Nana’s Simple Chocolate Cake
Nana’s Simple Chocolate Cake
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A 3-layer chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting, this is for all the chocolate lovers out there. As one Swans Down customer told us, “Best chocolate cake ever! And I’ve been baking for 70 years.”
  • 3 oz. – unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 stick – unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 c. – light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 – eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. – vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. – baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. – salt
  • 2 1/4 c. – sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
  • 1 c. – sour cream
  • 1 c. – boiling water

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 5 (1 oz.) squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 T. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 7 1/2 c. confectioners sugar (2 boxes @ 3 3/4 c. each)

PREHEAT oven to 350˚. Butter and lightly flour 3 – 8 inch layer pans. (Easy removal: butter pans, line pan bottoms with parchment paper, butter top of paper and lightly flour, shake out excess flour)

SIFT Swans Down once, measure; set aside.

MELT unsweetened chocolate in small microwave-safe bowl; stirring at 30 second intervals until melted (no longer than 1 minute). Stir until smooth; set aside to cool.

CREAM butter until smooth in large bowl. Add brown sugar and eggs. Beat with mixer till light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and chocolate, then baking soda and salt.

ADD flour alternately with sour cream, beating until smooth. Pour in boiling water next, stirring with spoon till blended. (batter will be very thin)

POUR into 3 – 8 inch layer prepared pans.

BAKE about 20 – 25 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.

COOL in pans approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Remove cake layers and place on rack to complete cooling.

TIP: Select the 2 layers that are the most level to be the bottom 2 layers. If domed, carefully slice off dome part.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

PLACE chocolate and heavy whipping cream in small microwavable bowl, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring well after each interval (approximately 1 minute total cooking time). Let cool for 30 minutes.

BEAT butter and chocolate mixture with mixer until smooth in large bowl. Add vanilla extract and milk. Gradually add sugar, beating well until all is blended. If needed, add more milk to achieve correct spreading consistency. Once smooth, do not continue to beat.

FROST cake immediately.

  • Gethzaida Andino Colon says:

    Excellent Recipe.

    Am student, all the time use this flour and recipes. The best. Nana, yesterday I did it for my husband. I have a photo. I would like to post for you.

  • Mary Heleniak says:

    Love this recipe I found on the back of the box years ago. It’s a favorite-but the frosting recipe on the box is different from that above. Love your cake flour!

  • KaPar says:

    This was a terrible recipe. The cake did not rise at all. Fell flat. And didn’t have a good taste either. Was a complete waste of ingredients and I had to throw the whole lot away. Very disappointing. Please double check your recipes and ensure they work before putting on the box. I’m an experienced baker and this was one of the worst recipes I’ve encountered.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Ka, We’ve forwarded your information on to our Consumer Affairs Dept. Someone will be reaching out.

  • Chi says:

    Can I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Chi, Greek yogurt can certainly be a substitute for the sour cream. We recommend using full fat and to strain it through cheese cloth if the consistency is much thinner than sour cream. Happy Baking!

  • Aerial says:

    The cake looks delicious. Can you use a a sheet cake pan or another type of pan??

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Aerial, This recipe would fit nicely in a 11 x 15in sheet pan. It yields approximately 12 cups of batter. Happy Baking!

  • Marilyn Horner says:

    Can you substitute regular self-rising flour and use cocoa powder?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Marilyn, Yes you can substitute regular Cake Flour with Self-Rising Flour. We would recommend that you contact the Self-Rising Flour manufacturer for the conversion, as they are familiar with the component ratios of their products.
      To substitute the unsweetened chocolate you would have to add extra fat to make up for the cocoa butter that’s in the chocolate. 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate can be subbed with 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon of fat (butter, shortening, oil). For this recipe use 9 tablespoons of cocoa powder + 3 tablespoons of fat. You should also dissolve the cocoa powder in the hot water. Do not add it dry.
      Hope this helps and Happy Baking!

  • Donovan says:

    This recipe did not fill 3 pans and the cake does not rise. It really doesn’t look anything like the picture but it tastes good. Can someone explain?

  • Amy Bolin says:

    Made this cake for Christmas and it was absolutely delicious !!!

  • Yazmin says:

    Would you use this same recipe for cupcakes?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Yazmin, Yes you can use cake batter per the recipe for cupcakes. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Lower baking time to 15 – 20 minutes and enjoy!

  • Diana says:

    This is the first cake I’ve made completely from scratch and I am happy with the results! The cake came out nice and moist and fluffy with a more complex flavor than a typical cake mix. The frosting complemented the cake perfectly. I made a slight modification in using 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate to replace one of the ounces of semisweet in the frosting so I didn’t have to open another package of chocolate. Also… This same recipe is on the four box but as a two layer cake with half the frosting. Thia recipe makes a large amount of frosting and most of it is necessary to frost three layers.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Diana, thanks for sharing your great results! Hearing that a cake turned out moist and fluffy is music to our ears. 🙂

  • E L See says:

    Best chocolate cake ever! And I’ve been baking for 70 years. Never fails IF you follow directions.

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  • Cecilia says:

    Can you tell me how many cups of flour and all ingredients for a 12 in x 18 in sheet pan. Please

  • Cecilia says:

    Hello, I am making a chocolate cake for my grandson 2nd birthday. Im using a 15 x 11 in sheet pan. Do you have a recipe for this size pan please. and Thank you,

  • ricky albanese says:

    how about makeing swans down fully cooked ready to eat pizza. it would be sold in stores.

  • SusyPR says:

    It would be nice to print only the recipe omitting the frivolous info before the recipe and the Leave a Review stuff as well. What purpose does that service in the recipe?

  • Wilma says:

    The chocolate hardened in the process even after adding d boiling water; choc bits settled at d bottom of pan after baking, & color of cake looked like mocha.
    Pls give me measurement if I hv to use cocoa powder instead of choc squares.

  • Bill Wood says:

    This is such a delicious, moist cake! First time I made it was when I was having the neighbors in for dinner: they absolutely raved about it. And — it really is as easy to make as the name says! Please try it … you will love it!

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