Fudge Day

Today is National Fudge Day. I was 14 when I first tried to make some, one of the first recipes I ever tried to cook.

Unfortunately, real fudge is almost impossible to make correctly. You have to get the mixture to the right temperature and get sugar crystals perfect otherwise you wind up with a granular mess that crunches like sand in your mouth.

That’s the kind of fudge I made. My recipe improved after a few tries, but with so many good candy shops out there, if I want fudge these days, I buy it. 

I once found out that fudge was first made by a student at Vassar College. Not to be outdone, there was a competitive version by a student at Wellesley College and later, two students there baked a chocolate cake with fudge frosting and it was forever after known as Wellesley Fudge Cake.

I tried that too, with much greater success than the candy. I changed the recipe over the years until I wound up with a version I like.

The cake is much easier to make than fudge, so here’s the recipe, a really rich and delicious cake with creamy, sweet but also tangy frosting. Tasty on Fudge Day or anytime.

Wellesley Fudge Cake


2 cups cake flour

1-1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2 large eggs

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 9-inch cake pans. In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk and shortening and beat the ingredients with a hand mixer (or standing mixer) for about 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes (scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice). Spoon the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester or the tip of a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack to cool completely. Frost with Fudge Frosting.

Fudge Frosting

12 ounces semisweet chocolate

1 cup dairy sour cream

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir the melted chocolate and remove the top part of the double boiler from the heat. Add the sour cream, salt and vanilla extract and whisk the ingredients until smooth. Let cool slightly until the mixture is spreading consistency.

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