Six months after we were married, my husband and I moved to India.  We went on a one year contract and ended up staying for three.  It was an amazing time.  The town we lived in was very small and there were no western type stores or restaurants in site. Our nearest Domino’s Pizza was three hours away and our nearest McDonald’s was ten hours away!  Although trying at times, it was an amazing opportunity to learn about cooking.  Ready made and prepackaged just didn’t exist. EVERYTHING had to be made from scratch.  I was just telling my brother in law a few weeks ago that the enchiladas we were eating that night could be made in India but EVERY ingredient in the entire recipe (except the onion) had to be substituted.  Now that is scratch cooking!

One of my very favorite recipes from those three years was a chocolate cake recipe from Betty Crocker. Before we left I had purchased a cook book program for my computer and this was one of the recipes on it. The cake is moist and chocolaty and the frosting is oh-so-fudgy and oh-so-yummy!  Even though I have access to boxed cakes now, I don’t think chocolate cake will ever be the same.  This really is the BEST chocolate cake with fudge frosting!


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 eggs


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan, two 9-inch round cake pans, or three 8-inch round cake pans. In large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s).

2. Bake rectangle 40 to 45 minutes, rounds 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool rectangle in pan on cooling rack. Cool rounds 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely.

3. In 2 1/2-quart saucepan, mix all frosting ingredients except vanilla. Heat to rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 1 minute without stirring. Place saucepan in bowl of ice and water. Beat until frosting is smooth and spreadable; stir in vanilla. Frost rectangle or fill and frost layers with frosting.

And just in case you want some substitutions (I had to use these — and more — when I was in India):

  • If you don’t have unsweetened chocolate, you can use cocoa powder: 1 oz = 3 tablespoons
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to a glass measuring cup and add milk to reach 3/4 cup.  Let stand for 5 minutes before using.