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Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn  how to make this truly old fashioned Chocolate layer cake. This is the cake Mama always made me for my birthday when I was younger. Printable recipe included.

Yellow layer cake with a cooked, old fashioned Chocolate icing. This one was Mama’s specialty and all the family loved it. I hope you will too.

From as far back as I can remember, up until she was no longer able to do so, Mama made one of these yellow layered cakes with Chocolate icing for my birthday. I absolutely loved them.

In the early years, Mama made her cake layers from scratch. Then, when we moved from the country to the city, she did like most other modern day homemakers and made her layers from a boxed cake mix. They were still awesome though.

She never changed the icing she placed on the cakes. She knew it was my favorite, so she always cooked the chocolate icing that covered the cake.

I use to say that Mama never made pretty cakes, just really good cakes. Looking back, I realize just how beautiful those homemade cakes were and how much love she put into making each one. Even the one’s with the boxed cake mix.

I’m using my Basic Cake Layers recipe for the layers. I don’t include those steps below, but you can easily click the link for that recipe if you want to make the cake entirely from scratch. Or, if you decide to use a boxed cake mix, just make the icing as described below. It’s pretty simple to make, you just have to stay with it for the 15 minutes or so that it’s cooking.

The recipe for the icing is courtesy of my Cousin Aleane. She listed it as one of her favorites in our Stewart Family Cookbook that was printed years ago for our family reunions. It’s just like the recipe Mama always used.

Birthday or not, this is a very special cake for me. I do hope you’ll like it should you make it.

Ready to give our recipe a try? Alright then, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Icing – You’ll need these ingredients.

This post will show you how to make the Chocolate Icing for our favorite Birthday Cake.

You can make a cake from scratch using our Basic Cake Layers recipe, or you could just make layers from boxed Yellow Cake Mix. Totally up to you.

I wanted to show you the old hand mixer that I used to mix my batter with. Mama used one very similar during my much younger years, before she acquired an electric one.

This one worked pretty good and did a great job for some parts of the recipe. Smile

Let’s make that icing.  Start by placing 2 cups granulated Sugar in a medium sized sauce pot. The taller the pot the better.

Add 1 stick of Butter.

Add 6 Tablespoons of Cocoa powder.

Add 2 teaspoons of Vanilla flavoring.

Add 1 can of Evaporated Milk. 12 ounce size.

Now, lets cook the chocolate icing. Please observe the following.


Place the sauce pot over Medium heat on your stove top. Stir the pot continuously while the sugar and butter dissolve. Once it starts to heat up, do NOT walkaway. If you do, you’ll be mad at me and you both. Smile.

I had to remove my pot from heat about 5 times while it was boiling. It will continue to try to rise and overflow the pot for a short while, but then it will calm down.

It probably took about 12 to 15 minutes to cook.

Keep stirring it so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and until it thickens. The syrup needs to thicken to the point of about applesauce or apple butter. Not runny, but not real thick either.

Remove from heat when done. Cook it too long and you’ll end up making candy. Smile.

Place a dab of the warm chocolate in the middle of the plate you intend to build your cake on. Then, place the first layer on top of that. The frosting will keep the layer from sliding around.

I used a plate with a bit of a raised outer edge to catch any icing that might flow off the cake as we make it.

Spoon a layer of icing on top of the layer. Spread it out to the edge.

Place the second layer on top of the first layer. I usually place the layers top side down.

Spread icing on this layer.

Add the third layer. Normally, I would place the top layer down so it would have a flat surface to frost. But, I placed this one top side up because it had a bit of a dome shape, more like the way Mama always made her cakes.

Spread a layer of the icing over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides. Then, use a spatula to smooth out the sides of the cake as best you can.

This may not be a pretty cake, but they were sure pretty to me every time I received one on my birthday.

Mama wasn’t into making pretty cakes… just really GOOD cakes. Smile.

Birthday Cake, enjoy.


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