Grandma Hannah’s Blue Apron Chocolate Heaven Cake

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By Cheryl Day

I come from a long line of bakers or “sweet tooths” as my mother used to say.
As long as there was butter, sugar and eggs in the house, we always had something sweet.
I can’t think of anything more delightful than making sweets. To this day when I put on one of my many vintage aprons, I am instantly transported to the sweet smells of my grandmother’s kitchen and my favorite blue apron. 

When we were young, every summer my parents would pack up my sister Natalie and I and Max, our dog, in the station wagon to drive across country from Los Angeles to “down south” Alabama for the family vacation. I can still recall how excited I would get to dig through her kitchen drawers to pick out one of her perfectly ironed aprons.  I knew that meant we were about to do some serious baking for family and friends.

I had never seen cakes like the ones my grandmother used to make.  All of the bakeries that I visited back home made fancy cakes, but Grandma Hanna’s homespun cakes were beautiful, moist, and delicious.

This is the very first cake that I learned to bake and I still make it at the bakery today. Learning to bake from scratch, she would say, is a life lesson of patience and perfection. Beginning with the process of gathering all of the ingredients, letting them come up to room temperature, measuring precisely, and mixing it with loving hands is what gives it the perfect texture rather than a tough cake. I loved watching her beat the batter by hand in a big ceramic bowl. I can still recall having to count the many turns of the big wooden spoon.

I suppose there is a certain mystique that comes with baking, but with a few simple techniques and the proper tools, it is the most comforting way to spend an afternoon.  I always love reaching into the pantry for just a few simple ingredients, and in just a short time enjoying delicious homemade treats that create comfort and joy.

Chocolate Heaven Cake

Yield: 12 big slices of heaven

Ingredients:
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
4 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup oil
9 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups strong, fresh brewed coffee

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of three 9” cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl place chocolate and pour hot coffee and vanilla.
Let stand about 2 minutes to melt the chocolate then stir until smooth.

ln another bowl whisk together eggs and oil until well blended and light in color. Whisk in sour cream, then melted chocolate mixture.
Add chocolate sour cream mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed while gradually adding in thirds. Mix until just until incorporated scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fill prepared pans two thirds full. Bake cakes 40-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool then decorate as desired.

Chocolate Heaven Frosting
Ingredients:
3 sticks unsalted Butter at room temperature
2 TBL milk
1 teaspoons vanilla
9 ounces melted semi sweet chocolate
2 1/2 to 3 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Directions:
Mix butter and milk until smooth and creamy
Add vanilla just until incorporated
Add melted chocolate until completely mixed
Gradually add sugar until you reach the consistency of frosting.

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Reader Comments:

54321

Thanks Paula for sharing this recipe. I will bake this on my daughter's birthday. One question - what does TBL mean in the frosting ingredient. Is it tablespoon? Just want to make sure. Thanks. I love your show and your family.

By Vicky Garcia on January 06, 2013

54321

THERE IS NO BUTTER IN THE CAKE RECEIPE BECAUSE YOU ARE USING SOUR CREAM. BUT YES THE AMT. OF BUTTER IS CORRECT FOR THE FROSTING. LADIES IT IS A LAYER CAKE, U NEED THE BUTTER TO GET A CREAMY FROSTING, OR YOU CAN USE STORE BOUGHT. HEAVENS FORBID, WE ALWAYS MADE OUR OWN BACK IN THE DAY. HEY GET OUT AND TAKE A WALK AFTER U HAVE DESSERT THEN U WON;T FEEL SO GUILTY. OR BY THE WAY BOBBI DEEN COME UP WITH A LIGHTER VERSION OF THIS CAKE. CHALLENGE IS ON . ROSEMAIRE HERDMAN IN CT.

