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Cocoa, nuts in fabulous cake

The Baltimore Sun

Joy Johnson of Hamilton, N.J., was looking for a recipe for a chocolate-pistachio cake that she thought was originally published in McCall's magazine in the 1980s.

Several readers had the original recipe from the January 1984 issue and from the McCall's cooking school series of the same time. Betty Blecki of Timonium kindly sent in a color photo copy of the cake recipe complete with step-by-step picture directions.

Once you make this cake, it's easy to understand why so many readers held onto the recipe. The finished cake is a showstopper. This one looks and tastes so good your guests may not believe that it's homemade.

Cocoa-Nut Layer Cake

Serves 12

CAKE: 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup boiling water

1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts or walnuts

1 cup heavy cream


1/3 cup light cream

1/3 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 2/3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (divided use)

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts or walnuts

Cake: In a small bowl, mix cocoa with boiling water. Cool completely. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch layer cake pans. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat at high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping side of bowl.

At low speed, blend in flour mixture, in fourths, alternating with buttermilk: begin and end with flour mixture; beat just until smooth.

Measure 1 2/3 cups batter into a small bowl. Stir in finely chopped nuts; pour into a prepared pan. Add cocoa mixture to the remaining batter; mix until smooth; divide evenly between other pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on rack, remove from pans; cool completely. Whip heavy cream until stiff; refrigerate.

Frosting: In a saucepan, heat light cream until bubbles form; remove from heat. Add the hot cream to butter, cocoa, 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, corn syrup and vanilla.

With portable mixer or wooden spoon, beat frosting until smooth. Add remaining confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth and thick enough to spread.

To assemble cake: Place one chocolate layer on cake plate, right side down; spread with half of the whipped cream. Place the nut cake layer on next; spread with rest of whipped cream.

Top with remaining chocolate layer, right side up. With spatula, spread chocolate frosting on the sides and top; garnish top edge of cake with the coarsely chopped pistachio nuts.

Per serving: 631 calories, 7 grams protein, 31 grams fat, 18 grams saturated fat, 87 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 101 milligrams cholesterol, 247 milligrams sodium

Recipe Request

Janet Gross of Dayton, Ohio, is looking for a recipe for Pressure Cooker German Potato Salad. It contains cooked bacon, perhaps onion, sliced potatoes, seasoning, yellow mustard and vinegar.

If you are looking for a hard-to-find recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail Names and addresses must accompany recipes to be published. Letters may be edited for clarity.

The nutrition analyses accompanying recipes in today's Taste section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.

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