Cocoa Fudge Cake #PartyLikeAMadMan

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

Classic Fudge Cake

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. The moist, tender cake, iced with the creamiest of cocoa buttercream frosting, is baked in a 9 x 13 pan and 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.

Cocoa Fudge Cake | Easy and outrageously delicious!


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 cake recipe 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.

Cocoa Fudge Cake | Easy and outrageously delicious!

Cocoa Fudge Cake #PartyLikeAMadMan #Giveaway

Serves 15-20 servings     adjust servings

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 55 mins

A scrumptious chocolate cake from Betty Crocker circa 1965


  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

For Frosting

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 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. Add butter, buttermilk and vanilla and beat for a couple minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Add eggs and beat for 2 more minutes, scraping sides of bowl often.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or till center of cake bounces back when pressed with your finger.. Cool pan on wire rack.
  5. When cake is almost fully cooled, make frosting.
  6. 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).
  7. When mixture is cooled, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. You may thin frosting with a little milk if desired.
  8. Frost cake.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 345kcal Calories from fat 100
% Daily Value
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 270mg 11%
Carbohydrate 61g 20%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 47g
Protein 4g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
Did you make this recipe?
Leave review!

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


A Cookbook Giveaway (Closed)

Even though I was barely a tot at the end of this Mad Men era, I don’t recall these sorts of shenanigans when my parents entertained. There were plenty of martinis and old fashioneds, though. This cookbook highlights the foods of the era, whether eaten at one of the legendary Manhattan restaurants frequented for business rendezvous or dishes cooked up when one of the characters threw a party. They’re all a blast from the past and highlights include Mint Juleps, Oysters Rockefeller, a variety of canapes, hearts of palm salad, chicken Kiev, and pineapple upside-down cake. I cannot wait to cook my way through this cookbook.

Along with this scrumptious cake recipe, I’m giving away a copy of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Dine Like Draper and Drink Like Sterling with More Than 70 Recipes from the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants Seen on Mad Men. Just follow the Rafflecopter prompts below to to enter. Open to those with a US or Canadian mailing address only. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Follow the Rafflecopter prompts to enter; and make sure to answer the mandatory question in the comments below. Good luck!

Check out all the Party Fare!

Cocoa Fudge Cake | Easy and outrageously delicious!


  1. Now I’m craving for a slice of this ! Looks gorgeous Liz !

  2. Hello Liz! I love The Original Frosted Ronrico West Indies. I found it on a web 2 years ago and keep preparing it once in a while!

  3. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

    When I make Sweet and Sour Chicken/Pork I use an old recipe from the 50’s from Better Homes and Gardens:@) Your cake looks really good… sharing the recipe?
    Have a great week Liz!

  4. So perfectly frosted!

  5. I love television and literary inspired dishes. I’m not nearly caught up on Mad Men (there are so many seasons), but I could totally celebrate it’s return with this cake. 😀

  6. This cake is perfect. Just what I like for chocolate cake, nothing too fancy. My mom makes an old school tater tot casserole I inherited. If I told her it was retro I am not sure if she would be proud or offended.

  7. What a beautiful cake! I have fond memories of those old-fashioned cakes my mom used to make, and yours looks so much like that style.

  8. This looks like the perfect any time cake.

  9. One of our progressive dinners was a Mad Men theme, boy I could have used this cookbook back then! None-the-less I would love it now because those retro recipes bring back such fond memories.

  10. So glad to have you also participate in this virtual dinner and amazing cocoa fudge cake. Enjoy the end of the season!

  11. That looks like the perfect chocolate cake. My dad would love it. Favorite retro recipe? Sure love my Grandma’s Zucchini Cookies.

  12. DeeDee Burns says:

    My favorite retro recipe is for chicken pot pie from my mother’s old betty crocker cookbook.

  13. how cool that there’s a mad men cookbook! This cake is the perfect thing!

  14. The idea that a vintage recipe is relevant today just blows my mind. And first of all is chocolate cake of course! That thick buttercream is amazing! And so is mad men…

  15. Be still my heart, that frosting looks dreamy! I’d love a nice big square of this cake 🙂

  16. Wow! Liz! that looks so scrumptious.
    It’s late at night in my area and I just need a slice right now!

  17. I don’t really know any retro recipes except maybe jello?

  18. I never really got into mad men but this cake looks ah-mazing!

  19. This fudge cake is OUT OF CONTROL, Liz! I am loving every moist crumb of it and wish I had a plate in my face right now!

  20. Jenny (VintageSugarcube) says:

    That cake looks dreamy and then some. I think the recipes from the 60s are fantastic.

    I hope we get to meet in person one of these days.

  21. Love this cake. If it was in front of me, i would totally devour it! I do remember those foods from my parents generation. I remember all the cocktail parties and fun they used to have. What I don’t remember is this cake! My mother must have kept it all for her! Hope you are doing well, Liz.

  22. It looks so chocolatey and divine!

  23. This is soooooo exciting, I didn’t know there was a Mad Men cookbook. Love it!
    I have a 5 day weekend starting Thursday, going to get my bake on, adding this beauty to the list. Mmmm! I really dig that you’ve almost got a 50/50 split with the base & the icing.

  24. My favorite retro recipe is Beef Wellington. I never tire of it.

  25. Haha! I love the Mad Men description you gave–classic. As is this cocoa fudge cake! Holy cripes, Liz, this is exactly what I needed to inspire me this week 😉

  26. This cake looks amazing! I love Pinapple Upside Down cake 🙂

  27. Brittany Koelmel says:

    I still make a chicken soup that my grandma found in her mothers cook book. Its a recipe over 80 years old!

  28. i simply love all your chocolate desserts, All look divine.

  29. Don’t know if it’s retro or not but a classic chocolate sheet cake – like the one my Nona – used to make might be a fave…FUN looking cookbook. Hope I win!

  30. I really need to get a hold of this book as it sounds fantastic! I also loved that show. It’s only morning here but I’d love a big slice of this cake 😀

  31. I love cakes that bake and are iced all in one pan because they are indeed perfect to bring along for a potluck! Yours looks divine, Liz. My favorite retro recipe is probably meatloaf, or perhaps Salisbury steak. I’m apparently all about the ground beef. 🙂

  32. Corn syrup is not an ingredient readily available in Australia. Is there a good substitute? Thanks.

    • Hi, Melissa, I think Lyle’s is a decent substitute or honey (though the latter will be a little sweeter). Hope you give this recipe a try!

  33. My favorite retro recipe is a Jello recipe that my mom made very often because we loved it so much. It was called Lemon Bisque, and I haven’t made it in ages! I think I may just have to take a trip down memory lane and mix some up! 🙂

  34. Always much alcohol flowing in MM. They could have used more cake and milk.

  35. This chocolatey cake looks delicious, I wouldn’t mind a bit bite 😀

    Happy Easter!
    Choc Chip Uru

  36. This looks so good!

  37. Claudia Lamascolo says:

    Curt me a bigger piece please!!! YUM!

  38. Claudia Lamascolo says:

    wow this sounds fabulous and with that cold glass of milk a bonus! Everyone would gobble this up!


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