The Chic List

Cake for a Day

Depending on the day, we either love or couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day. But everyday, one thing is true. We love chocolate. Luckily for us, one of the best chocolatiers in the country, award-winner Norman Love, is our neighbor in Fort Myers, FL. We asked him for something special for the second week of February (who needs any more reason than that?) and he shared this classic chocolate cake recipe with us. 

Photo By Brian Tietz

The funny thing about this cake, is that it’s not really anyone’s grandma’s. It’s just the kind of cake that your grandma could make- it’s a classic cake. The secret is the buttermilk, which adds richness without heaviness. It’s biggest recommendation? It’s our staff favorite.

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

Yield: (2) 8” cake pans


  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups Sugar
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Water
  • ½ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • ¾ cup Oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line (2) 8” cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan. Whisk in cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Set aside to cool. Water mixture may be placed in refrigerator to cool down faster.
  3. Combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.
  4. Sift together all purpose flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Scrape down bowl.
  5. Add cooled cocoa powder mixture to the bowl and whip on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Portion evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Sour Cream Icing


  • 1 ¼ cup Butter
  • 5 oz Bakers Chocolate
  • 2.5 oz 65% Chocolate
  • 3 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups Sour Cream


  1. Melt together both chocolates and butter until smooth.
  2. Transfer mixture to a bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Add ½ the amount of powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
  3. Add all of the sour cream and mix on medium speed until combined.
  4. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix on low speed for 1 minute.

Tempted? Order from Norman Love Confections here. 

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5 Responses

  1. On the chocolate sour cream icing recipe, you call for two different chocolates: Bakers Chocolate and 65% Chocolate. I assume the Bakers Chocolate is the Bakers brand of chocolate squares, but do you use unsweetened or semi-sweet? On the 65% Chocolate, I do not know what that is. Can you give me a description or brand for this one? I was going to make it yesterday, but wasn’t sure what to use for the two chocolates. You can e-mail me at Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Peggy Case

  2. Deirdre

    Peggy Case, most crossings call for unsweetened chocolate. Chocolate comes in various percentages of cocoa. You can find the percentage on bars in most grocery stores baking aisle.

  3. Charlotte Burkholz

    Sugar should not be such a large ratio to the flour. Is it possible to use less, in accordance with what we know about the health risks of eating sugar?