Chocolate Lead Cake (Grandma Thelma's)

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“I have been raised calling this "Lead cake", my uncle always lovingly called my grandma's chocolate cake Lead, because it is a heavy, dense, moist cake. Although I love all chocolate cakes, there is something about this one that makes it my favorite, maybe it's the memories attached to it, but it tastes great too! It was suggested to me by a friend that made it that it wasn't sweet enough for her (although I think that's part of what I like about it) but if you like a sweeter cake you might want to go ahead & do the 2 C of sugar, she used the lesser amount. Grandma sometimes put a fudge frosting on it that I didn't really like (the cake itself was my favorite part), often times, she made it with-out frosting which was my favorite way. It has a shiny top to it, & I myself like to dampen a piece of crocheted lace and lay it flat on top once cooled (right before serving) and sprinkle with a sifter, powdered sugar on it, then carefully removed the doily leaving only the beautiful white pattern on top. The other "topping" I like is whipped topping with chocolate syrup added, it is nice & light with the dense cake. I use a spatula to make pretty peaks as your design. However, if you use whipped topping the cake needs to be eaten and/or refrigerated soon, as the topping will make the cake soggy. I will be trying to add pictures of this cake decorated both ways soon, so check back to see them. Any other light creamy frosting of your choice would be good as well, or if you're like me, you'll just eat it plain & call it good lol. I searched as well as I could to try to not duplicate, & while a few recipes are similar, none (that I found) have these ingredients, made in this way, & I personally have never tasted another chocolate cake like this one. I hope you enjoy!”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 34-2 cups sugar (your choice, this is what my original recipe says)
  • 4 tablespoons baking cocoa (heaped)
  • 14 teaspoon salt (or less)
  • 1 cup cold water (you may add leftover brewed coffee to this amount, not to total more than 1 C water & coffee combine)
  • 12 cup vegetable oil (your choice)
  • 12 cup butter
  • 12 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Grease & flour 13" x 9 1/2" cake pan (or 2 round) I'm sure you could make cupcakes too & I intend to try it in my bundt pan as well to see how that works.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients.
  4. Bring water/coffee, oil, butter to a boil.
  5. Pour boiled mixture over dry ingredients & stir.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk, eggs, & soda.
  7. Add to other mixture.
  8. Add completed mixture to pans.
  9. Grandma always thumped the pan on the counter to remove the air bubbles (probably why it is dense).
  10. Bake at 400 for 18 minutes, test with toothpick, will be moist, DON"T OVERCOOK.
  11. Decorate/top to your choice (try the doily and powdered sugar, it's fun)!

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