Aunt Sabella’s Black Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing

  • Serves

    makes 1 8" cake


We adapted the cake recipe from How America Eats and topped it with a frosting also in the book.



  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 5 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 14 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks


  • 2 14 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 tbsp. hot freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 12 tsp. vanilla extract


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350º. Melt chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a small pot of gently simmering water over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove bowl from heat and set aside until chocolate is cool. Meanwhile, grease an 8" square cake pan with 1 tsp. of the butter and set aside. Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Stir baking soda into buttermilk in another small bowl and set aside.

Step 2

Beat sugar and the remaining 5 tbsp. butter together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, then add melted chocolate and beat until thoroughly combined. Add one-third of the flour mixture, then one-third of the buttermilk mixture, beating well after each addition. Repeat process to use all of both mixtures, then pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack to cool in pan, then invert onto a cake plate.

Step 3

For the frosting: Sift confectioners' sugar and cocoa together in a medium bowl. Stir in butter, then coffee, then vanilla, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until frosting is smooth. Ice top and sides of cake with frosting.

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