Nora likes chocolate more than I do, if that is possible so we both looked forward to making this cake. Some of my earliest memories are of being allowed to lick the bowl when Mother made a chocolate cake. She always made the icing in an iron skillet in the same way she made fudge, and as soon it was cool enough, I was allowed to have that spoon, too. Mother’s cake sometimes cracked when she put the 2nd layer on and I liked that piece best because the frosting soaked down into the cake through the crack. so when our cake cracked a bit near the edge, it was OK! The recipes that follow were never written down for me, but I did find the cake recipe in my mother’s cookbook (given to her by her mother on Christmas, 1933.) The fudge icing recipe is closest to the way I remember her making it. But instead of timing for a minute after the mixture boiled, she always cooked it until it was at soft-ball stage – tested by dripping a few drops into a cup of cold water.
1/2 cup shortening (we used Crisco)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Cream sugar and shortening. Add vanilla and eggs; mix until well blended. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to the first mixture. Pour into two greased and floured cake pans, making the batter higher toward the edges so it rises more evenly. Bake in 375 degree oven for 39 minutes or until it tests done. Remove from pans, cool, and assemble by adding a layer of Fudge Icing between layers and frosting sides and top with the remainder.
2 cups granulated sugar
3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
⅔ cup whole milk
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes
1½ teaspoons vanilla
Mix sugar, cocoa powder, and milk together in a large saucepan.Cook over medium-high heat until large bubbles form and reaches a hard boil. Boil one minute at a hard boil. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.Beat with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth.Pour over cake. It will harden as it cools.