Whenever I had a birthday party, two questions were inevitably asked.  Was The Gram going to attend and was she going to bring her 6-layered yellow cake with homemade chocolate frosting. Yes and yes. My parties were always well attended.

And today I share with you The Gram’s most famous recipe. But here’s the thing, I don’t actually know how to make it. As you’ll see, I tried to make it for K-Hubs’ birthday a while back, but it didn’t quite turn out. I think there are two reasons it’s so famous. It is mind-bogglingly delicious, and no one actually knows how to make it.

I now share my attempt and wish you greater success.

Cake Ingredients

I baked the cake according to package directions using 3 round cake pans. If you are wondering whether to go larger or smaller, I’d say definitely go smaller. You’ll end up slicing each cake in half to achieve the 6 layers you need. They’ll be delicately thin. Smaller and thicker is better (and easier for slicing). I used 8-inch pans and would not go any larger.

One time I helped The Gram bake this and commented there wasn’t much “cake” to the 6-layer cake recipe.  It was all frosting.  The Gram smiled wryly and offered up an, “I know.”

Well played, Gram.  Well played.  Best recipe ever.

I filled each pan about half full.

Batter in the pan

They turned out fine.

Cakes Baked

But slicing them was still tricky. When I said the slices were thin, I meant it. I used a bread knife to slice carefully through each mini cake.

Not Kidding These Slices Are Thin


I like this photo. It looks like I know what I’m doing. So organized.

Frosting Ingredients

I’ve made cakes and brownies before with chocolate chips and egg and so forth, so I thought I’d be a natural with this. I was quickly humbled. The photo below isn’t that great, but since my frosting didn’t turn out, I suppose it’s only fitting. No egg added yet.

First set of directions before egg

Egg yolks are now added but no whites.

Egg Yolks Added

And now we have the “stiff” egg whites (that I apparently didn’t do correctly) and the chocolate pieces.

Chocolate Soup Goop

I think the “stiff” part in The Gram’s recipe was the critical point in the recipe. Except I have no real idea how stiff the eggs were supposed to be. Guess I’ll have to keep making this recipe to find out. Shucks.

I did find this tutorial after the fact.  And this one.

However, I will say the total flop still tasted divine.  I wanted to eat it even though it was a chocolaty goop soup.  Actually, that sounds kind of good. It’s official. I have to make this again. Double shucks.

One time The Gram made it and it turned into chocolaty goop soup. After scooping it out of the refrigerator, everyone at the party ate it. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this one. Because even the goop soup is tasty enough for The Gram to have put her reputation on the line by serving the mishap to friends and family.

Eventually, I just used store-bought frosting. Except I didn’t buy enough (you’ll need two cans on back-up duty), so I had to make a second trip to the store. And frosting between layers? I need to go back to home ec to learn that skill.

A Second Can of Frosting Will Be Needed

Nailed it.

Unlike those who attended my birthday parties, people near this version won’t come running, willing to risk their intestinal balance for a chance at The Gram’s frosting with raw egg in it. In spite of my attempt’s many shortcomings, K-Hubs, Toodlebug, and I still devoured it inside of 24 hours. It is also an excellent breakfast if you don’t have a party on the calendar.

Cake is Finally Frosted

Ingredients for cake

  • One box yellow cake mix, prepared according to directions and divided into 3 8-inch shallow cake pans

Ingredients for frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups butter – oleo
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 oz. chocolate (6 oz chips and 2 oz unsweetened chocolate)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions (emphasis The Gram’s)

  1. Cream butter and add sugar. Cream good.
  2. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat well.
  3. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  4. Add stiffly beaten egg whites and beat again until completely blended.

The recipe ends there. Either we’re supposed to know what to do next or she missed steps. But I think you either chill the frosting for a while or if your frosting is stiff enough, you can frost your cooled cake. In the words of The Gram, “I haven’t a clue.” But I am going to make this again. Did I mention double shucks?