Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Our $100 Chocolate Cake

A delicious cake with a suspicious past, doesn’t every family have one? There’s been a story in my husband’s family for decades now about their $100 Cake. How one of his east coast ancestors had dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC, got back home, couldn’t stop thinking about the chocolate cake she’d had for dessert there and wrote a letter to the chef asking for the recipe. He sent it, along with a bill for $100. She paid up and vowed to share it with everyone she knew.

Or, so the story goes.

We snuggle into this family history every time we dig into our $100 cake. I believed in it hook, line and sinker, and still want to, but there’s a hitch. The other day my husband googled $100 cake and found our story out there in many forms. Urban legend, family myth, proverbial fish story? I don’t even want to know. Some of us want to remain ignorant and imagine Great Aunt Evalyn at the Waldorf eating this very cake and then going to some effort to bring it home to the family in 1910 and again in 2010. We pay homage to our cake once or twice a year at family gatherings, we believe in Aunt Evalyn’s cake-eating venture, and, while licking our chocolaty lips, retell her story every time.

The recipe, written on a stained and yellowing card, makes it even more believable. Anyway . . . I’m passing it on. For free. A cake with a suspicious past made again the other night for our friend Charlie’s birthday. My cake decorating skills are nil. I’m challenged by just getting frosting on to the cake and usually run out (you may have noticed). But, my own ineptitude aside, edible nasturtiums still blooming in the garden made it easy to improve the cake’s glam factor.

$100 Cake, family truth or myth, it’s good anyway. Let’s say that Aunt Evalyn did share this recipe with everyone she knew and now it’s all over the internet. Let’s just say.

$100 Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients: 1 C chopped nuts/ 1/2 C shortening (I suggest butter)/ 2 C sugar/ 1 1/2 C milk/ 2 t vanilla/ 2 eggs/ 3 squares unsweetened chocolate/ 2 C flour/ 2 t baking powder/ pinch of salt

Directions: Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Add melted and slightly cooled chocolate. Mix dry ingredients together and add alternately with the milk and vanilla. Add nuts last. Bake at 350º, 40 minutes for a loaf pan, 25 minutes for layers. Check with a toothpick inserted into center of cake – if it comes out clean cake is done.

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients: 1/2 C chopped walnuts/ 1/2 C butter/ 2 squares melted, unsweetened chocolate/ 1 egg/ 1 1/2 C powdered sugar/ 1 t lemon juice/ 1 t vanilla/ pinch of salt

Put it all together in a bowl and beat well. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle with a few more chopped nuts.

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6 Responses »

  1. Sally, thank you for making the $100 cake for Charlie’s b-day. I can easily imagine paying $100 for the recipe just to see Lily’s delight when she saw the piece you sent for her. And yes, I did deliver it without even a lick missing, but it wasn’t easy.

  2. Sally,
    Our 2010 $100 may not be equal to what it was back in Aunt Evalyn’s day, but your version of that cake needs no adjustment for inflation. It was delicious! I feel honored that the “once or twice a year at family gatherings” included my birthday this year (and to know we are part of your family and you a part of ours). Many thanks. C.

    P.S. It wasn’t Poppy whom Lily had to fend off, but her Daddy. She let him have one small bite, but that was it.

  3. Looks like it was worth every penny.

    It’s the same as the Neiman Marcus cookie story. I could go either way. I have to think that every urban myth has a hint of truth somewhere.

  4. Carbzilla, thanks for the optimistic tone. I’d like to believe our story is more truth than myth, though it might be a stretch.
    Poppy & Charlie, any time my friends, any time.

  5. Sally- I always wanted this recipe and am so glad I tuned in tonight. How are you? Miss you…….Betty

  6. Hello Pittsburgh! Betty, great to hear from you and I’m glad that you finally have this ‘family’ recipe. I’d love to sit at the table and have a moment with you, a piece of this chocolate cake and a cup of coffee.