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When Ceci’s daughter Susan (right) comes home, Ceci makes her childhood favorites like cherry pie with a pinch of mace or classic Chocolate Cake.

“I have made this Chocolate Cake since my children were little,” says Ceci Droll of Golden, Colorado. “Would you believe my first daughter, Barbara, will be 72 this year?” she laughs. That makes Ceci’s delicious from-scratch cake a tried-and-true recipe indeed!

“Barbara was three when her dad, Robert, went down with his ship during WWII,” Ceci continues. “After that I was a Rosy the Riveter at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California.”

Eventually Ceci met her second husband, Edward. “He was also a sailor,” she says. “On our first date I took my daughter with me. Edward’s people were in Colorado so when he got out of the Navy, we settled there and had four more children.”

All of Ceci’s kids loved their mom’s baked delights.

Today her daughters cherish coming in the door to meet the familiar aromas of the treats they grew up with, like homemade cherry pie (Ceci’s secret is adding a pinch of Penzeys mace) and this classic Chocolate Cake.


Ceci's Chocolate Cake

Few things bring greater joy to the Penzeys photo studio than shooting chocolate cake (except eating it).


  • 3/4 Cup plus 2 TB. Water
  • 3/4 Cup COCOA POWDER
  • 3/4 Cup butter (11/2 sticks)
  • 3 eggs
  • 11/2 tsp. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 13/4 Cups flour
  • 1/4 Cup cornstarch
  • 11/2 Cups sugar
  • 11/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
    Icing:
  • 6 TB. butter (3/4 stick)
  • 6 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 4 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Cup plus 2 TB. hot milk
  • 2 tsp. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease three 8-inch cake pans or one 9x13 pan and dust with cocoa powder. If you only have 9” cake pans, you can use them but the cake will be a bit thinner. In a small sauce pan, bring the water to a boil. Place the cocoa in a small bowl. Add the boiling water. Add the butter and stir until melted. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, VANILLA and 1/3 of the cocoa mixture. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add the remaining 2/3 cocoa mixture and beat just until smooth. Add the egg mixture a little at time and beat until just smooth. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes for 8-inch pans, a few minutes less for 9” pans, and 30-35 minutes for a 9x13 pan. When done the center will spring back when lightly touched, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn onto wire racks to cool completely.

While the cake cools, prepare the icing by melting the butter and chocolate in an oven-proof bowl in the still warm oven or in a small saucepan on low heat. Sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the hot milk and beat until smooth. Add the VANILLA and melted butter and chocolate and beat on low for about 5 minutes until very smooth. Cool to room temperature and frost the cake. Serve and enjoy! Homemade cakes are best eaten within a day or at most two, as they have no artificial moisteners or preservatives to keep them from drying out once cut. A covered cake plate can help, as can patting plastic wrap into the cut edge.

Prep. time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 18-35 minutes depending on pan size
Serves: 16-24

Nutritional Information: Servings 20;
Serving Size 1 slice (102g); Calories 310; Calories from fat 100; Total fat 12g; Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 290mg; Carbohydrate 54g; Dietary Fiber 3g.

Ceci's Chocolate Cake



Need any spices for this recipe?

Description Price Quantity
Single Strength Vanilla 4 oz. Bottle $13.99
Natural Cocoa Powder 4 oz. bag $3.45