By RoseMarie herdman on May 07, 2012

54321

My THIS DOES BRING BACK MEMORIES OF MY MOM AND HER BOWL AND BEATING THE CAKE MIX WITH A LARGE WOODEB SPOON. MY FIRST HAND MIXER I GOT FOR WEDDING GIFT FROM MY FIRST GRADERS IN DECATUR, ARKANSAS. I STILL WEAR APRON AND LOVE WHEN I CAN FIND A VINTAGE ONE. I MADE APRONS FOR GRANDDAUGHTERS. 2 LOVE TO COOK WITH THEIR DAD. AGES 14 AND 11. AND THEY ALL LOVE GETTING IN THE KITCHEN WITH GRAM-MA-MA. SO GET IN THE KITCHEN WITH SOMEONE AND BRING BACK SOME OF THOSE MEMORIES WITH YOUR MOM OR GRANDMOTHER. IT WILL MAKE YOUR DAY AND EATING THE YUMMIES LATER WILL JUST BE THE ICING ON THE CAKE. ROSIE IN CT. FORMALLY FROM OZARKS OF ARKANSAS

By RoseMarie Herdman on May 07, 2012

54321

By Anonymous on January 11, 2011

I looked on the internet at my mama’s house for a dessert recipe and found this recipe. I and my sister are not particularily fond of cakes but this cake was delicious! Mama happened to have all the ingredient at home, great since they live 30 min from any store! It was so moist and rich. I plan to make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas party at work. I did half the amount of chocolate squares in the cake mix.  Really recommend this cake recipe. It took me a while at home to find the recipe again on the internet. (I’m not a great computer person! but persistent!)

By Teresa on November 20, 2010

I would eat anything Chery or Paula Baked even if it had 6 sticks of butter in it.
I love Back In The Day Bakery. I am her new groupie

By Janice on October 22, 2010

I have no idea where I got the 4 sticks of butter from .... hmmm, guess I needed more sleep if I can’t read the directions right. Sorry! smile

By Amberlouise on October 13, 2010

There is no butter in the cake. The recipe is correct as it is printed.

By Lisa the Admin on October 13, 2010

Hi Everyone,
About the butter problem. It calls for 3 sticks in the frosting. I don’t read anything about butter in the cake directions.

By vanessa boysel on October 12, 2010

Hi all,
Ok, so is there 4 sticks of butter in the cake and 3 in the frosting????  Butter, plus the oil??
Thanks.
Carol

By Carol Coirier on August 25, 2010

I want to try this Chocolate Heaven cake also. I am confused about the butter myself. I hate to beat a dead horse. Can someone clarify the amount of butter in the ingredients. I wan t to make this cake with my grandaughter.
Thanks

By Georgette on August 23, 2010

paula,

i have a apron that was hand made…the strings were extra long for women of size. i love it and
its very comfortabe with extra large pockets in the front. you could profit by a line of pretty
aprons with these features. i like black and white stripe patterns…accent with red. just
a suggestion….love your news letters and receipes.

ann wilson

By ann wilson on May 19, 2010

That cake looks so yummy, wish I could eat it. But unfortunelty I’m allergic to eggs. Do you have any cake recipes that are eggless?

By Sharon Caldwell on April 18, 2010

Was the answer to the butter issue ever resolved?  Does the cake call for butter or not?  The recipe for cake does not have it but everyone keeps saying it does.  HELP!

By Linda on April 17, 2010

Hi! Sorry to rehash the butter comment, but where does it call for four sticks? I didn’t see any butter under the cake recipe and only three for the frosting…..this cake looks amazzzzzing and i would love to get it right! thank you!!

By Mama D on April 02, 2010

I so want to try this recipe….but, ok, how much is a stick of butter in grams and what is cake flour?  I’m not just confused, but am salivating!  Please help.

By Laura on March 29, 2010

I have a question ... on the sticks of butter Cheryl states it calls for 4 sticks of butter but the frosting in the recipe calls for 3 ... confused. Please help!

By AmberLouise on March 24, 2010

I’m so excited to try this recipe because I am a HUGE fan of Back in the Day. How much butter and chocolate go into the frosting? Thanks—can’t wait to try this heavenly cake!

By Alison on February 01, 2010

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm