Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wellesley Fudge Cake: Retro Ad & 2 Recipes

This Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe from an Ad in a 1941 Life Magazine makes a great Double Chocolate Cake! Yes, the name of this cake does come from Wellesley College. This recipe purports to go back 100 years ago when the founder of Wellesley College said "Pies, lies, and doughnuts should never have a place in Wellesley College." The college was not going to be known for house wifely skills, but rather a place of 'higher' learning for women. However, the women who attended Wellesley did make secret fudge. The thick fudge frosting is terrific.

Since I'm posting a 1941 recipe, feel free to update with different chocolate or try my favorite recipe for Wellesley Fudge Cake from Cook's Country (scroll down).


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (see note)
16 tablespoons sweet butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 tablespoons sweet butter, cut in half, and softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch-square cake pans. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in bowl; set aside. In small bowl, whisk hot water with cocoa powder until smooth; set aside. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add cocoa mixture and vanilla until incorporated.

Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Heat 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, salt, and ½ cup evaporated milk in large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, 4 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and turned deep golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Slice remaining butter into 4 pieces and stir in with remaining evaporated milk until mixture is slightly cool. Add chocolate and vanilla and stir until smooth. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Place 1 cake square on serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake, then top with second cake square. Generously spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate cake until frosting is set, about 1 hour. Serve.


Anonymous said...

In DC Woodward & Lothrop department store's restaurant/bakery always had nuts in the frosting, I think walnuts.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Woodies bakery did have nuts in the frosting. My mother would always get the Wellesley Fudge cake at Woodies for any special occasion. Today is her 98th birthday and I am going to try my hand at this. Thank you for the nuts post, because I do remember nuts in the frosting.

JoyceK said...

Giant Food bakery department also sold this cake in the late 50s-60's and they always put a whole walnut in the center of their cakes, which were rectangular. IT was my favorite cake! I have made it several times from scratch using the first recipe, and have found it to be a little dry; put the frosting made it still great. I like the buttermilk in the second recipe; think it would make cake moist!