Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birthday Cake Heaven

Monday was my sister in law, Heidi's birthday and we celebrated with chocolate cake (really, is there any other way???). This is the cake she requested after I made the same one for her last year. I am realizing that I might be getting in trouble posting this recipe because the frosting recipe is highly treasured in my mom's family. Still, I think it really is too good not to share and it always makes me think fondly of my Mom and her late mom, my Grandma Kaye. My mom is an amazing baker and I used to call her every time I was making the frosting so she could tell me the recipe (I think also it was a nice excuse just to talk to her too!). Now, I can write it down from memory! Hopefully, she's not too upset with me for sharing!

The cake recipe comes from a really great cookbook, "The Cake Mix Doctor." I highly recommend any of her several books. It calls for using a Bundt pan, but if you don't have one, don't despair. It also makes awesome cupcakes or you can use the baking instructions on the back of the cake box to modify it to your desired pans.

"Darn Good Chocolate Cake"
adapted from Anne Byrn, aka "The Cake Mix Doctor"

1 box Devil's food chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup warm water
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a Bundt pan with non stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for chocolate chips. With an electric mixer on low speed, mix to combine. Raise speed to medium and blend for about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven. Allow to cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Transfer to a cake plate and frost (or dust with powdered sugar).

note: for a more intense, deep chocolate flavor, substitute miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Grandma Kaye's Fudge Frosting
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup mini marshmallows
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips (or a combination of milk and semi-sweet)

In a medium saucepan over very lowest heat, combine sugar and evaporated milk. Stir thoroughly until sugar starts to dissolve. Add butter and marshmallows. Stir constantly until butter and marshmallows are completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in salt, vanilla and chocolate chips, stirring until chips are melted and frosting is smooth. Use immediately as it will stiffen up quickly.

notes: after a lot of experimenting, I have found that it is very important to make sure to combine the milk and sugar first, otherwise the sugar crystals will never fully dissolve and your frosting will remain grainy. It is also important to keep the heat as low as possible. Finally, you can certainly play around with the chocolate used. We just prefer milk chocolate.


  1. oh. my. goodness. that looks amazing! did you save any for me! =)

  2. yummy, Lauren! So I made this tonight and it turned out very good. Mine was not quite as aesthetically pleasing as yours but did taste very good. Got rave reviews from the family. Thank you for sharing Grandma Kaye's frosting (I may need to muster a little more patience in waiting for the sugar to could have used a little more time.)

  3. Thanks, Gretchen! I'm glad it was a hit. The frosting can be a bit touchy. I find I have the best results when I try and dissolve the sugar in the evaporated milk as much as possible before turning on the heat and adding the other ingredients (but have had plenty of hits and misses before!).

  4. Lauren, I hope you don't mind - I would like to post this blog post link on my blog?
    I LOVE this cake - never had a better chocolate cake!!! :D
    you're awesome!

  5. Of course you can link to it, Heidi! Thanks!

    Also, for everyone an FYI, the cooled frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. It tastes delicious eaten right from a spoon or you can reheat it in the microwave to pour over cake or ice cream a la hot fudge!