"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
~Charles M. Schulz
Last week while we were at the lake, I was craving this cake. Keep in mind, I have at least 50 cookbooks, tons of food magazines and if you include access to the internet, the ability to find thousands of chocolate cake recipes. But THIS is the one I go back to the most. Beside the fact that it is impossibly moist and has that old fashioned dense crumb that cannot be duplicated by a box mix, it is just as easy, requiring only a wooden spoon to whip it together.
The recipe has a dual origin. You see, one of my oldest and closest friends, Marlene, and my sister-in-law, Joy, share a grandmother. They are cousins and grew up next door to each other (the world really is small and getting smaller). This recipe is hers. Gram Carlson's buttermilk chocolate cake. I scribbled it down nearly 20 years ago and it's so used and stained now I can barely read it.
There's something about it. So moist, yet not too rich. Fluffy frosting that is not overly sweet. Flavored lightly with cocoa, it has almost a mocha taste, reminding me of the chocolate frosting my own grandmother used to make. Sometimes simple really is best, and a recipe that stands the test of time is worth noting. This has been a family favorite for years. Hope you get a chance to try it. As for me, it was the first thing I baked when we got back from the lake. The craving wouldn't quit. Consider yourself warned.
Gram Carlson's Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
One 13x9 inch cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
4 tablespoons cocoa (I use a rounded 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons Crisco (shortening)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa
1 box confectioner's sugar (10x sugar - 1 lb box)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup water, 2 sticks of butter and 4 tablespoons of cocoa, just til butter melts. Let cool slightly. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring together. Whisk in 2 eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Batter will be wet. Bake for 30 mins.
For frosting: In a large bowl, beat together butter, Crisco and vanilla. A handheld electric mixture works best, but you could do it with a spoon. Beat in cocoa, then powdered sugar. Add two tablespoons milk, then beat in one tablespoon at a time until it reaches a nice spreading consistency where it will hold peaks.
Spread onto completely cooled cake.