Appalachian Food

Old Timey Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake

Pap was really partial to coconut cakes. Especially the ones Granny made with blackwalnut pieces hidden between the layers and fluffy white icing. Another cake he asked for often is really simple: a yellow or white cake with chocolate icing poured over it.

Granny’s made the chocolate cake forever. When I was young I’d run my finger along the pond of chocolate at the base of the cake when no one was looking.

One day I asked her where she learned to make the cake. She said her mother Gazzie made it often to feed the bunch that gathered at her house on Sundays. Granny said “I never could get my chocolate to turn out like mother’s until Lucky (her brother) shared the right recipe with me.”

Yellow Cake with Poured Chocolate Icing

  • One yellow or white cake mix baked according to directions in two cake pans (or you can whip up a homemade cake!)

Chocolate Icing

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cocoa

Place ingredients in small sauce pot and bring to a full rolling boil. Take pot off heat for several seconds and then return to heat and bring to full rolling boil. Remove pot 4 times and put back on to bring to full rolling boil. Sounds crazy I know! But it works.

Once cake is baked, set one layer on cake plate and slowly pour or spoon icing over it. Add second layer on top and slowly pour or spoon on the rest of the icing.

This cake is super simple, but so tasty! The icing takes on a slight crunch which just adds to its chocolaty goodness.


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  • Reply
    February 14, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Me thinks the multiple heatinngs do some chemical magic on the sugar and turns it into something more delicious ☺

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    February 6, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    One of my favorite cakes. My aunt makes it and it’s delicious!

  • Reply
    Marcy Forker
    February 3, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    My Momma made a yellow cake from scratch. The most important ingredient was cow butter from our cow. When the cake was cooled she made a chocolate frosting that was like eating fudge. I wish I had her recipe as that was one delicious cake. I enjoy reading your blog about mountain life, especially the old words which are like music to my ears. I miss the gatherings on the porch when work was done and the air had cooled. Our old ways are disappearing and it is a joy to read about them once again.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    sounds like momma’s “spoonin’ choklit” ..she would ice a cake with it and always made extra to pour into bowls for us to eat with a spoon..

  • Reply
    February 3, 2020 at 11:51 am

    My mother made yellow or white cakes with chocolate icing. We called them “chocolate cakes”. Shortly after we were married my wife decided to make a cake. She asked me what kind I preferred. “Chocolate”, of course. She made a devils food cake. Thus our 2nd or 3rd “Big” argument that continues to this day.

    Once she made a (real in my mind) chocolate cake and entered the kitchen to find our daughter with icing on her face and very little left on the cake. She said, “Child you have eaten all the icing off the cake.” Daughter replied, “No I didn’t.” Punishment ensued for lying. In my later conversation with said daughter The truth came out. “Mom said I ate ALL the icing but I didn’t. There was still some on the other side that I couldn’t reach.”

  • Reply
    June Jolley
    February 3, 2020 at 11:07 am

    My mama used to make a similar recipe, but she cooked it in a cast iron skillet. Once it come to a boil she would cool it for a few minutes then pour it over the cake. I will have to try your Granny’s recipe. Mama always cooked from scratch and I do too, as much as possible. It tastes better and is much healthier.

    • Reply
      Joyce P. Phillips
      February 9, 2020 at 7:53 am

      My momma did too and her chocolate icing was delightful. I cook from scratch too.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2020 at 10:36 am

    My Mother made a chocolate icing like that and I didn’t have the recipe so I was thrilled to see your Mothers. She also made an orange cake that her mother always made at Christmas and just poured a clear icing over. I don’t have that recipe either but I keep trying to come up with it.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2020 at 9:30 am

    I can taste it now!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2020 at 9:19 am

    They say our taste changes every 7 years. They being that mysterious they everyone mentions so casually. In my case I do believe that is the case, because I did not touch cake growing up, and now I crave it. I remember cakes setting atop Mom’s old freezer, and I still regret missing out on opportunities to find out more about her recipes. I will have to copy that icing recipe, because it is one of those old treasures, and now everything edible is loaded with words you cannot pronounce. In my humble opinion if the human body was meant to consume Tert butylhydroquinone we would be able to go pick it right from nature’s gardens.
    Tipper, you have not only done much to preserve our heritage, but you have regularly posted made from scratch, unprocessed food recipes. You must absolutely be the busiest lady I know, but have still proven it is possible to cook from scratch meals for your family. We have added some strange diseases in the last few years, and is possibly based on a society unable or unwilling to cook from scratch avoiding all those terrible additives. If anyone wants proof that manufacturers go to great lengths to make something simple toxic, then maybe they should read the back of a coffee creamer. A simple splash of milk in your coffee does just fine.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 3, 2020 at 9:07 am

    For some reason I think that recipe sounds like chocolate fudge which would make a good cake frosting. I don’t eat a lot of cake but I believe I would enjoy it hot over a couple of split or crumbled biscuits.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 3, 2020 at 6:54 am

    Tip, I’ve never heard of anything cooked four times like that. It looks and sounds very good.
    Sometimes when I’m trying to make something from an old recipe I wonder about the current products I buy at the grocery to make then. I feel like the current products are not as good or well made as the earlier ones were. Everything now seems to be made as quick and cheap as possible and full of preservatives and such!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 3, 2020 at 6:31 am

    Sounds like the one my grandma used to make

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