If It’s Not Chocolate, Why Bother? #3

Disclaimer: I’ve posted this recipe before. But since my mama’s chocolate “mud” cake recipe ranks in the top 3 of all my favorite chocolate recipes, it’s worthy of repeating, especially if you didn’t catch it the first time!

We use this recipe for nearly every birthday cake in our family. Rumor is that my brother even has his wife bake this cake for him on my birthday, even though we live hundreds of miles apart! I’m not sure whether I should feel deeply honored or deeply disturbed by that…

Anyway, until just a few years ago, I was certain my mother had all but invented this recipe. If you saw the frayed edges and spatters on her blue recipe card, you’d understand how I came to that conclusion.

But then one day while baking the cake, I noticed a cake recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa container. The title claimed it was “Perfectly Chocolate.” Immediately, I thought, “Ha! Perfectly chocolate whatever! These Hershey folks have not seen the likes of my mama’s chocolate mud cake.” So just for fun I compared the ingredients and now I almost wish I hadn’t.

I was utterly shocked — and somewhat deflated — to find the two recipes were identical! And since I don’t recall the Hershey folks ever snooping around my mama’s kitchen, I can only conclude they must have played some significant role in the recipe’s development. Since the recipe calls for nearly 1.5 cups of cocoa — if you count what’s in the frosting — I suppose I should have seen this coming. Although, in my defense, you should know that I come from a long line of bakers and my great-grandparents were the Hiersches.

Mama’s Chocolate “Mud” Cake (aka, Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • chocolate frosting (recipe follows)
Directions:1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. (I only soften mine so my icing stays fluffy and easier to decorate with.) Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

The appliances/tools I use for this recipe are my KitchenAid Mixer and my Wilton Desssert Decorator Pro. Hint: The cupcakes look prettiest when baked in brown or black baking cups.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s