Make the BEST Chocolate Cake


HOORAY! You might remember that when I interviewed Interior Designer Laurel Bern, she talked about her famous Chocolate Cake That Will Make You Plotz and I wondered, along with all of you, if she would share her secret recipe? Well, she did! And….provided a story to tell along with it.

Here’s how Laurel got the recipe for her by now world famous cake in her own words:

“We moved from NYC to northern Westchester County in 1991 shortly before my first-born turned one. I found a charming bakery in Katonah (yes, Martha Stewart country, but she wasn’t there back then) and ordered a chocolate cake for his first birthday. It was the most delectable chocolate cake I had ever eaten. Even better than my mom’s and that is very tough to beat!

I ordered another chocolate cake a year later for his second birthday. Now, I’m addicted. Every other week or so, I’d pick up a couple slices for us to enjoy. But several months later, I noticed that the cake was different. It was still good, just not as good. About 3 weeks before my son’s third birthday, I went in to order a cake, but I said to the clerk that I wanted the “old recipe. She said, “We’re not making it anymore.” I said, “Why not? It’s the best chocolate cake in the universe!” She said, “We’re not making it anymore, we were having problems with it.”


I said, “Okay, if you’re not making it anymore, can I have the recipe?” She said, “no.” I walked out of the bakery disgusted. Two weeks later I walked into the bakery again and this time there was a different clerk, so I thought I would try anew. Same story. Remembering my Mom’s wise lesson, I said, “Is the manager in?” The manager appeared, and I said, putting on my most charming smile, “I understand that you’re not making the old chocolate cake anymore and if not, I’d love to have the recipe for that cake. It’s my son’s third birthday coming up and he loves it to bits; I’ve gotten him that cake from here for every birthday so far.”


She left and came back a few minutes later and handed me the recipe and said, “Here it is but it’s the recipe for six cakes; that’s all I have.” I said, “Thank you so much! I’ll figure it out.” And I did… since then I have made dozens of these cakes. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Valentine’s, Gifts…They vanish very quickly.

This cake is wonderful to use to get anything you want. A raise, a proposal of marriage, a new kitchen… and your children will think that you walk on water. (for about 30 minutes)

Chocolate Cake That Will Make You Plotz:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


1/4 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of canola or other cooking oil
1 stick of salted butter

3 eggs (room temperature)
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift Together:
2 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt

3/4 cup buttermilk (room temperature)


1. Put the first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan and stir it, bringing it all to a gentle boil and then remove from heat to cool, thoroughly.

2. Line two or three 9″ cake pans with waxed paper and grease (I like to grease under and over the waxed paper and the sides of the pan and I use some softened butter for this)

3. Beat the eggs until fluffy and add the sugar and vanilla.

4. Add cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat gently.

5. THEN add 1/3 of the flour mixture and alternate with 1/3 of the buttermilk, and beat slowly, but don’t over-beat each time, alternating and finishing with the buttermilk

6  Pour into the pans

BAKE:  30 minutes and test (if using three cake pans, test after 20 minutes) The center should be very slightly wet, but it might need a bit more time in the oven. Do not over-bake!


1-1/2 sticks of butter room temperature (unsalted)
3/4 box of confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup or so of cocoa powder

Mix really well. This is not rocket science and you can adjust ingredients to taste.

Ice the cake (but wait for it to be nice and cool) and enjoy.

It’s even better on the second day! It does not need to be refrigerated, (unless it’s going to be out for more than a few days) but it does freeze really well. You can even freeze the cakes if you want to make in advance and then frost later. But defrost the frozen cakes first before applying the icing.)

I’m so thankful, now thanks to Lauren we can all have the BEST Chocolate Cake ever!  To serve up your cakes in style, a cake stand makes a beautiful presentation.

Here are some beautiful ways to showcase your gorgeous Chocolate Cake

Ribbon Rose Cakestand {also in pink}

rosecakesetAntique Rose Cake Set


Antique French Cake Pedestal


French Country Checked Cake Stand {also in RED}


And finally, the dream of every Ironstone Collector:

19th Century Ironstone Cake Pedestal

Happy Baking!


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15 thoughts on “Make the BEST Chocolate Cake”

  1. This looks and sounds wonderful! I can’t find a way to print or Pinterest this delicious cake. Help!

    1. Pat, if you hover over each photo, a little bar will pop up on the right corner of the photo, one of the choices is Pinterest. Just click that. At the end of the post is a pinable image that includes the title. Lidy

  2. Interesting! You know, there’s all kinds of debate about butter vs. oil cakes. Even mayo (which basically is oil and eggs, so it just goes in the oil camp). All about crumbles vs. moistness…..And your recipe has BOTH. What a diplomatic way to solve that!
    My grandma swore by strong coffee in the batter–you don’t taste the coffee itself but it makes the chocolate seem more chocolatey.
    I’ll have to try this out. I like the Sweetapolita chocolate cake, but am not against flings with other recipes.

  3. Thank you so much, Lidy. I need a chocolate cake in my arsenal. This looks fantastic!


    1. You are welcome, Jane, I was thrilled that Laurel agreed to share this! xo

  4. Thank you Lidy! The recipe reminds me of my mother’s chocolate cake which I have baked several times over the years — and she got the recipe from a local newspaper a long time ago! One thing about recipes, they can be SHARED 🙂 Well done to that bakery shop manager for giving Laurel the recipe…..I mean, look how a little thing has spread a whole lot of joy…..and chocolate <3

    1. You are right, Jeanne, thankful that the manager shared the recipe, and also that Laurel was persistent!

    1. I’m taking Laurel’s word on it that it IS! Happy Baking my sweet friend.

  5. Lidy,

    It’s soooo good that my now 26-yr-old son learned to make it. If you knew him you would understand how huge that is!

    And don’t forget. It’s even better the next day! xoxo ~ Laurel

    1. I’m hoping that it will work just as well with gluten-free flour, Laurel. Because I’m dying to try it!

  6. Rebecca

    The cake sounds as good as its name! How to resist something called Chocolate Cake That Will Make You Plotz?! Thank you so much for sharing — I have a child with a birthday next week, we’ll have to give it a try!

  7. I’ve been holding on to this recipe to try it for my husband’s birthday. I just read the recipe again to make sure I have all ingredients. I have two questions: Will using salted/non salted butter make a difference? And, it says 3/4 box of confectioners sugar. Am I to assume that is a 16 oz box? Mine is in a bag! A quick Google search says there are 3 3/4 cups in a 16 oz box. So should I use approximately 2 and 7/8 cups of confectioners sugar? Thanks for your help, this looks delicious!

    1. Hi Jayne, there is a difference if you use salted/ unsalted butter in most recipes. I’m also assuming that is a 16 oz. box, so you will have to do the math to make sure it’s the same as your bag. 🙂 Happy Birthday to your husband!

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