There’s nothing more comforting than an old-fashioned Cocoa Fudge Cake topped with creamy chocolate icing. It’s SO easy to make (and eat)!

Created over half a century ago, this rich chocolate cake has definitely stood the test of time. Treat your family to this marvelous Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe ASAP!

Cocoa Fudge Cake on a square white plate with a glass of milk.

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Why You Must Make

This fudge cake is perfect for a casual family dessert, yet scrumptious enough for company. It was inhaled by my family and disappeared as fast as those I remember from the summer potlucks of yesteryear.

  • From a Betty Crocker recipe first published in 1965, this dreamy chocolate cake is the kind of dessert we zeroed in on at those pitch-in picnics of my childhood. It’s obviously stood the test of time!
  • It’s a moist, tender cake, iced with the creamiest cocoa buttercream frosting.
  • It’s baked in a 9 x 13 pan, making it perfect for a gathering of friends and family.

Recipe Endorsement:

From Joanne via the comments: Thank you for this fabulous recipe! My 24 y/o son said that this is the best cake I have ever made!!!!

Cake Ingredients

Cocoa Fudge Cake Ingredients with labels on a sheet pan.

Frosting Ingredients

Cocoa Fudge Cake Frosting Ingredients with labels on a metal sheetpan.

Ingredient Notes:

  • All-Purpose Flour – No need for cake flour
  • Granulated Sugar – Just ordinary white sugar
  • Cocoa Powder – I use Ghirardelli brand
  • Baking Soda
  • Table Salt – I prefer this over the coarser kosher salt for baking
  • Butter – I use salted butter; have it at room temperature for easy incorporation
  • Buttermilk – Makes for a moist cake. In a pinch, you can make your own buttermilk by combining 1 tablespoon of white or cider vinegar or lemon juice with enough milk to make a cup to replace 1 cup of buttermilk.
  • Vanilla – Must be real vanilla extract, never imitation
  • Eggs – I use large eggs in my recipes unless otherwise specified.
  • Milk – Used to thin frosting
  • Corn Syrup – Used to sweeten and make a glossy frosting
  • Powdered Sugar – Sifted so the frosting is lump-free

How to Make

Process shots number 1, 2 with labels for cocoa fudge cake.
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Mix in the rest of the cake ingredients except the eggs.
Process shots 3.4 for cocoa fudge cake.
  1. Beat in the eggs.
  2. Spread the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake as directed.
Numbered Process shots 5, 6 for cocoa fudge cake.
  1. Cool and frost.
  2. Slice and serve.
Cocoa Fudge Cake on a white dessert plate with a glass of milk.

Party Like a Mad Man

You’ve probably all heard the hype about the final season of Mad Men this year. Season 7 is split into two parts, and the last series of episodes,”The End of an Era,” premieres on Sunday, April 5th.

This chocolate snack cake comes from the cookbook, ]The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin. All the dishes in this collection have a connection to one of the Mad Men episodes.

For example, an iced chocolate cake like this beauty was whipped up by Don and Betty Draper’s daughter, Sally, after she received a frosting machine. The Sterlings had invited themselves over for dinner at the Drapers, and an inebriated Roger Sterling cornered Betty in the kitchen where she rebuked his advances. Much alcohol was flowing at this impromptu dinner party for four in Season 1, Episode 7.

Recipe Tips:

There are a few general rules that help with making a delicious chocolate cake like this old-fashioned Cocoa Fudge Cake. Check out my best baking tips post for more tips and tricks. Making sure your oven temperature is accurate is key. Newer ovens can be calibrated after you check the temperature with an oven thermometer. Compare the temperature you set your oven to the temperature on the thermometer.

  • Use quality ingredients, especially your chocolate and cocoa powder when making a chocolate cake.
  • Use room temperature eggs and butter unless directed otherwise. They will incorporate into the batter better than if they were cold.
  • Baking is a science so measure carefully. Weighing ingredients with a kitchen scale (affiliate link) gives the most consistent results, but if that’s not an option, scoop out ingredients like flour and sugar, and scrape off the top with a bench scraper or similar utensil.
  • An ingredient like buttermilk is a cue that the cake will be moist. Yogurt and even mayonnaise offer a similar effect.
  • I like to whisk together my dry ingredients so the cocoa powder, soda, salt, and flour will incorporate evenly when added to the wet ingredients. This prevents biting into a small clump of baking soda in your baked cake.
  • Do not over-mix when the dry ingredients are added to prevent over-stimulating the gluten and making a less tender cake. There are exceptions, so if the recipe calls for beating in the dry ingredients for a certain amount of time, follow the instructions.
  • Start checking your cake about 5 minutes before you think it might be done. Insert a toothpick into the middle. It should come out clean or with a moist crumb or two. Tapping the center of the cake with your index finger and watching for the cake to bounce back without leaving an imprint will also signal the cake is done.
  • Overbaking can make your cake dry.
  • When you start smelling your cake, that’s a clue that it’s almost fully baked.
  • Wait until the cake is fully cooled before frosting. Buttercream frostings will melt into the cake if it’s still warm.
Cocoa Fudge Cake  on a white plate with a red handled fork.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between a Chocolate Cake and a Chocolate Fudge Cake?

Expect a chocolate fudge cake to be richer and denser than a regular chocolate cake.

How Do You Store A Fudge Cake?

This fudge cake recipe can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days as long as it’s kept covered to prevent the cake from drying out. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months. Place slices or the remainder of the cake in a covered, freezer-safe container. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Why Do You Use Buttermilk in a Cake Recipe?

Buttermilk is slightly acidic, and it’s the acid that helps loosen the gluten bonds making a more tender cake.

What Do You Add Corn Syrup to a Frosting Recipe?

Besides adding sweetness, corn syrup makes the frosting rich and glossy.

You May Also Like:

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Cocoa Fudge Cake | Easy and outrageously delicious!

Cocoa Fudge Cake Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 20 servings

A scrumptious chocolate cake from Betty Crocker circa 1965.


  • 1 ⅔ cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

For Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan (or spray with Baker's Joy). Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add butter, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add eggs and beat for 2 more minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl often.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or till the center of the cake bounces back when pressed with your finger. Cool pan on wire rack.
  6. When the cake is almost fully cooled, make the frosting.
  7. Mix sugar and cocoa in a saucepan. Add butter, milk, and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and place pan in cold water (I fill my sink with ice and water).
  8. When the mixture is cooled, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. You may thin frosting with a little milk if desired.
  9. Frost cake.


If you don't have buttermilk on hand, for each cup needed add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a one-cup liquid measuring cup. fill the cup to the one-cup mark with 2% or whole milk. Mix and let thicken for a few minutes before using.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 247mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 3g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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By the way, my post won one of the photography awards at this Virtual Mad Men Finale Party!

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