Hershey’s Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Birthdays are a big deal around here. Our motto is simple: Everyone should feel special on their birthday. The birthday boy gets to pick out every meal and every activity, and for that one day a year, we all go along with a smile.

My youngest son Andrew is a traditionalist. He expects the same thing every year, more or less. He expects to wake up with a mylar birthday balloon greeting him in his room. He expects to come downstairs to his favorite breakfast of all time, cinnamon buns and bacon. And he expects a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, made by his mother’s loving hands.

We have tried store bought cakes in years past, and while they blow me away in the razzle dazzle department, the boys quickly figured out that they don’t taste all that great (exception: Wegman’s Ultimate Chocolate Cake). Mom’s cakes taste good, but they aren’t fancy looking. Despite having pretty nice handwriting on paper, it somehow doesn’t translate to birthday cake writing. Delicious but folksy, that’s how we roll.

This is my standard chocolate birthday cake recipe. I’m not gonna lie — it isn’t theeeee best chocolate cake you’ll ever taste. It is a decent cake which holds up well to frosting, and it is Andrew’s first choice, which makes it good enough for Mom Mom’s Apron.

Hershey’s Chocolate Cake


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
Editorial rant follows:
There is no excuse whatsoever to not make your own buttercream frosting. Few things in life are easier or more satisfying.  And unlike baking, it is not an exact science, so there is plenty of room to adjust for personal preferences of thickness, sweetness, etc.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
2 to 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 to 2 Tablespoons of whole milk, half and half, or cream
On low speed, mix together  2 cups sugar and butter. Stop to check for sweetness, and add more sugar if desired. In my opinion, 2 cups is plenty sweet without being diabetic-coma-overbearing, but many people like it sweeter. Gradually increase speed to medium and continue mixing until smooth. Stop mixer, add vanilla and one T. of milk, then beat for another minute or so. Add more milk if too thick. Let your birthday boy lick the beater.

4 thoughts on “Hershey’s Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

  1. Your cake recipe is very similar to a family recipe we have used for years…. Aunt Ro’s Chocolate Cake – it calls for brewed coffee instead of hot water. You will not detect a coffee taste in your cake. The coffee promotes a richer, moist cake!

    We like to use buttercreme cream cheese icing with ours….. 4 oz. cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, 1 pound confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a few tablespoons of milk. Give it a try!

  2. Pingback: Let Them Eat Cake | Mom Mom's Apron

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