This cake recipe came to our family by way of my younger sister’s godmother, who baked it every year for my sister’s birthday.
As time passed, Mom started baking the cake. It was a big hit at any family gathering and became famous among my friends at Central College. One of my suite mates called it “social security,” since once word got out I had some visitors would flock in.
This was the first birthday cake I ever made for my husband and it has remained his favorite. I asked him one year if he would like something different, and his response was “Are you insane?”
This is a wonderfully moist cake with a rich cocoa flavor. I top it with a fudgy buttercream frosting, and it pairs beautifully with vanilla ice cream.
A few tips on baking the cake: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use sour milk. Pour a tablespoon of vinegar into a measuring cup and add enough milk to make one cup. Stir it and let it set a minute or two. Let the butter, eggs and buttermilk sit out of the refrigerator for awhile to knock the chill off of them before you mix the cake. And don’t be alarmed when you pour in the boiling water — it makes the batter really thin, but that’s the way it’s supposed to look. Use a spatula the blend things thoroughly after you add the boiling water; if you use a stand mixer at that point you’ll have a chocolate-covered kitchen.
To make sure the cake is done, poke the center with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool it, frost with your favorite frosting and enjoy!
Josephine Main enjoys carrying on her family’s culinary traditions.