CHEW THIS! Grandpa Jr’s Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting

Grandpa Jr's Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, March 7th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Grandpa Jr shares famous cake recipe…
Blaise Doubman

I have always loved sharing recipes and memories from not just my life but from the lives of others close to me as well. Today’s column and recipe is dedicated to my Grandpa Jr. Some of you may know him as Crankshaft, while others may recognize him from walking around Kennard with a sack full of dog biscuits for the neighborhood dogs. My Grandpa Jr is one of the kindest, hardworking individuals that you could ever hope to meet. He was married to my Grandma Barbra for almost 64 years before she passed away. I am still having trouble with the grieving process and in trying to find my balance in life and I can not even begin to imagine the pain and grief that my Grandpa must be feeling after nearly 64 years of being with my Grandma. He is a strong man who is taking things one day at a time, is doing about as well as to be expected and is doing his best to show his family that he is strong, so that we can be strong. I love him so much and I am so proud of him on so many different levels in life. I still have such fond memories of my brother, Damon and I going down to my Grandma Barbra’s and Grandpa Jr’s every Friday for years and years for movies, dinner, shopping or getting into trouble! Ha!

Speaking of fond memories, one of my favorite food memories of my Grandpa Jr is the delicious chocolate cake with caramel frosting he makes. It is the best around and believe me, I have had my fair share of them! Some people use German Chocolate cake for this, and I am not a fan. The chocolate isn’t strong or bold enough for me and it doesn’t pair well with the caramel frosting. With a caramel frosting this rich, you really need a good strong flavored chocolate cake to pair up against it. Grandpa uses Devil’s Food, which is perfect. I added the addition of the instant coffee granules, just to make the chocolate taste more like chocolate. His frosting is the best around too! This original frosting recipe came from Mitzi Payne, of Kennard, then passed along to my Grandma Barbra, then to Grandpa Jr, then to myself! Ha! If you like your caramel frosting on the harder side, cook a little longer than I have directed. I really like the smooth soft caramel though that tops Grandpa Jr’s cake. I really think this will be your new favorite recipe!

Grandpa Jr’s Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting

Feel free to leave out the instant coffee granules but I promise the cake will not taste like coffee if you add it. The only thing the instant coffee granules do, is make the cake taste more like chocolate. It really is delicious!

For the cake…
1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 large eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the Devil’s Food cake mix, large eggs, water, vegetable oil and instant coffee granules until smooth and combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Drop the pan onto the counter several times to release any air bubbles that might have formed.

Bake in preheated oven for 28 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the unsalted butter, lightly packed light brown sugar and salt in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Stir until melted together and combined.

Once melted together and combined, stir and cook for 2 minutes until light brown and bubbly.

Add in the whole milk and pure vanilla extract. Remove from the heat.
Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and lump free.

Pour over the cooled cake and quickly but carefully smooth out the frosting.

Allow to sit for several minutes before cutting and serving.

Ask and Answer: Several people have been inquiring about my new social media profiles. You can find, friend, follow and like me on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, Tumbler and Pinterest under the username “1blaisethebaker”. Of course, you can also find me on and I will be sharing recipes, cookbook reviews, kitchen tips and tricks as well as column features, step by step recipes, giveaways and live videos. I also have started a fan page on Facebook under the name “Trail Blaise The Baker”. Find me there!



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