Sometimes you just want to celebrate!   A birthday, Fourth of July, or just marking time.  What better way to celebrate than with a velvety chocolate layer cake?  Even better, have your kids make it for you!  In our house it is very much a time of celebration.  I have just finished my last and 12th infusion of chemo, we have had long time friends over, and our eldest, 13 year old Gabriella, decided she wanted to bake.  She felt like making a chocolate layer cake and we readily encouraged her.  We perused our cookbook library and found the book Chocolate, by our friend Lisa Yockelson.  Gabriella immediately pounced on a recipe for a velvety chocolate layer cake with chocolate fudge frosting.  We served it when our friends, photographer Tom Bagley and award winning cookbook author Gail Greco, came for dinner.  Everyone thought it was smooth and delicious.

This is a perfect layer cake for both a novice as well as seasoned baking veteran.  The satiny texture is sublime and the cake turns out rich and wonderful. Gabriella made a few small ingredient changes, to use what we already had on hand. She used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour and a combination of heavy cream and milk instead of light cream. I’m proud to say that Gabriella made this all by herself.  She even cleaned up.  OK… we had to clean up after her clean up, but we were rather impressed.  You will also be pleased.  This is a great family recipe, easy to make and a lot of fun for the kids.  They can measure to their hearts content and the outcome is a luscious delight.

One doesn’t get to see this kind of cake in Italy. Other than gelato or mousse, I don’t often see chocolate flavored desserts.  However, in our family, chocolate is always a favorite so we’ve decided to adopt this cake and make everyone happy.


Adapted from Lisa Yokelson’s Chocolate

Serves 15.


Chocolate Cake Ingredients

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

1/3-cup confectioner’s sugar


Layer Cake Batter

2 cups bleached cake flour

1-teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups less 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two 9-inch layer cake pans (11/2 inches deep).

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl.  Set aside.

Cream the butter into a large bowl of a mixer on moderate speed with a paddle.  Slowly add the sugar.  Put a little in and wait until it is mixed before adding more in.  While the mixing continues add the eggs, one at a time.  Mix in the vanilla extract and stop beating.

Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Pour the boiling water over it and mix until chocolate has melted.  Put in the sugar and stir until smooth.

Add the chocolate mixture to the batter in the mixer.  Slowly add half of sifted flour mixture into batter and beat on low speed.  Add the milk.  Then add the other half of the sifted mixture.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently so everything is mixed in.  Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of the cake.  Cool the layers on cooling racks for 20 minutes.  Remove cake from pans and let cool for another 20 minutes.

Cover the bottom layer; making sure that there is a thick layer of frosting over the top.  Then gently place second layer upon cake and frost that.  Then frost the entire cake.

 Chocolate Fudge Frosting

How could one go wrong with chocolate fudge?  It was the obvious choice for frosting this chocolate cake, the ooey gooey richness sent waves of delight through all the people who tasted the cake.  Of course, some of the frosting never even made it to the cake, it was happily consumed directly from the bowl.  This frosting also is great for creating piping decorations.



4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

5 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Large pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup heavy cream mixed with ½ cup 2 % milk


Whisk melted unsweetened chocolate and melted butter in a small bowl until the mixture turns glossy.

Put the confectioners’ sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a flat paddle attachment and mix on low speed.  Add the chocolate butter, vanilla extract, and cream.  Mix on low speed until frosting is homogeneous.  Increase speed and beat until frosting turns smooth.