Mother’s Day Chocolate Cake

It’s a time to remember and to celebrate the mothers in our lives. It’s always fun to make a special meal or to eat at a special restaurant when the weather is starting to turn warm and temperate.

Mother’s Day in the United States was given birth by Anna Jarvis of West Virginia in the early 1900s. It was conceived as a day to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children. With the collaboration of the department store owner John Wanamaker, who held a Mother’s Day event, the holiday was off and running.

Jarvis started a letter-writing campaign promoting a special day for mothers. By 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Ironically, however, as time passed, Jarvis became disenchanted with the commercialization of the holiday. In fact, by 1920 she had become its biggest critic. Once candy, flower and card companies capitalized on its popularity, Jarvis worked diligently to see Mother’s Day removed from the American calendar.

Here’s a favorite chocolate cake recipe, which is always popular for Mother’s Day. It’s one of my favorites.

Mother’s Day Chocolate Cake (Adapted from the celebrated cook Ina Garten)


2 Tbsp butter
1¾ cups flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup brewed coffee

Chocolate Frosting:

6 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 extra large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1½ tsp water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans.

3. Using parchment paper, trace two outlines of the cake pans.

4. Place a sheet of parchment into your pans.

5. Butter and flour the pans again with parchment in the bottom.

6. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer using paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.

7. In a separate bowl or large cup, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

8. Slowly add the brewed coffee. Mix just to combine. The resulting batter will be thin.

9. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pans for 30 minutes. Check to see if done with a toothpick. Turn them out on a rack to cool.

10. Measure out your chocolate for the frosting, and place in a heat-proof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

11. Next use your electric mixer and paddle to beat two sticks of butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy. Add the egg yolk, the dissolved instant coffee and vanilla, and continue beating for three minutes.

12. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar. Beat the frosting to remove clumps. Continue beating at medium speed until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Then add chocolate and beat until combined.

Frost the cake:

Place the first cake on a flat plate. With an offset spatula, spread with frosting more than a ¼-inch thick. Place the second layer on top and spread frosting evenly on top and sides of the cake. So good…

Chef Allan Zox

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