Each cake tells a story. And a chocolate satisfies many desires.
Anika Denise wrote “Baking Day at Grandma’s” (Philomel, 2016) about bears and their grandmother creating the perfect treat. Then they wrap it as gifts in ribbons to show that the candy is even better when shared.
The book was inspired by her grandmother’s special treat, shared here as Grandma Rosie’s Chocolate Cake.
Another grandmother, Donna Spring, inspired her grandson to become a pastry chef in Rhode Island. Chef Ryan Boya served his grandmother’s wonderful Mayo cake seven years ago at the now defunct Providence restaurant, Local 121. The recipe lives on.
The old-fashioned chocolate cake was a voter favorite ten years ago for Hershey’s most iconic cocoa recipe. It was on the box label of Hershey Cocoa in the 1970s and 1980s and appeared in a nationwide advertisement in 1987.
Grandma Rosie’s Chocolate Cake
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of cocoa
1 cup of flour
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of boiling water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine sugar, cocoa, flour and salt in a large bowl.
Using a small spoon, make a hollow in the center of the mixture. Add the sliced butter in the hollow center.
Stir the baking soda into the cup of boiling water. While it foams, pour it over the butter. Let the mixture sit until the butter melts and the dough cools.
Add the egg and vanilla to the bowl and mix all the ingredients well.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 9 inch pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Test with a cake tester. It should come out dry.
Let the cake cool after baking. Then frost with your choice of frosting.
Grandma’s wonderful mayonnaise cake
3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1½ teaspoons of salt
1 cup of cocoa powder
2 cups of mayonnaise
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 x 13-inch skillet with cooking oil spray.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well blended.
Combine mayonnaise and vanilla. Add the sugar and mix with the dry ingredients. Add water until smooth and blended.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and serve with ice cream, whipped cream or your favorite frosting.
From Donna Spring, shared by Rhode Island Pastry Chef Ryan Boya in 2014.
Hershey’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1⅔ cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup of Hershey’s cocoa (or other unsweetened cocoa)
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
1⅓ cup of water
½ cup finely crushed hard mint candies (optional)
Buttercream Frosting in Bowl (See Recipe)
Extra crushed hard peppermint candies (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan.
Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl; beat on high speed of mixer 3 minutes.
Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add alternately with water to butter mixture, beating until blended.
Add sweets, if desired. Pour the batter into the prepared molds.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove mussels from racks. Cool completely.
Frost with a bowl of buttercream frosting. Just before serving, garnish with peppermint candies, if desired.
Buttercream Frosting in a Bowl
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2⅔ cups of powdered sugar
½ cup Hershey’s cocoa
⅓ cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Beat butter in a medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating until spreadable (additional milk may be needed). Stir in the vanilla.
Makes 2 cups.