Queenie Cooks: The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

By Terry Harris

When I started thinking about what to share this week, my first thought was, “Hey! We’ve been talking about summer vegetables so much, it’s time to share something chocolate! 

I have tons of chocolate recipes.  But, I thought, “Well, it needs to be really good.” Again, simple, right?  Because most any chocolate cake, pie, cookie, or candy is going to be pretty good, right?

The problem is that what I really like is to share extra-special recipes.  So today, let’s talk about my often-requested but seldom-shared recipe for the most popular cake I’ve ever made - my bodacious Hershey Chocolate Cake! 

Let me begin by saying that this is NOT a pretty cake. It occasionally kind of droops in the middle.  (But you can disguise that with some extra nuts and icing!)  And it isn’t fancy, because it only works in a 9x13 pan. But here’s the secret - you have to keep/serve it in the same pan you bake it in because it’s SO moist it doesn’t “cut pretty” – due to the sixteen ounces of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup stirred into the batter. 

That’s right.  The same yummy stuff you used to use to make chocolate milk as a kid goes into this wonderful cake.  But that’s STILL not the REAL secret.  Ready?  Once you get the cake itself made, you top that with a boiled icing into which you melt three whole Hershey Bars.  Just pour that all over the top of the cake, and the result?  Seriously, I long ago lost count of the number and types of cakes I have made and served and shared and this one never, never, never lasts long enough for me to even know how leftovers taste.  I’ve never had any.  Period. 

It’s truly not hard to make. In fact, it’s a simple, one-bowl, cake.  It even uses self-rising flour – which makes it even easier to prepare! 

It is a little challenging the first time, to tell when it’s done, but here are a couple of tips. If you rely on just the toothpick test, A) you don’t want to wait until there are no crumbs on the toothpick because it will be dry and B) if you stick a toothpick in the cake too soon, the cake will fall – so don’t just randomly start sticking it halfway through. (Yeah, I’ve done that, too, but don’t tell!)   

The recipe says 30 minutes, but ovens vary, and for mine – which runs hot – I have to reduce the heat and cook it longer. So, in my wonky oven, it usually takes closer to 45 minutes.  Just use your middle rack and begin watching it through the little oven window at about 30 minutes or until the top looks like it’s almost dry around the edges.

Do not open the oven before 30 minutes are up no matter what, because if you do, it almost certainly will droop in the center. BUT… if it does, it’s not the end of the world.  Just sprinkle a bunch of pecans on top – mostly toward the center, cover them with a DOUBLE batch of the icing, and tell everyone it’s supposed to be that way. It will taste so good no one will care what it looks like.  I promise.  

And don’t let the old-fashioned boiled icing intimidate you.  This one’s EASY.  It’s also one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.  And when you add that to the cake itself, the whole thing is so moist and delicious – well, again, it’s not pretty, but anyone who likes chocolate will love this. 

It has a wonderful, old-fashioned taste that even chocolate snobs (which I can be myself) will find really special, and I guarantee you’ll be the hit of any family event, potluck, ANY place when you show up with this Hershey’s Cake.  Everybody loves it!  I hope you do, too!  Let me know what you think at smilinatyanow@aol.com? Enjoy!

Queenie’s BEST Chocolate Cake

1 C Flour self-rising flour

1 Cup sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 stick butter

4 eggs

Pinch of salt

1 – 16 oz can chocolate syrup

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add flour, baking powder and salt, vanilla and chocolate. Beat well. Bake in sheet pan 30 minutes at 350.

ICING

1 C sugar

1 stick butter

½ C canned milk

3 Hershey bars (small)

1 Cup (or more) Coarsely chopped pecans

Bring to a boil over low heat; boil 2-3 minutes. Take off heat and stir in 3 “regular” size Hershey bars. Pour over hot cake as soon as it comes from the oven. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.