best ever chocolate cake, fudge icing, pecan fudge frosting

Grandmother’s Chocolate Cake

best ever chocolate cake, fudge icing, pecan fudge frosting

For as long as I can remember, we’ve been making the same birthday cake in my family.

We call it Grandmother’s Chocolate Cake.


It is a buttermilk chocolate sheet cake with a pecan fudge icing.  You serve it with vanilla ice cream.  It is even more perfect if you also have a cup of coffee.  Some prefer it with a glass of milk.

We have a LOT of birthdays in our family (because there are a lot of folks), so this cake gets made many times every year.

When my brother, sister and I got married, my Grandmother made sure that we each had our own cake pan and cake server.  Just for this cake.

I even got a cookbook from my aunt as a wedding gift with the recipe hand-written into it.

Since it is my birthday and Whitney’s birthday AND my mom has a birthday two days after ours, we got together this week to make this cake.  Four generations and a cake recipe in my mother’s kitchen.

Even though it is the same time-tested recipe, we all have our own little twist on it.

The original recipe calls for shortening and margarine, which my Grandmother would not dare deviate from.  My mother uses all margarine, and my sister changed it to butter for her bakery.

Anna and I melt the chocolate on the stove.  Mother uses the microwave.

I chop the nuts with a big chef’s knife.  My mama uses a paring knife and cuts each one individually, so they are all uniform. I don’t have the patience to cut pecans that way, but I really do think it tastes better somehow.

While we were mixing up the cake, my mother gasped when I almost added the vanilla at the “wrong time” and my grandmother kept telling my mom that the frosting was not going to spread if she didn’t thin it with a little more milk.  There was also debate about whether or not you allow the cake to cool before you pour the icing on it.

make a chocolate cake with four generations

In the end, it was delicious as always and we laughed that we were getting to eat it hot, because usually the cake is made the night before a birthday party.

The cake was gone before today, so probably we’ll just have to make another one.

And now you can make one too, because I am happy to share this heirloom recipe with you for the very best chocolate birthday cake. Ever.

Grandmother’s Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 cup butter (or 1 cup margarine or 1/2 cup margarine and 1/2 cup shortening)

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting Ingredients:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

6 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup butter (or 1/2 cup margarine)

1 pound powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-2 cups chopped pecans


Melt together chocolate, butter (or margarine and shortening) and water.  Remove from fire and add sugar, flour and salt.  Mix with mixer until smooth.

Add eggs.  Mix well.

Mix buttermilk with baking soda.  Add to cake mixture.

Add vanilla.

Mix again and pour into large cake pan that has been greased and floured.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

While cake is baking, make frosting.

Melt chocolate, butter (or margarine) and milk together.

Remove from fire and add powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts.

Mix well and pour over cake.


A big thank you to Whitney for taking the pictures of us making this delectable cake!

And thank you Ziploc for providing all those cutie little VersaGlass containers that are holding the cake ingredients.  I will be giving some of those away very soon, so check back to enter!



  1. Happy Birthday my sweet friend!!!! I love this entry about your “sweet” cake. What a blessing to make it with those wonderful women in your family. I’m sending you a huge hug today (since I missed actually sending you something in the mail!). I was going to email you a little note but I have lost your email address somehow. So please send it to me when you get the chance. Mine is My prayers are with you today for loads of blessings!!! You have blessed so many…including me. All my love, kelly stephens

  2. Happy Birthday Alison, Whitney and Julie. love this post. The chocolate cake looks wonderful but better yet is the thought of all you women in the kitchen “discussing” how to do it right! 🙂 Sounds like fun.

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