Perfect Chocolate Cake

Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 20 servings

"I found the basis for this recipe in the early 1970's in what we called a 'women's magazine' at the time. I have baked it many, many times since, and it always gets raves. I have made small changes in the original."—Mifflin Hollyday. Make the frosting the day before you plan to bake the layers and assemble the cake.


1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1/2cup light cream or half-and-half
1cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/2cups powdered sugar, sifted
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1cup cocoa
2cups boiling water
2 3/4cups all-purpose flour
2teaspoons soda
1/2teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon baking powder
1cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/2cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
2cups heavy cream
1/2cup powdered sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine chocolate chips, butter and cream in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until chocolate melts. Stir until well blended. Beat in sugar with a whisk.  Add vanilla.  Frosting will be very loose. Scrape into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator several hours before you plan to assemble the cake so that the frosting can reach spreading consistency.
  2. To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans.
  3. Combine cocoa and boiling water. Whisk until smooth. Let cool.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
  5. Place butter in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium-high speed until creamy. Add sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until light.
  6. Add flour mixture alternatively with cocoa mixture, beating at low speed and beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Do not overbeat.
  7. Divide evenly among the 3 pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until cakes test done. Let cool in pans 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. When completely cool, make filling.
  8. To make filling, beat cream until almost firm. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla.  Whipped cream should be quite firm.
  9. To assemble, place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread half the filling on top. Top with second layer. Spread remaining filling on top. Top with third layer. Spread frosting on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Testers’ notes: Perfect in every way: visually, taste, and texture.

Recipe by Mifflin Hollyday.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 560
  • Fat 34g
  • Cholesterol 130mg
  • Sodium 349mg
  • Carbohydrate 65g
  • Fiber 2g
  • Protein 5g