Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lucy Burdette's Best Mocha/Chocolate Frosting for Mother's Day #recipe

Hamming it up over my dad's birthday cake

LUCY BURDETTE: Happy Mother's Day everyone! We are grateful for all the mothers in our lives, in what ever form they came--mothers, grandmothers, aunts, stepmothers, friends, sisters... Now on to cake:)... 

My mother loved to eat and to read and loved her family and her pets. But she did not love cooking. Of course she did cook most every night for our family of six. 

And she did love to celebrate birthdays. Each birthday person was allowed to choose the cake of his or her desire. We were predictable. My father always chose yellow cake with mocha icing. My older sister and I always had angel food cake with whipped cream as the frosting. My mother didn't like cake, so we made her tapioca out of a box.

But I've been thinking about that yellow cake, so cake it will be for my retro Mother's Day contribution. I suspect my mother's cakes came from a box, too, as the 50s and 60s were the age of convenience foods. (And how could she have made food from scratch when she had a full-time job and four children and 3-6 pets?)

This frosting is basically chocolate with coffee added instead of milk. If you don't like the taste of coffee, skip the coffee and replace it with milk. If you want a more intense chocolate flavor, add more cocoa.


2/3 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder, sifted
Two sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons strong coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla

After sifting the cocoa powder, beat in the unsalted butter until fluffy. Now and one cup of confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon coffee and beat well. When the mixture is combined, beat on high for one minute. Repeat that procedure with the other sugar and coffee. Then beat in 2 teaspoons vanilla and taste for sweetness.

This batter may look familiar and that's because I'm crazy, crazy for this yellow cake:). It's the perfect host for chocolate frosting, delicious without being overpowering. I found this in the BACK IN THE DAY BAKERY COOKBOOK, which I highly recommend for your cookbook shelf.

Ingredients for the cake

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cup cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup milk 
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two cake pans.


    Mix all the dry cake ingredients in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add cool cubes of butter, a few at a time, and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time, mixing well but minimally after each.
 Mix the milk with the extracts.

    Add 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until combined. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.



  Distribute batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans (well buttered and floured.)

Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake springs back when touched, about 25 minutes. (check for done-ness with a toothpick or wooden skewer.)

Cool for ten minutes in the pans, then remove the cake to a plate to cool completely.  Then ice as usual, beginning with the middle, layering the second cake on top, and icing top and sides. 

Happy Mother's Day!
Lucy with her mother, circa 1969

When she is not blogging and cooking, Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries

Fatal Reservations, the sixth book in the series, will be in bookstores on July 7, but you can certainly order it now!


  1. Thank you for the recipe. The cake looks scrumptious!

  2. Lucy, your cake pictures and memories brought back my own mother better than any recipe ever has - thank you! Mine was much like yours - she was an outdoor woman, and only cooked to keep us alive. Cakes were not her thing--pies were. But one cake she did make well and often looked just exactly like yours. I look at that picture and I feel 13 again, coming home from school to the smell of freshly-baked cake, perching on a stool with an impossibly huge chunk of it and a glass of cold milk. Thank you so much!

    1. I'm so glad it brought back good memories for you! That's a great description--she only cooked to keep us alive. There's a lot to juggle for a mother, right? And we never quite appreciate all they did at the time...

  3. That sounds so delicious. I'm going to have to make it.

    1. Let me know how it turns out Dawn. Make sure you have company coming because it's a HUGE cake:)

  4. So enjoying the memories, photos and recipes, this week! As for that mocha icing, I could eat it alone, without cake! :)

    1. Thanks Patricia! I'm usually more crazy about the cake than the icing, but this was delish:)

  5. My favorite cake is the classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting. /considering how yummy mocha is, this should be a winner!

    A cake tip--If you want to be sure the two layers are even, use a kitchen scale to get the same amount of batter in each pan. Obsessive? Yes. But it works.

    1. that's a great idea Libby! will try that next time. Lucy the lopsided:)

  6. I love the photos! Your mother is lovely, and you're adorable. My mom always let us choose our birthday cakes, too. What fun memories. I'm going to try your frosting the next time I bake a cake.!

  7. Everything about this is lovely, Roberta! What a warm-hearted and yummy post.



  8. The recipe sounds so yummy I've copied it to try later---thanks so much for sharing. By the way, your kitchen looks exactly like the one I grew up with! :-)

    1. Hope you enjoy it Nicole! I bet all the kitchens looked alike back in those days--avocado or gold appliances too LOL

  9. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting an absolute classic. (And you know I'm gonna love that coffee version!) Thanks for sharing with us, Lucy, especially the wonderful photo of you and your mom. Loved it. ~ Cleo

    1. thanks Cleo! of course you'd like the mocha:) xo

  10. I wonder if chocolate cake would be too much with this frosting. Silly me, never such a thing as too much chocolate.

    1. I think it would be great with chocolate cake. Usually I make a chocolate sour cream frosting with my chocolate cake, but this would be a winner too!

  11. Cute picture of you and your mom!! Cake looks Delish!
    Daryl / Avery

  12. Love the pictures of your family! Thanks so much for inspiring me to make the mocha frosting--I have all the ingredients, and a yellow cake mix that I just might make for Mom this Sunday! She loves mocha anything.