Chocolate Heaven
December 21, 2009 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I want to bake the very best chocolate fudge cake with thick dark icing but I don't have a good receipe. Please help.

I love fudgy, moist, rich cakes with 4 or more layers of dark icing. The kind that you find a a dessert place or the Cheesecake Factory / White Spot / Swiss Chalet.

I am pretty sure that the icing must be cooked to get the rich chocolate taste but otherwise don't know the receipe. I'm a decent baker so don't worrying about complexity. Thanks!
posted by saradarlin to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have made Hersey's PERFECT Chocolate Cake dozens of times and every single time people beg for the recipe and then are amazed when I tell them it's the one on the back of the cocoa box.

The key to the frosting is making it as though you are making fudge to get that thick, delicious, delightful chocolate goodness.
posted by banannafish at 3:23 PM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

What does "make it as though you are making fudge" mean? I would also enjoy baking a very good chocolate cake.
posted by not that girl at 3:26 PM on December 21, 2009

Cook's Country has the definitive recipe for Wellesley Fudge Cake in either their current issue or the one immediately previous.

A vernacular recipe for same.

Saveur had an updated take a while back on the time-honored woman's-club-cookbook standard Black Chocolate Cake.

Jim Dodge's Chocolate Buttermilk Fudge Cake is amazing if a bit fussy to make.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:34 PM on December 21, 2009

There is a great recipe for Wellesly fudge cake in the latest Cooks Country magazine. I think it may still be on the newsstands.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:35 PM on December 21, 2009

Best answer: I've been making the same chocolate cake as bananafish using Hershey's Dark cocoa (and buttermilk instead of regular milk--I've tried it both ways and think buttermilk makes a nicer cake). It's consistently moist, rich, and delicious.

The last time I made the cake, I made the buttercream frosting recipe from the cocoa box using the same Hershey's Dark cocoa as in the cake. I used somewhat less powdered sugar than the recipe suggested, and the frosting turned out rich and fudgy with no cooking.
posted by Meg_Murry at 3:39 PM on December 21, 2009

I second the Hershey's recipe. It's dead easy. (but I also don't know what "as though you are making fudge" means. I just follow the recipe exactly.) I always make the 3 layer version.
posted by peep at 3:41 PM on December 21, 2009

Oh, sorry about any confusion - I meant that the way to achieve a really dense frosting is to make a fudge-like frosting, which would mean it would require heat/cooking of the fat to create density similar to that of fudge.

And seconding Meg_Murry - I've also swiped buttermilk for regular milk and it is dellllicious!
posted by banannafish at 3:43 PM on December 21, 2009

Do you have a bundt pan?

If so, you could make the Tunnel of Fudge cake.
posted by marsha56 at 3:55 PM on December 21, 2009

I've been known to make the Hershey's recipe with a more flavorful cocoa such as Penzey or Droste. Also, instead of boiling water I use strong black coffee. Wow.

It is my belief that cake has no higher calling than delivering frosting to my mouth. Therefore, I like to split each layer of cake and to sandwich in an extra layer of frosting. You can do that with a knife but this cake leveler makes it super easy.
posted by 26.2 at 4:20 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

This chocolate stout cake is the most amazing and professional-looking cake I've ever made. The stout adds a deep malt flavor that is really delicious.
posted by katie at 4:38 PM on December 21, 2009

The Cook's Country Wellesley Fudge Cake recipe is available here with a free-if-you-remember-to-cancel site subscription. (But, if you cook, you might as well keep the membership, it's $20 a year for a lot of valuable content from the wonder non-ad-supported folks at Cook's Illustrated.)
posted by nicwolff at 4:49 PM on December 21, 2009

I'm not a huge fan of chocolate icing/frosting made with powdered sugar so I make ganache instead. It's super rich and very creamy; it's what chocolate truffles are made from! I use equal parts semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream. I usually add a teaspoon of light corn syrup but I'm not sure why and you can omit it. I heat the cream in a heavy saucepan just until it starts to bubble. I take it off the heat and add the chocolate and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then I whisk it until it's smooth. I usually set aside about a half cup on the counter to cool (this is to pour on top of the frosted cake to look pretty), and pour the rest into a bowl and refrigerate for about 2-4 hours. You don't want to refrigerate it too long or it will be hard to whip and turn out grainy. Then I whip it up with a mixer until it's light brown and fluffy and frost the cake. There are a million variations on ganache; I've infused it with mint and rosemary and citrus.

