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Quintessential Chocolate Cake


This is less the unveiling of a new original recipe, and more a review of and shout-out to a classic one I stumbled upon. Not using StumbleUpon, just to be clear.

Last weekend, the daughter and I were lazing about watching Cupcake Wars (our fav show to watch together) when I suddenly felt a deep instinctual inspiration to get up and bake a cake. However, like I mentioned – we were being lazy. Obviously a trip to the grocery store for ingredients was totally out of the question. Instead, I challenged myself to make a recipe with only ingredients we already had in the pantry. After turning to (my usual go-to resource) I noticed that a very highly rated chocolate cake recipe had all these snarky comments about how it was just the one off the Hershey’s Cocoa box.

A) People can be so harsh with their recipe commentary. I mean, cool it people – she probably didn’t jack the Hershey’s recipe on purpose… it is a pretty obvious recipe. There are only so many ways to bake a cake. Sheesh.

B) It totally was the exact same recipe as the one on the Hershey’s container. I got up and happened to have a box of Hershey’s Cocoa in the house – yep, a perfect replica of the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake.

Which is when I realized I had every single ingredient to make that cake. You see what happened there? The fates aligned…

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

… and it was delicious.

I know, I know – you should use the fanciest cocoa you can possibly afford for any chocolatey recipe, since the right cocoa can make all the difference. I totally agree. Sadly, my Discover Card often does not. So Hershey’s is usually what’s knocking around the pantry.

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

The original recipe is located right on the back of the container, or here.

I’m not going to copy the entire ingredient list and recipe to this post since it feels a little redundant, and they have a better system for putting it in a print or email view. What do you expect? They are Hershey’s, and I’m a suburban mother of two and college administrator. It’s all about resources.

I will share my review of the recipe, a couple tips about how I made it quick and easy, and some pictures to make you crave chocolate cake. This story totally goes full circle here, people.

As you can see from above, this recipe does take more than a handful of ingredients… but not by much. They are also pretty much standard staple ingredients I would guess your average person has on hand, and I’m sure you’re totally above average.

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

This is seriously no-lie a one-bowl recipe. I heart those. It also takes only a few steps to get the batter together, so the time between Food Network making you jones for refined sugar and having a finished, frosted cake is pretty reasonable.

You begin with adding the dry ingredients to a bowl (as shown above), mixing it up a bit, adding the wet ingredients, mixing it up a bit, then adding the boiling water. See how quick that is?

TIP: I highly recommended sifting your cocoa into the bowl. I did not, and regretted it. I redeemed myself by sifting the cocoa in the frosting and it was so much more consistent and easy to mix.

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

Cool the cakes in the pans for a bit, then move to the cooking rack until completely cool. Or, if you are me, cheat and stick the rack in the fridge once it is mostly cool so you don’t have to wait an extra 10 minutes.

TIP: I use springform pans because they are the most straight on the sides, and I just think are easier to get the cakes out of. However, with a thinner batter like this one, I put foil around the bottom of the outside of the pan to catch any drips. I also hate to have a ton of pans in storage, so just using springform pans for all round cakes saves some cabinet space.

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

In the meantime, let’s make some frosting. Since it is literally built into the cake recipe, I figured I might as well try it out. Look how few ingredients it takes! This turned out so creamy, I was more than pleasantly surprised. How is that even possible without butter being added? Color me impressed.

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

See? Doesn’t it look melt-in-your mouth creamy and chocolatey? Okay, frosting doesn’t really photograph well on it’s own. I can’t tell if that picture is appetizing or not. I mean, if you didn’t know it was frosting… well, never mind. It’s delicious chocolate frosting and that’s that.

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

I doubted there would be enough frosting to actually cover the middle, top, and sides of a full-sized two-layer cake so I skimped on the frosting in the middle, just to be sure I’d have enough to cover the whole cake. Well, I regretted that – it made a TON of frosting. I just couldn’t waste it, it was so tasty… so the sides and top ended up a little heavy on the application.

Quintessential Chocolate Cake | Painting Sunny

I love a fancy and modern recipe, but you know I love a classic one as well. Think of how many kitchens over the years have made this cake for an after-supper dessert! How many little kid’s birthdays have included this recipe? Okay, if you’re now feeling all misty-eyed nostalgic, go ahead an read this history of chocolate cake post from Nice Chocolates. Yes, I’m a nerd. A nerd on a sugar-high.

Anyone else discovering recipes right off the back of boxes? Which totally isn’t discovering something at all, since it is literally on the back of the box? It’s kind of like when you start using a trendy new word and then everyone acts like you’re crazy, and you realize it hasn’t actually been trendy since the 90s. And you better stop rolling the cuffs on your acid-washed jeans, too.

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


Author: Dani @ Painting Sunny

Hi there! I'm Dani, and it's lovely to meet you. My little family just moved to the quaint little college-town of Ithaca, NY and are loving it. Come hang out with me and talk about food, books, art, and other odd little things.

3 thoughts on “Quintessential Chocolate Cake

  1. I would like to spend a lot of time with this cake!

  2. Pingback: A Birthday Amidst The Move (Pretty Cake Pinspiration, too!) | painting sunny

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