The Best Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for my grandpa’s birthday.

This is my grandpa, my mom’s dad. His birthday was October 22 or 23, depending on whether you choose to believe the state of Montana or his mother. He grew up on a farm in Montana, then ended up marrying my grandma, had 5 kids, and ran a music store in Eugene, Oregon.

I never got to meet him, because he died suddenly of a heart attack when my mom was 25. He wasn’t alive to see my mom get married or meet any of his eight grandchildren.

When he was still alive, he always had chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ice cream on his birthday. My mom has kept that tradition going and makes a chocolate cake for his birthday every year. This year, she used this recipe, and it really is the best.

This is the first year I’ve made a cake for him. Since I had Ellie, family has become a lot more important to me, and now more than ever I wish that I’d gotten to meet him.

Recipe:
(from My Baking Addiction)

makes 1 9″ 2-layer cake (I halved the recipe to make 1 6″ 2-layer cake)

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 2 9″ pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and mix on medium for two minutes.

Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting.

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20 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake”


  1. 1 Krissy@DaintyChef October 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Beautiful post, I just teared up reading it. I am sorry you never got to meet him. This is a wonderful tradition and way to honor him, the cake looks scrumptious!

  2. 2 Amy @ The Nifty Foodie October 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Oh gosh..what a touching tradition that your family has! I’m sorry you never got to meet your grandfather. 😦

  3. 3 Laura October 28, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I’d like a slice of that please!

  4. 4 natalie (the sweets life) October 28, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I just made the best chocolate cupcakes (to be posted Sunday), but didn’t have a best chocolate CAKE recipe…can’t wait to try this! 🙂

  5. 5 Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen October 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Hmmmm chocolate cake… yours do look super moist! and fluffy!

  6. 6 Kelsey October 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    What a sweet story, Cate! And may I just say two things? 1. You look like him, especially your smile. 2. Any man who would choose chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ice cream is a good man. I wish I could’ve met him, too!

  7. 7 Bridget October 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I seriously need to do a chocolate cake comparison. I know exactly which recipes I’ll use now.

    I never met my mom’s dad either (or my dad’s dad, for that matter). He died of a heart attack when my mom was around 30. I have no idea if he liked chocolate cake though!

  8. 8 Maureen October 28, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    What a great way to honor him! That cake sounds delicious!

  9. 9 Crystal October 29, 2011 at 3:31 am

    That looks delicious! What frosting recipe did you use?

  10. 11 Kate October 29, 2011 at 5:14 am

    I didn’t get to meet half of my grandparents, but we never had any cool traditions like chocolate cake to remember them by.

  11. 12 Joanne October 29, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Oh Cate, this is so sweet! Family is definitely truly important and it’s so great of you to keep this tradition alive.

  12. 13 Naomi October 29, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I love how your family remembers him each year by enjoying his favorite dessert. And this looks so scrumptious – interesting that you add black coffee to it!

  13. 14 mari October 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    this looks wonderful. what type of coffee do you use? is that instant coffee or ground coffee??

    • 15 Cate October 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      Mari – I used one cup of freshly brewed coffee (made in a French Press) – but you can just as easily use instant dissolved in hot water

  14. 16 Angela October 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Wow, it’s amazing how much you look like him! 🙂

  15. 18 Jen October 31, 2011 at 6:49 am

    This is without a doubt one of the sweetest traditions I’ve ever heard about. And the cake looks delicious, too!

  16. 19 Cookie and Kate November 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    That’s a really special family tradition you have. Your cake looks delicious, too!

  17. 20 Trish April 6, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Injust made this cake in honor of my dad’s birthday. He passed away just over a year ago. The cake is delicious but I must work on my cake baking and frosting skills. It looks terrible! Lol.


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