freeze. Set the other two rectangles aside.
  • For frosting, combine the butter, cocoa and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute (the mixture will appear curdled). Pour into a large bowl. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until frosting achieves spreading consistency. Frost the top of one cake rectangle; top with the second rectangle. Frost top and sides of cake.
Editor's Note: As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to equal 1 cup.
Editor's Note
As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.

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  • beckpettit
    Jan 9, 2014

    Made this cake for New Year's Eve and everyone loved it. Will definetly make it again!

  • afreeman00
    May 3, 2013

    I was excited to try this cake because of the simplcity of the recipe. What a disappointment! The cake did not have much flavor, and the icing was sickeningly sweet - and also lacked flavor.Crossing this recipe out of my cookbook, yuck. Will not make this again.

  • SandyBelle695
    Nov 11, 2011

    One of the best, if not the best, chocolate cakes I have ever made. Delicious!!!

  • alshissler
    May 4, 2011

    I decided to try this so I could give half to my parents and half to my boyfriend. When I tried to remove the 4 "layers" from the pan, 2 fell apart and had to be pitched. I managed to salvage the other 2 but after icing them I tried the icing and found it to be sickeningly sweet and not very chocolaty. I ended up throwing it out too. Very disappointing. I don't know what went wrong. :(

  • taffin
    Apr 7, 2011

    I love that the leftover recipe is given. This is my favorite chocolate cake.

  • ngreat0423
    Oct 16, 2010

    this cake is easy to make but I will not make it again. The cake itself tastes like a diet chocolate cake and it's more like brownie than cake. The frosting tasted like pure granulated sugar and a not so good cocoa taste to it. Will be throwing the recipe OUT!!

  • micheleclow
    Feb 13, 2010

    It's not worth the effort. There are too many great chocolate cakes that are soooooo much easier to make.

  • Kimberlie769
    Aug 13, 2009

    YAY!!! This looks just like MOMS recipe that I can never reproduce, maybe I will have better luck. I am gonna go make it RIGHT NOW!!! WOO WOO!!!