Farmer’s Daughter Cake

An easy vanilla cake topped with a unique old-fashioned chocolate icing that pours on top and firms up to form a delicious chocolate coating.

A recipe for the Farmer’s Daughter Cake: easy to make, unpretentious, and loaded with old fashioned charm.

vanilla cake with hard chocolate icing on cake icing

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

(adapted from the classic Maida Heatter’s Cakes)

Since there’s no butter to beat, this cake comes together quite quickly. It relies on the heavy cream and eggs for moisture.

The icing, while a bit more complicated, is so delicious that it’s totally worth the effort. Once it sets, it totally encases the cake in a layer of chocolate that’s somewhere between frosting and fudge.

If you like super moist, soft “cake mix” type cakes, this one might not be your favorite. It’s quite dense and study, like many old fashioned cake recipes are. (You’ll love sourdough chocolate cake if you like soft and tender cakes best.)

If that doesn’t bother you, you’ll love this recipe for Farmer’s Daughter Cake.

(If you’re curious about the name, I’ve always imagined it’s because it makes just enough for a big farm family to finish in one sitting, and it uses plenty of dairy and eggs.)

Ingredients

unsweetened chocolate, milk, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, and flour on wooden surface

INGREDIENTS

Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Icing

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1½ tablespoons butter unsalted

Step by step

Making the cake

process shots of making yellow cake batter
(my mixing bowl is from from this Pioneer Woman collection)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan. You can try spraying with non-sticking baking spray or coating in shortening then dusting with flour.

Beat the eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer until slightly lightened in color. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add half to the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Then add the heavy cream and finally the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low.

Pour in the batter and smooth out the top!

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Turn onto a wire rack, turn the cake right side up, and cover with a clean tea towel.

It will flatten as it cools.

cake batter and fully baked cake

Making the icing

collage of process shots making old fashioned chocolate icing

Melt the chocolate, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat, until the sugar dissolves (Be sure to rub the mixture between your fingers to make sure the sugar is no longer grainy). Remove from the heat before it boils, and set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add a small amount of the chocolate mixture and stir into the yolks to temper them. Slowly add more chocolate, stirring continuously, until half of it is mixed into the eggs. Add the egg/ chocolate mixture back into the chocolate and mix until everything is combined.

Pour into a mixing bowl (if you have a stand mixer, use that bowl), and stir in the butter by hand. Allow to cool at room temperature, undisturbed, until completely cool.

Beat the icing with an electric mixer until it is smooth and shiny. It will become slightly lighter is color and stream down off the beater in ribbons. This will take about five minutes on high using a stand mixer, and ten with a hand mixer.

Place cake on top of parchment paper to catch any icing drips.

Pour half of the icing in the center and along the edges of the cake. Wait one minute to let it run down the sides. Pour the remaining icing in the center and on any corners that were missed. It will smooth out on its own, but you can smooth it with a butter knife if you’d like.

Let the cake stand at room temperature for two hours, until the icing is dry to the touch. (It will be set, but still soft!)

farrmer's daughter cake cut into squares on baking tin

Print the recipe here

three squares of chocolate frosted cake

The Farmer’s Daughter Cake

Print Recipe
An easy vanilla cake topped with a unique old-fashioned chocolate icing that pours on top and firms up to form a delicious chocolate coating.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:40 mins
cooling:3 hrs
Total Time:4 hrs 10 mins

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Icing

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cuo whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • tablespoons butter unsalted

Instructions

Make the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center. Prepare an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan by spraying with non-sticking baking spray or coating in shortening this dusting with flour.
  • Beat the eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer until slightly lightened in color. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add half to the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Then add the heavy cream and finally the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out the top.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Flip out onto a cooling rack, turn the cake right side up, and cover with a clean tea towel. The cake will flatten as it cools. Cool completely before icing.

Make the Icing

  • Melt the chocolate, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat, until the sugar dissolves (rub the mixture between your fingers to make sure the sugar is no longer grainy). Remove from the heat before it boils, and set aside.
  • Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add a small amount of the chocolate mixture and stir into the yolks to temper them. Slowly add more chocolate, stirring continuously, until half of it is mixed into the eggs. Add the egg/ chocolate mixture back into the chocolate and mix until everything is combined.
  • Pour into a mixing bowl (if you have a stand mixer, use that bowl), and stir in the butter by hand. Allow to cool at room temperature, undisturbed, until completely cool.
  • Beat the icing with an electric mixer until it is smooth and shiny. It will become slightly lighter is color and stream down off the beater in ribbons. This will take about five minutes on high using a stand mixer, and ten with a hand mixer.

Ice the Cake

  • Place cake on a wire rack or cake stand on top of parchment paper to catch any icing drips.
  • Pour half of the icing in the center and along the edges of the cake. Wait one minute to let it run down the sides. Pour the remaining icing in the center and on any corners that were missed. It will smooth out on its own, but you can smooth it with a butter knife if you'd like.
  • Let the cake stand at room temperature for two hours until the icing is dry to the touch. Carefully transfer the cake to a cake stand or platter to cut and serve.

Notes

Substitute 1/4 teaspoon of the vanilla with almond or coconut extract for a different flavor.
Keep any leftovers tightly wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter; it will not disturb the icing.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: farmers daughter cake, old fashioned cake recipe
Servings: 9 slices
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartsccontentfarmhouse so I can see!

Enjoy this recipe!

signature with strawberries


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