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Special Occasion Chocolate Cake

In my family, we have that one ultra-special cake recipe. You know the one: it’s the one everyone looks forward to eating on birthdays. The one that seems almost too easy to make, and is so good!

Perhaps I am committing a big crime by sharing this recipe with you, but I must admit that it isn’t even a secret family recipe. It actually comes from the Hershey’s chocolate cookbook.

Aside from it being easy and only needing 15 minutes of prep time, the cake itself has a delicate crumb, extra moist, and almost black it is so rich with cocoa. Along with the classic chocolate icing, which is chocolatey and velvety smooth, you too will make this a family tradition! It is the perfect birthday cake, in my opinion, as it is ultra-indulgent. After all, how can you call it a special occasion if the cake isn’t indulgent?

I chose to make this cake both for Mother’s day, but also my Mother’s Birthday: both which happened to have fallen on the same day this year. I topped it with some wild-grown lilac flowers for a simply decor, but feel free to dress it up as much or as little as you would like.
Double-cheers to you, Mom! This is your ultra-big day 🙂

Special-Occasion Chocolate Cake (Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake)


– 2 cups granulated sugar
– 3/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup milk (I use 2%)
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 cup boiling water
– 2 tbsp raspberry jam (optional– like my Grandma used to always do, I like to add jam between my cake layers instead of icing because it adds a nice flavour enhancer!)


1. Preheat oven to 350F, and grease and flour two 9-inch round pans
2. Stir together the sugar, cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed with a hand mixer for 2 minutes.
3. Add the boiling water and stir carefully by hand until it is all incorporated. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Allow the cakes to cool for at least ten minutes before inverting them on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
5. Make the icing while you wait for them to cook down (see below)

Icing the cake
a) I always add strawberry or raspberry jam between the two cake layers to add a delicious flavour variation
b) Ice the cake only when the cake is completely cooled, otherwise you risk having it break apart as you spread the icing.
c) Garnish ideas? I like to add flowers, such as the currently-blooming lilac flowers, for decoration! But feel free to add sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or even cookie crumbs.

Perfectly Chocolatey Icing


– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (I use salted butter)
– 2/3 cup cocoa powder
– 3 cups powdered sugar
– 1/3 cup milk
– 1 tsp vanilla extract


1.  Melt the butter (I did it in the microwave, but you can do it on the stove top too if you prefer), and add the cocoa. Stir until uniform in consistency
2. Alternate between the powdered sugar and the milk, using a hand mixer to stir it all together (I did it in three batches: so one cup of sugar, blend, a splash of milk, blend, another cup of sugar, blend, etc)
3. Add a small amount of milk if needed to obtain the consistency you desire (go by teaspoon amounts!). Add vanilla extract, and mix well.

Recipe makes about 2 cups of icing
(if you choose to use jam in the middle, you will have a good amount of icing leftover. You can store it in the fridge if you like for future use)