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Mom’s Chocolate Cake

Posted by on 1 March 2009

chocolate cake

For many, many years, I’ve been trying all sorts of recipes for chocolate cake. I’ve tried magazine recipes. I’ve scoured the internet. But I keep coming back to this recipe mainly because it doesn’t require any extraordinary ingredients (just the stuff I normally keep in my pantry) and the method is quite simple.This is also the recipe that I used for making the twins’ Beach Cake.

Mom’s Chocolate Cake
(from AllRecipes.Net) 


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening (or butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup hot, brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.

Put the shortening (or butter) into your mixing bowl…


…and beat until fluffy.


Pour in the sugar about 1/3 cup at a time and beat until light and fluffy. (This step is often referred to in cake recipes as ‘creaming the sugar and shortening’.)

add sugar

 Add the eggs one at time…

add egg

…and mix well.

add egg

Do not overbeat. When you reach this consistency, it’s time to stop beating.


Stir in the dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda) alternately with the wet ingredients (milk and vanilla extract) a little at a time, approximately about 1/3 cup each time.

wet & dry

 Make sure you scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl every once in a while using a spatula.


If you have some vanilla beans on hand, split the vanilla bean open with a knife, taking care not to cut all the way to the other side.

vanilla bean

Open up the bean and scrape out the creamy black gold hidden inside, using the back of a small knife…

scrape the vanilla bean

…and put it into the batter.


Don’t throw away the used vanilla bean. Chuck it into your sugar pot to make your sugar wonderfully vanilla-scented. Vanilla-scented sugar is absolutely delightful with tea!

For the boiling coffee which the recipe requires, what I do is take a Pyrex (glass) measuring cup, put in a cup of water inside, then add some instant coffee. I then put it inside the microwave. Once it has boiled,  I take it out and pour it into the batter…

add coffee

…and mix using a spatula until just combined.

mix with spatula

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

pour the batter

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Do not overbake so as to keep the cake moist and soft.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before taking out from the pan. Allow to cool completely on a cake rack before decorating with icing.

Quick icing option: melt some cooking chocolate and spread all over the cake, then decorate with coloured sprinkles and/or chocolate chips.

All ingredients follow the original recipe at AllRecipes.Net. It’s only the method that I’ve modified. The original instructions simply read:-

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Cream the sugar and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the cocoa, milk, flour, baking powder, boiling coffee, baking soda and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. 

Tips For Making The Perfect Cake:-

  • Cake-decorating may be an art but cake-making is a science. Measure/weigh your ingredients carefully. If you watch cooking shows on TV, chefs like Michael Smith and Jamie Oliver may wing it when cooking stews and soups, but when it comes to cakes, they take out their measuring cups and weighing scales and use the exact amount of ingredients required for the recipe.
  • All ingredients must be at room temperature. Take out your butter, milk and eggs from the refrigerator some 15-30 minutes prior to mixing so that they can be at room temperature by the time you start making your cake.
  • When measuring your ingredients by cup or tablespoon/teaspoon, level the ingredient using a knife or the handle of spoon. Do not press down the flour/sugar/baking powder/baking soda. Do not shake the cup to make the flour settle.
  • Always preheat your oven, at least 15 minutes before putting in the cake. I usually turn on the oven just before I start mixing the ingredients together.
  • If the recipe asks you to grease and flour a pan, do so before you start mixing the ingredients. This way, you can straightaway pour the batter into the pan right after you finish mixing the ingredients.
  • Mix in one direction. My mom has taught me to do this ever since I was a little girl and I’ve always done this. I’m not sure what the reason for this is, but come to think of it — all stand mixers only mix in one direction.

Trivia: If Malaysia were to hold a competition for ‘Most Popular Cake’, the chocolate cake would win hands down. That’s one of the things I noticed when I first came here — Malaysians just looove chocolate cake.

17 Responses to Mom’s Chocolate Cake

  1. kg

    ang sarap! i also follow just one recipe for chocolate cake. but I want to try this. is the cake itself moist? gusto ko kasi yung moist yun mismong cake eh. :)

  2. Mimi

    if you bake it just right, as in when the delicious smell starts to waft from the oven, and a toothpick comes out clean, it ends up very moist. i usually put the cake on one of those wire cooling racks upside down (the rack goes on top of the cake, i turn the pan over and let the cake sit on the rack). it’s so moist, it sticks to the wire rack. but if you overbake it, the longer it’s in the oven, the drier it gets, naturally.

    i do have a recipe for moist chocolate cake somewhere. but for that recipe, you have to grease the pan really, really, really well, or else it will stick and the shape will be destroyed.

  3. kg

    thanks! looks yummie to me! :)

  4. Susan

    the 1st time i try to bake the cake without preheat my oven. When done, cooled the cake and turn. FOund out in the middle is not cook at all. Put into the oven and bake again. When done, cooled it but the side is very hard.

    So try for 2nd time, i preheat the oven for 20 mins then only put in the cake to bake but still the same in the middle not cook.

    Can anyone tell me what is wrong? My oven is Genki.

  5. Mimi


    preheating is very important. i usually turn on the oven the moment i start mixing the cake so that by the time i’m done, the oven should be ready.

    maybe your pan is too small, hence the cake is too thick. if you suspect this could be the case, try using 2 smaller pans, preferably of a size that can fit side by side in your oven so you can cook 2 cakes at the same time, but not too big so that there’s some space for air to circulate on the sides and the middle.

    if that still doesn’t work, another possibility: your oven’s heat might not be even. this happens with my oven and what i usually do is to wait for the cakes to take on a solid form, then i open the oven gently and rotate the pans, and close the oven door gently. important: don’t open the oven when the cake hasn’t solified and/or risen yet. and don’t keep on opening the oven because it will alter the temperature.

    good luck! let me know how it turns out.

  6. jane

    hello to all ,,,my cake is the most terrible cake over the world,a stone cake,,, so hard like a stone but inside soft like a porridge..i dont know whats wrong.walang kumain except the monkeys sorround us,,mabuti na lng maraming unggoy sa damansara..

  7. caryn

    i’ve been looking for a good chocolate cake recipe. the ones over here are just too dry ;-( i’ll try this out this weekend. Thanks Mimi! ;-)

  8. Angelina

    HI…I wanna try this recipie but I need to ask, how much is 1 cup?? Can you give me specific measurements?? Thanks! =)

  9. Mimi

    Angelina: I use a set of measuring cups that one can buy from any supermarket or specialty baking needs shop. They come in a set with 1 cup, 3/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup. I also use a Pyrex glass measuring cup for liquids — particularly useful when I boil the coffee in the microwave before pouring it into the batter.

  10. salmaabas

    Would you mind sharing the recipe?

  11. Mimi

    Sure, Salma.

  12. flora

    i love cakes so i try many type but my cake did’t show up i was very sad until i try your is very nice …

  13. flora

    cn u help me how 2 bake a cake cos i m still 19 years old

  14. Mimi

    Hi Flora. I learned how to bake cakes by watching my mother ever since I was a little girl. Maybe there’s a baking shop near you that offers baking classes? Or you can also try or YouTube for step-by-step videos on how to bake a cake. Good luck!

  15. esme

    Mimi, may i know which type of oven you using? wanted to try out someday, but i often faces the problem with my oven. i don’t know to set the fire in the upside, middle or lower? any recommend? thanks

  16. Mimi

    All this while, I’ve been using a gas-powered oven — you know the one that comes attached with a stove on top, so the fire is from the bottom.

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