Feb 03, 2020

Chocolate Joy Cake . . . The Sweet Way to Your Loved-Ones Heart (and Stomach)

By MaryAnn Miano

February is a month to express our love, and what better way to do that than with a treat made from universally loved chocolate? The history of this delectable, creamy and silky-smooth confection is fascinating.

The Aztecs of Mexico had been drinking a cold, frothy liquid so bitter and strong that when the Europeans tasted it, they nearly spit it out. The Aztecs called it “chocolatl” and said it came from the cacao tree. No European had ever heard of it, for the cacao tree was found wild only in tropical America.

That cold drink the Aztecs enjoyed was unsweetened chocolate, and they had been drinking it for hundreds of years. They had no sugar to sweeten it with until the Spaniards brought sugar from Europe. When sugar met cacao, delicious chocolate and cocoa was born!

The fruit of the cacao tree is a large pod. Inside the pod is a sweet, watery, white pulp in which the cacao beans are embedded. The beans are hidden in pods about the size of almonds, and they need to be dried before they can be processed. The bean must ferment and cure, and after being dried, the bitter bean has its papery shell removed. What remains are called cacao nibs, the real raw product for making chocolate and cocoa. Candy makers today add more cocoa butter to the naturally high-fat nibs along with sugar to balance the bitterness.

What is the difference between cocoa and chocolate? Cocoa is chocolate with most of the fat removed, while chocolate has an added measure of the fat which has been extracted from the cocoa.  Try the following cake recipe for a memorable dessert and to get to the hearts (and stomachs) of the ones you love:


Grease and flour…

  • 2   8-inch or 9-inch layer cakepans or 13-inch by 9-inch oblong pans
  • Stir until thick…½ cup boiling water3 squares unsweetened chocolate (3 oz.), melted


Cream together until fluffy… (Beat 5 minutes high speed with electric mixer or by hand)

  • ½ cup soft shortening
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs (1/2 to 2/3 cup)
  • Cooled chocolate mixture

Sift together…

  • 2 ¼ cups sifted SOFTASILK flour (or any cake flour product) or
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sifted Gold Medal flour
  • 2 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt

Mix in alternately with… (Use low speed on mixer)

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Beat just until smooth.
  • Pour into prepared pans. Bake in 350-degree oven. Bake layers 30 to 40 minutes and oblong pan about 45 minutes. Cool. Finish with a chocolate or fudge icing.


  • Melt 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate.
  • Blend together 1/3 cup soft butter and 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar.
  • Stir in until smooth about 3 tbsp. cream, 1 ½ tsp. vanilla and the melted chocolate.