Like just about everyone else, I use the Hershey recipe for chocolate cake.
posted by shmurley at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. It's out of this world.
posted by Majorita at 5:41 PM on December 21, 2009

Like just about everyone else, I use the Hershey recipe for chocolate cake.

I'm a little mystified by this. The Hershey recipe is just fine, but the other recipes I linked to are SO MUCH BETTER, in my opinion, and I can think of six or seven other recipes that are way better than the Hershey recipe off the top of my head. Are all of you Hershey folks using it because you like it better than a dozen other recipes you've tried, or are you using it because it's a very yummy cake and why fix what isn't broken?

Maybe I'm just coming at this from a recovering food-writer perspective, but I am bemused by seeing so many people setting the Hershey recipe as the gold standard of chocolate cake. Ah well, de gustibus non disputandum est, I suppose.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:03 PM on December 21, 2009

Fancy restaurant secret: Godiva liquor poured into the cooked-and-about-to-be-iced cake. Moist richness like you wouldn't believe.
posted by ijoyner at 6:38 PM on December 21, 2009

Are all of you Hershey folks using it because you like it better than a dozen other recipes you've tried, or are you using it because it's a very yummy cake and why fix what isn't broken?

I can make a delicious cake using the Hershey's recipe with about 20 minutes of work, two bowls, and a couple hours of waiting. I've tried fussier recipes, and some of them are great--maybe even slightly better than the Hershey's recipe, but... they're fussy. The effort-to-tastiness ratio is just right with the Hershey's recipe, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:02 PM on December 21, 2009

I usually add a teaspoon of light corn syrup but I'm not sure why and you can omit it.

It keeps the ganache moist and pliable. You might end up with a dry chocolate coating, rather than a gooey frosting, if you omit it.
posted by palliser at 7:25 PM on December 21, 2009

Response by poster: Does anyone have a copy of the Wellesly fudge cake in the latest Cooks Country?

I NEVER sign up for "free" trials that require a credit card as they make it such a pain to cancel (but I appreciate the link nicwolff).
posted by saradarlin at 7:43 PM on December 21, 2009

If you're willing to stray from the "one big cake" plan, the recipe for "Chocolate Friands" in the Tartine cookbook is very easy. They're small rich/moist/dense cakes, smaller than cupcakes, bites really, covered with ganache. And I think they may be the best chocolate anything that I've ever had. We used Ghirardelli chocolate, which is pretty widely available.
posted by madmethods at 8:38 PM on December 21, 2009

I agree in general about CC#-now, cancel-later "free" trials, but Christopher Kimball personally promises that "you can always cancel at any time. No problems. No hassles. Guaranteed." And he wears a bow tie!
posted by nicwolff at 10:06 PM on December 21, 2009

Response by poster: Going to try the Wellesley Fudge Cake recipe linked to from Still can't bring myself to sign up for a pay website (well other than this one :0 ), though if I see the magzine I might pick it up. I think that I will bake my way through these suggestions and I'll post the results.

The "Jim Dodge" Recipe sounds like a chocolate version of a family pound cake recipe that my family loves so that will be one to try for sure. Thanks for the advice guys and if anyone has any more suggestion please post them!
posted by saradarlin at 7:38 PM on December 22, 2009

Response by poster: Baked the Welesley Fudge Cake. It turned out very well but with more of a "chocolate-cocoa" taste rather than a "fudge" flavour. Close but not exactly what I was looking for.
posted by saradarlin at 7:08 PM on February 3, 2010

Response by poster: So.... baked the Hersey's PERFECT Chocolate Cake linked to at the top and it was super easy to bake and was amazing. I am shocked to admit it but it was the best chocolate cake I've ever made and the fastest, although the icing was not fudgy enough. So I am going to continue to search for the perfect icing for my fudge cake. What a nice suprise that the easy one was so fantastic!
posted by saradarlin at 2:22 PM on March 11, 2010

Response by poster: As follow up. The Hershey cake should be made with buttermilk and the nicest, darkest cocoa that you can find. Not Hershey or Fryes.
posted by saradarlin at 10:50 PM on October 22, 2010

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