Five Generation Chocolate ‘Eureka’ Cake

Jan D’Atri | Mar 25, 2013, midnight


Jan D’Atri

Eureka! I’ve discovered a decadent, rich and moist chocolate cake with a smooth and creamy chocolate frosting just in time for Valentine’s Day. The

name of this delicious cake is actually “My Eureka Cake!” I found it in a charming family heritage cookbook given to me by Scottsdale resident Brendon Cothrun. Compiled by his sister, Paige Dunbar, the cookbook is called “A Taste of Texas; Five Generations of Recipes from the Douglas Family.”

When finalizing which recipes would be featured, the consensus among family members was that the chocolate cake was an over-the-top winner. In the cookbook, Paige writes: “As I began collecting these family mementos, I began to see a story unfold through the tales behind the recipes and the woman who created them. They will undoubtedly inspire you for your next holiday gathering or simple family meal.”

Paige’s introduction reads:

“Frankie and Madie (Paige’s grandmother and great aunt) were fortunate enough to stumble upon this recipe in a magazine. It was called ‘My Eureka Cake’ and truer words have never been spoken! This cake is so good that I almost don’t like giving the recipe to my friends. My mother still makes it for all of us on our birthdays every year.”

It’s an absolute sweetheart of a treat.Those of us who love chocolate cake are looking for “the one.” With a name like “My Eureka Cake,” this could be it.

The Douglas Family’s “My Eureka Cake”

For the Cake

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 stick (4 oz.) butter

1/2 cup Crisco

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup water

1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter, Crisco and cocoa. Add water and mix with electric mixer. Add flour, sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes up clean. Cool and frost by pouring icing over cake and spreading with a spatula.


1 stick (4 oz.) butter

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 small can evaporated milk

Melt butter, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add can of evaporated milk and cook to the softball stage, stirring constantly.

Variation on Icing:

In the cookbook, Paige writes that her sister Carrie and her Aunt Caaren prefer this version of frosting on their cake because the consistency makes it easier to work with. Paige also uses this version when she’s making a double- or triple-layer cake.

1 stick (4 oz.) butter

4 tablespoons cocoa

6 tablespoons milk

1 box powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans (optional)

Melt the butter, cocoa and milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, vanilla and chopped pecans.

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