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
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.