Editor’s Note: On Nov. 21 Holly Eger wrote a piece that was published on the Editorial Page about making her favorite chocolate cake. She has since heard from a number of Gazette readers asking for the recipe. What follows is the recipe for Holly Eger’s I Love You Chocolate Sour Cream Fudge Cake.

Ms. Eger writes: “This recipe is based on one originally in Margaret Fox’s Café Beaujolais Cookbook. Café Beaujolais is a charming little restaurant on the coast of Northern California in Mendocino. I bought the cookbook in 1985 when Ed and I were in Mendocino for the first time on our honeymoon, and I have been making this moist and luscious cake for birthdays and presents ever since. It is actually a traditional American chocolate cake, with the addition of the hot coffee.”


2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups (1 box) light brown sugar
3 large eggs
5 oz. bitter chocolate, melted and cooled (important to cool)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup sour cream (don’t use the low fat kind today)
1 cup very strong hot liquid coffee (I use decaf, but make it strong)

(Variations: I have also used a delicious combination of semisweet and bitter chocolate, and decreased the sugar accordingly.)

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter, sugar and eggs for 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer, until very light and fluffy. Beat in melted, cooled chocolate and vanilla. Stir in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, half the sour cream, another 1/3 of dry ingredients, the rest of the sour cream, and finally the remainder of the dry ingredients. Stir just until mixed.

Gently stir in hot coffee.

Immediately pour into two 9-inch round pans, greased and floured. Carefully drop each pan several times onto the counter from a height of 6 inches to release air bubbles.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35-38 minutes. Check that it is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle and checking that it comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remember that the cake continues to bake while cooling. Run a knife around the edge, turn out, and cool completely.

For frosting, my family likes this classic Joy of Cooking recipe:

Melt in the top of a double-boiler:

3 oz unsweetened (not bitter) chocolate (you can also use semisweet chocolate if you like it a little sweeter)
3 Tbs unsalted butter

Remove from heat. With electric mixer, beat in, alternating:

¼ cup whole milk
About 1 box powdered confectioner’s sugar

When mixed, add a little salt and 1 tsp vanilla

Frost immediately. Keep your frosting smooth by wetting your knife in a little warm water as needed.

While this cake transcends language, don’t forget to say ”I love you” with each serving!