A Vintage Holiday Chocolate Cake

I am an avid collector of recipes! It’s a wonder I don’t bombard your subscription with them, but I really do try to refrain.

However, as I was making my food list for the upcoming Thanksgiving Dinner, I couldn’t help but get stuck on this one in particular. So far as I can tell, the original version of this recipe was issued by Hershey, over a hundred years ago! (I could be wrong about that, since, as we know, the internet does sometimes get things wrong!) 🙂

Still, the various recipes I have found for this particular chocolate cake do have some changes in them, depending on who’s making the cake. This particular variation is my own, with a few changes here, and a few changes there.

Please note the helpful hints you’ll find after the recipe. If someone had shared them with me, things might have gone more smoothly for me the first time!

Vintage Chocolate Cake Recipe


2 C flour (all purpose)

2 C granulated sugar

1 C cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 C milk (can use buttermilk for a richer flavor)

2 eggs (large)

1/2 C vegetable oil (can also use melted coconut oil)

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 C boiling water


  1. Prepare by heating your oven to 350 degrees F and spraying two nine-inch cake pans with baking spray. You can also grease the pan with butter if you choose, then lightly dust with flour.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt and cocoa in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk thoroughly to completely combine, or use mixer to completely combine all ingredients.
  3. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract to the flour mixture. Mix until completely combined. *Reduce speed to CAREFULLY add boiling water, allowing to mix until completely combined.
  4. Divide batter between two cake pans, place in preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, at which time a tooth pick can be inserted. If it comes out clean, the cake is done!

You can frost with your choice of amazing frostings, but I love chocolate buttercream myself. Cream cheese frosting is also amazing on this particular cake, as is a nice homemade caramel drizzle.

Important Notes

*On adding the boiling water… make SURE you reduce the blender speed, if you are using one. If you don’t, your thinned batter will splatter all over the place. Also, note that your batter will look a lot thinner than what you’re use to, especially if comparing with a boxed cake mix. The first time I made this recipe, I really worried that it wouldn’t turn out because of this, but believe me when I say, it will be just fine!

*On frosting your finished cake… Allow to cool completely before beginning. This cake is so moist and delicate that it will flake off if you frost it warm. It’s not a huge problem if you’re using chocolate frosting, but it can mar the color of a lighter frosting.

*This cake can be frozen… If you want to make this cake in advance, or make extras for quick serving at another time, you can freeze them. Just mix and bake according to the directions and cool. Then wrap first with plastic wrap, wrap again with foil and place each layer separately in freezer bags. They will keep for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to frost and serve them, just allow them to hang out in the fridge all night.

*Using larger, rectangular pans… You can also use this recipe, but bake it in a sheet pan or a 9X13 casserole dish. This makes it easy to transport to dinners and functions, without worrying about shifting layers!

If you missed other posts from this series, we invite you to follow >>>November 2018 Series IntroductionNovember series 2018 b


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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