Wellesley Fudge Cake aka The BEST Chocolate Cake Ever!
This recipe is my families favorite chocolate cake recipe. I have made it countless times now. Everyone agrees, the fudgy frosting is the best part! However I think my niece loves this cake more than anyone else. My niece always requests this cake for her birthday every year. She also thinks that for everyone’s birthday they should also have it because then she gets to eat it too!
The original recipe calls for you to make it in two 8×8 inch square pans but I make mine in a 9×13″ pan instead because it is easier & you end up with a thick layer of frosting on top. I also cut the recipe in half & make it in one 8×8 inch pan which works out great when you are feeding only a few people.
This recipe calls for an ingredient that you may not be familiar with if your like me, Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder. However it is easy to find, every grocery store should carry it, its located next to the regular cocoa powdered. I use Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa, if you read the label it says it is Dutch-processed. *Note* You use the Dutch-processed cocoa powdered in the cake but regular cocoa powder in the frosting.
- -THE CAKE-
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup hot water
- ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (or make your own buttermilk with vinegar- see below*)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- -THE FROSTING-
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1½ cups packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup half and half (or heavy whipping cream)
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips (like ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips or you can use semisweet chocolate chips)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- The Cake: Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Grease a 9x13" baking pan. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside.
- Using a small bowl, whisk hot water, vanilla, & cocoa powder until smooth.
- Using an electric mixer beat the butter & sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 1 egg at a time. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, until combined. Reduce speed to low & slowly add cocoa mixture until incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 25-30 min (mine usually takes longer) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- The Frosting: Sift together the powdered sugar & cocoa in a bowl, set aside.
- In a large saucepan heat 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, salt, and ½ cup half and half over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens slightly and turns deep golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in remaining butter & remaining half and half until butter is melted. Add the chocolate chips & the vanilla and stir until smooth. Slowly whisk in the bowl of powdered sugar & cocoa. Wait a couple minutes for it to cool then spread on cooled cake. Wait for frosting to set, then serve. (You can put it in the frig to help it set faster)
*To make one cup of buttermilk use one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar and add enough milk to make one cup. Let mix stand for about five minutes and you have a buttermilk substitute.
(This post contains amazon affiliate links) recipe adapted slightly from Sifting Focus
Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting…it doesn’t get much better than that! Looks delicious!
Megan - The Emotional Baker says
Oh goodness! This cake looks fabulous! You can’t go wrong with chocolate on chocolate ;)
Made this cake and it was so good and moist we didnt even have time to frost it before it was gone!!Next time we will frost it..thank you..
Glad you liked it! I guess I should specify that if you pipe it, to just sprinkle chocolate chips on top :)
Hi Cherie, I’m glad you liked this cake, it’s a favorite with my family. I am sure they would love the fudge frosting too!
I have been looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe for a long time, and now I have found it :)
I made this with the hershey fudge icing recipe, but not for any real reason other than the fact that I never have buttermilk and half and half at the same time. I will also definitely half the recipe next time!
I’m so glad you liked the recipe! :) I make half a recipe all the time when I’m just making it for a couple people. It is hard to have both buttermilk & half & half on hand at the same time, I sometimes substitute regular milk for buttermilk & also sometimes use heavy whipping cream instead of half & half with this recipe.
It is! Can regular milk be used instead of the half and half?
I have never tried subbing milk for half & half in the the frosting. The only thing I have done is use heavy whipping cream instead. You probably could use it, it wouldn’t make the frosting as rich or creamy & you would want to add less milk because it is more watery especially if your using skim or low fat milk.
I made this cake for the first time yesterday and it is AMAZING!! My dad is absolutely in love with it and my kids can’t get enough. This recipe is definitely a keeper and I’ll make this for years to come!
So glad you liked the recipe! My family really likes this one too!
Does this cake work as cupcakes? :)
Hi Kylie, I’ve never tried making cupcakes with this recipe but most cake recipes can be made into cupcakes. The baking time would need to be decreased though & they might not be as moist.
CJ Powers says
Nope, not the original recipe. Almost, but not it.
I’m glad you thought it was close to the original recipe. The end results will very depending on what brands of chocolate you use also.
Mary Hopkins says
I made your frosting today and it was amazing!!! So good and worked great with my chocolate cake!
Hi Mary, Glad you liked the frosting. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!