Recipe Review

This 1950s “Feathery Fudge Cake” Will Make You Feel Like a Pastry Chef (But It’s So Easy)

published Apr 24, 2021
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Credit: Sara Tane

The latest buzz around Reddit’s neck of the woods is this vintage “feathery fudge cake” with a chocolate satin frosting. For several months now, Nana’s Devil’s food cake has been all the rage on the “Old Recipes” subreddit, but there’s a new chocolate cake in town, and it’s this stunner from the 1950’s Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

The thing that really caught my eye when I read the recipe is that it listed 1 1/4 cups of ice water as an ingredient. Water? In a cake? Instead of milk? My own curiosity got the best of me, and I knew I had to give it a whirl. Here’s how it went.

Credit: Sara Tane

How to Make Reddit’s Feathery Fudge Cake

The preparation for this cake was similar to most: the wet ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs, melted chocolate, and vanilla extract) are creamed, and then the sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) are gradually added. The only slightly irregular addition was the 1 1/4 cups of ice water. Most cakes I’ve baked call for whole milk or buttermilk as their liquid component, but a quick Google search told me adding ice water to cakes is very much a thing. Apparently this method keeps the fat in the cake batter from melting, thus yielding an ultra fluffy rise.

Once the cake batter is made, it’s divided between two greased cake pans and baked in a 350°F oven for 35 minutes. Making the frosting is a bit more tedious, because you have to beat it in a bowl set over another bowl of ice water, but it’s worth it: this technique helps bring the frosting to the perfect spreadable consistency. Once the cakes have cooled, you can frost ‘em and you’re done.

Credit: Sara Tane

My Honest Review of Reddit’s Feathery Fudge Cake

I was not prepared for how much this chocolate cake would boost my baking confidence. I typically start conversations by letting people know I’m not a great baker. Hi, I’m Sara from Long Island and while I love to cook, I don’t know much about baking, nice to meet you. But after making this cake, I’m starting to question that notion. Wait a second, have I actually been an incredible baker all along and just not realized it? I’m mostly kidding. But this chocolate cake afforded me a handful of very flattering compliments about my baking abilities, and being that my love language is words of affirmation, these comments are truly priceless. 

The cake was light and fluffy, yet still super moist. When it comes to eating cake, I’m all about the frosting, and this frosting didn’t disappoint. It was super smooth and had the perfect amount of chocolatey richness. Together, the cake and frosting were just the right amount of sweetness. My roommate even said it was the best chocolate cake that she’s ever had!

Every now and again, I’ll embark on a kitchen project where I end up impressing myself, and this was one of them. I couldn’t believe how little effort I put in to achieve such delicious results. Yes, the frosting was slightly time-consuming, but other than that, everything was extremely manageable. Start to finish, it took less than 90 minutes to bake and assemble the cake. In my mind, cake-making is a day-long kind of endeavor. Not this one!

Credit: Sara Tane

My #1 Tip for Making This Reddit-Famous Cake

Okay, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to at least one baking blunder during this cake-making extravaganza. (Luckily, this one was salvageable). When you line your cake pans with parchment paper, don’t do what I did and just crumple up a sheet and hope for the best. Instead, follow these instructions for lining a round cake pan with parchment, which will prevent little creases from forming along the edge of your cake. I was able to cover mine up with frosting, but it could have easily been avoided. Other than that, this cake is pretty foolproof!

Have you tried this 1950’s Feathery Fudge Cake? Let us know in the comments!