I have now made this recipe multiple times with slight variations (to follow), and this cake is a universal success. It never lasts more than 48 hours at my house, and is requested by family and friends alike. It has become known as "that special chocolate cake you make" (I can't get it to go red with the food colouring available where I live, so it usually comes out light brown). My teenage son's friends even ask if I've baked one when they come over. Yes, it is that good, and thank-you, Eleanor Johnson!
Tips: Double the frosting (or icing or butter cream). Do not try to shorten the sugar-dissolving time by cooking it with the milk/flour step, as it will fail. Add the cooled "pudding" a tablespoon at a time, and beat, beat, beat. 1/2 cup of oil as opposed to shortening is sufficient for tenderness. I find that the full cup suggested elsewhere results in an excessively oily consistency. The shortening in the original recipe is fine too though. The vinegar/ baking soda as a leavening agent results in a uniform surface, which is really nice, as opposed to the doming from baking powder cakes.
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I have now made this recipe multiple times with slight variations (to follow), and this cake...