06 February 2014

Have Your Cake....

We went to my in-laws' home for Super Bowl Sunday.  It was my job to bring dessert.  After roaming the aisles of the grocery store yesterday and not seeing anything I liked, I decided I was going to attempt to make a cake.  I remembered at home I had a Hershey's Cookbook.  This was no ordinary cookbook.
 I made brownies from scratch from a recipe contained in those faded pages long ago.  They were the best tasting brownies I ever had.  Coupled with the fact that every cake, cake mix and boxed pudding in the store was loaded with ingredients I couldn't even pronounce along with hydrogenated oils - yuck - I decided, as usual, that homemade was best.

Here it is....the Hershey's 1934 Cookbook.

Copyright: Hershey Foods Corporation, 1971
Copyright Hershey Foods Corporation, 1971  Check out the prices shown in the store window!

My version, which was revised for the 'modern' kitchen and again copyrighted and published in 1971, was handed down to me from my grandmother.  Little Grandma, Grandma Millie, or Carmelita, who was only 4'2", was quite the cook. She got me to eat things when I was little that I wouldn't eat otherwise, like asparagus.  She would bread and fry the asparagus and the first time I had it - I had no clue what it really was - I loved it and asked for seconds.  Today, I love asparagus...although I couldn't eat it let alone smell it cooking when I was pregnant with my daughter - but that's a whole other story!  We would bake together too; Grandma always had extra pastry crust after making a pie, so of course, we would make turnovers with it and play cards at the kitchen table while the pie and turnovers were in the oven.

So I LOVE this cookbook!  I poured over the pages when I got home from shopping yesterday and finally settled on the "Simple Cocoa Layer Cake,"  (I originally wanted to do cupcakes, but didn't have any cupcake liners).   It was amazing if I do say so myself, but I think it really was a fool-proof recipe.  Several others have been asking me for the recipe, so here's a photo of the finished cake and the recipe.

"Simple Cocoa Layer Cake" - Very Moist and Rich!

Simple Cocoa Layer Cake

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1&1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs, with yolks and whites separated
2 Cups Flour - All Purpose
1/2 tsp salt (note:  I omitted the salt)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1&1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Hershey's Cocoa  (note:  I used the 'Special Dark' cocoa powder)
1&1/4 Cup Milk

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla, then add the well-beaten egg yolks.  Sift the flour, salt if using, baking soda, baking powder and the cocoa powder together.  Add alternately with the milk to the creamed butter mixture.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the chocolate batter.  Pour into 2 greased and floured 8-inch cake pans and bake in a preheated moderate oven at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes.  (A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle should come out dry when done.)  Put together and ice with "Busy Day Cocoa Icing."

Busy Day Cocoa Icing

6 TBSP Boiling Water
1/4 Cup Butter
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Hershey's Cocoa (again, for my recipe, I used the "Special Dark' Hershey's Cocoa)
3 Cups 4x Sugar (Confectioners')

Add boiling water to butter.  Add vanilla and cocoa powder.  Beat, and when well blended, add sugar.  Beat until smooth and creamy, adding additional liquid if necessary, until you reach the desired spreading consistency.    Spread on warm cake.  Yield:  About 2 Cups icing or enough to generously ice an 8 or 9 inch layer cake.  Keeps well for several days without hardening. 

Note:  I added a little bit extra confectioners' sugar as I didn't think it sweet enough with the dark cocoa.  This made slightly extra icing, but it was perfect as I spread some between the layers to hold them together as is normally done.  I  think I have about 2 large spoonfuls of icing left.  

Again, this recipe is copyrighted by Hershey Foods Corporation.  If you can find the cookbook, I highly recommend purchasing one as the recipes are fantastic.  We loved this cake (it really is a 'simple' recipe) and since I left it at my in-laws' home, my husband is asking me to make another one.  Enjoy!

P.S. -  soon I'll get back to writing gardening and farming articles....it's snowing right now, so I'm just not in the mood for those yet.  ;-)


  1. Oh I love these stories - I am so nostalgic. The cake looks delicious and um, you kind of had me at breaded & fried asparagus anyway?? My Husband's Italian Grandmother was Concetta {"connie" or Chet"}. She passed away about 3 yrs ago but we learned so much from her.
    Pinning and have a great week!

  2. Hi Claire! Thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Concetta....that's a great Italian name. I love it! And yes, the asparagus was dipped in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and then fried...delicious. I even used that one on my daughter when she was little!
    Thanks for pinning...that's something that I have to find time for. Enjoy your week and I hope the weather has warmed up some for you in Florida!

  3. This looks delish, Nancy! Love the story that you told with it. I'm going to keep my eyes open for that cookbook. I'll try to help you with the linking pages thing. I'm going to pin this!

  4. Amy - I've seen the book at Amazon... Glad you liked my story and thanks in advance for any help you can give!

  5. What a treat this post was ( and no pun intended ) :) Fun to see the old cookbook and your decadent cake!

  6. Thanks for stopping by Deb! I really enjoyed writing this post too. It was a lot of fun. Something else...our coffee pot recently broke so I pulled out that same grandma's stove-top coffee pot from "WearEver." My grandfather used to sell them back in the 20's and 30's to help make ends meet...my mom was one of six children.

  7. great recipe. I can use it at sea level? to add the flour and milk are beaten or incorporated these ingredients. Excuse my writing but I speak Spanish


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