Updated: August 2022
Everyone has their favorite chocolate cake recipe that they swear by and Grandmother's Cake-in-the-Pan is it for my family.
The icing is divine, but the cake is the absolute best chocolate cake I've ever had, frosted or not frosted.
There are a few unusual instructions while putting this batter together.
First of all, you use shortening. It makes a big difference in the very tender texture of the cake.
Then, you stir the baking soda into the buttermilk before adding it to the batter. Be sure and use a bowl to do this, because it will foam up!
I made the mistake of adding the soda to a measuring cup full of buttermilk and ended up with Mount Vesuvius.
The foamy buttermilk mixture is also important to the texture of the cake. Don't skip that step!
The icing is cooked on the stovetop - be sure and pay attention to the exact times to cook it on a low boil.
Oh, and be patient when beating the mixture. It will take at least a good 10 minutes to cool down as well as thicken up.
I like it a little more creamy than Bret does, so I add a bit of evaporated milk at the end of beating to get it to that texture.
Grandmother's Cake-in-the-Pan is a dense, but tender cake and the icing is thick, chocolaty and fudge-like.
As you can tell by the name, this is Bret's precious Grandmother's recipe. Unfortunately, she's no longer with us, but she had a loving, long life, passing away at the age of 102.
You can see from the photos how the icing melts into the top of the cake a little. That's because you slather on that rich icing while the cake is still warm.
This is so great with a tall glass of cold milk. I really hope you try this one.
If you like this cake, you might also like the incredible Siren's Chocolate Cake recipe
- 2 ½ C sugar
- 1 C Crisco, (do not use butter)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 C buttermilk
- 2 ¾ C flour
- ½ C cocoa
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 C boiling water
- Chocolate Icing:
- 2 oz cocoa, (about 2 heaping tablespoons)
- 2 C granulated sugar
- ⅔ C evaporated milk
- ½ C Crisco, (no substitutions)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13x9” cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and shortening, then add eggs and mix well. In a small bowl, put soda into milk and stir. (It will foam up quite a bit).
- Sift flour, salt and cocoa together into a large bowl. Pour milk mixture alternately with flour and cocoa into the sugar/shortening mixture. Add vanilla.
- After all has been mixed, add boiling water and mix on low till blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake pulls slightly from the edges and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 10-15 minutes, then ice while cake is warm.
- Start the icing while the cake is baking: Add Crisco, salt and milk together in a large saucepan on medium-low and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Mix sugar and cocoa together and add to the saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil (stirring all the time) then boil for exactly 2 minutes gently. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Beat the icing with mixer until ready to frost cake (it may set quickly after it's ready, so keep beating until ready to frost).
- If it should get too thick, you can add a little evaporated milk and mix in. (You will need to beat the icing for a long long time - 10 to 15 minutes - to get the thick, creamy consistency correct, but worth it!)
Tips and Stuff:
Go exactly by the recipe, including shortening and time listed to make the icing.
Depending on your oven, you may want to take the cake out earlier - you don't want to bake it too long.
Be sure your mixer is on very low when adding the boiling water for safety (it might slosh out otherwise).
Be patient when beating the icing - it takes awhile to get thick and creamy. Sometimes I do it with a hand mixer, but usually with a stand mixer.
By the way, the cake got it's name from the grandchildren - it was Grandmother's cake-in-the-pan that they got when they visited her!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 225mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 1gSugar: 47gProtein: 4g
Nutrition Values are Approximate