Grandma Nellie’s Chocolate Cake — Adapted

16 Jul

I’m a cake girl. While some folks are pie people. My mother is a pie person. It helps that she makes perfect pastry. So it’s a tad ironic that it’s my Mom’s mother Nellie’s recipe I turn to for a wonderful moist chocolate cake. What better way to celebrate Savvy Single Supper’s 100th post than to share this 3rd generation recipe with you.

Cake! To Celebrate Savvy SIngle Suppers 100th Post

Cake! To Celebrate Savvy Single Suppers 100th Post

The key to this recipe is its use of  buttermilk mixed with cocoa and baking soda. I bump up the chocolate quotient until the cake comes out deep and luscious. Mom prefers the original recipe because it isn’t very chocolate-y. Are we really related?

Grandma Nellie's Chocolate Cake/Adapted

Grandma Nellie’s Chocolate Cake/Adapted

My sister makes this recipe in a 9″ x 13″ pan for a moist snacking cake. I’ve made it in mega-muffin tins for a party dessert, covered in a chocolate Ganache frosting. Here, I baked it in a Bundt pan for a pleasing, shapely presentation. Recently I made this cake was to celebrate the end of a long-term goal and I went crazy bad (fat and calorie-wise) with a Fluffy Peanut Frosting [I’ll share in the next post].

Even with a group of seven, half of the cake came home from our fete . . . not a terribly savvy single situation. I’m delighted to report the leftovers froze like a charm. I cut the rest of the cake into individual-sized pieces, covering their bottoms and tops with waxed paper, and laid them in a 9″ x 13″ plastic freezer container with a lid. When the mood struck for a piece of heaven, I used the bottom piece of waxed paper wrap to pry out a single slice. Remove the top layer of waxed paper (to prevent loss of icing) before allowing the cake to thaw. Voila!

Butter, cocoa powder, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, baking soda and eggs.

Butter, cocoa powder, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, baking soda and eggs.


Serves: 12 – 16


  • 3/4 cup [187.5 mL]                       unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2                                                        large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup [375 mL]                        white sugar
  • 2 tsp [10 mL]                                  vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup [438 mL]                       buttermilk, well shaken, or sour milk*
  • 2 tsp [10 mL]                                  baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp [90 mL]                              cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups [565 mL]                      all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup [250 mL]                               semi-sweet chocolate chips
Flour & sugar, too.

Flour & sugar, too.


1.     Set a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 350 F.

Cream butter and sugar.

Cream butter and sugar.

Mix in vanilla extract.

Mix in vanilla extract.

2.     In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla followed by the eggs.

Beat in eggs.

Beat in eggs.

3.     * If you are not using buttermilk, add 1.75 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar to 1.75 cups of milk. Stir. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes to allow the milk to curdle.

4.     Pour buttermilk into a large measuring cup or another bowl. Stir in the baking soda and the cocoa powder. Set aside.

To buttermilk (or soured milk), stir in baking soda and cocoa powder.

To buttermilk (or soured milk), stir in baking soda and cocoa powder.

5.      Using a piece of wax paper generously grease the inside of a Bundt pan with slightly softened butter and dust with flour. Be certain to butter and flour the centre flute to assure easy removal of the cake.

Grease and flour baking pan.

Grease and flour baking pan.

6.     Meanwhile, the buttermilk-baking soda-cocoa mixture will have bubbled up.

Mixture bubbles up.

Mixture bubbles up.

Pour into the mixing bowl with the creamed sugar. Beat with mixer until well blended.

Beat milk-cocoa mxture into creamed butter-eggs.

Beat milk-cocoa mixture into creamed butter-eggs.

7.     Gradually mix in the flour until batter is smooth and creamy.

Beat in flour.

Beat in flour.

Stir chocolate chips into the batter using a spatula.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Stir in chocolate chips.

8.     Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top.

9.     Bake in the centre of a 350 F oven until toothpick inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean, about 50 – 60 minutes. If using a flat cake pan, bake for 45 – 50 minutes; mega muffin tins for about 30 minutes.

Bake on centre rack of 350F oven.

Bake on centre rack of 350 F oven.

10.    Remove cake pan to a rack. Allow to cool completely. Loosen cake from pan with a knife or a stiff plastic spatula (if using a non-stick pan). Place cake plate or serving platter over top of the Bundt pan. Holding the edges of the pan against the plate, flip the cake over and gently shake the cake out of the pan. If it does not fall out easily, reverse the pan/plate and try loosening again with your knife/spatula.

A Beautiful Bundt awaiting its crowning glory.

A Beautiful Bundt awaiting its crowning glory.

11.    Cover well with plastic wrap or foil until ready to ice with your favourite frosting.

Frosted with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting, sprinkled with peanuts and adorned with Mini Reeses cups.

Frosted with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting, sprinkled with peanuts and adorned with Mini Reese’s cups.


8 Responses to “Grandma Nellie’s Chocolate Cake — Adapted”

  1. Gillian Wallace July 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Looks good. Congrats on your 100th post!

    • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers July 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      Thanks for your on-going support Gillian. A small clarification . . . this cake was baked about 2 months ago. NOT during this horrid stretch of unbearably hot weather (Humidex of 90 F/40 C degrees today)that wouldn’t be at all savvy! Waiting for a break in temps to bake a Berry Galette.

  2. Debby Simpson July 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Congratulations on your 100th Looks good. Glad you haven’t been slaving away in the kitchen.. I made a watermelon gazpacho last night and just standing in the kitchen was too hot.

    • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers July 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      I had a gazpacho fantasy today myself! Want to wait for fresh local tomatoes before making some. Care to write a guest post about your watermelon gazpacho recipe? I love watermelon, too.

      • Debby Simpson July 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

        Maybe when it’s cooler….no pictures though, I ate it all.

      • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers July 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

        All gone? Best review possible. If you share the recipe, I’ll make some and take the pictures. In the meantime . . . come enjoy some of my A/C when you feel the need, OK?

      • Debby Simpson July 17, 2013 at 10:19 am #

        Thanks Susan…I may yet take you up on that. I will share the recipe soon. It’s one I’ll make again, so simple and good. Healthy too.


  1. Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting | Savvy Single Suppers - July 17, 2013

    […] one way to top off Grandma Nellie’s Chocolate Cake. My first taste of this decadent icing was on a cake my sister-in-law brought to a family dinner. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: