Farmer’s daughter cake is a simple 8-inch square vanilla cake topped coated in chocolate frosting. It is a perfect simple cake for a small gathering or for when you are craving a little something sweet.
This cake is simple but really good. The cake has no butter or oil in it, just cream. Perhaps it was a dairy farmer’s daughter who created it!
The fudge frosting is a great pour over frosting that tops it off just right. It’s smaller size and tasty combination is sure to work its way into your heart.
This recipe for Farmer’s Daughter Cake has had a life of it’s own ever since I posted it in September of 2016. So I figured it was high time I updated the pictures and add a video.
This simple cake is great because it makes a nice small square cake. Plus there’s the fudgy frosting!
You make it in a saucepan, let it cool for a while and then pour it over. That is if you don’t eat it with a spoon first.
It reminds me a lot of a chocolate pudding only thicker. As it cools, it sets up nicely on the cake for a tasty pairing.
When choosing a recipe to make from Maida’s Cake Book, this one definitely stood out for a couple of reasons.
The first being I had all of the ingredients on hand. That is always one of the most important factors, so that one alone would have probably been enough!
The second was that it made a small single layer square cake. This was a nice change of pace from the giant layered cakes I have been making recently.
We were having dinner at my mother-in-law’s and I knew it would be the perfect size to bring and share without burdening anyone with 15 pounds of leftover cake. (I know, life is rough sometimes isn’t it?)
The third intriguing part of this cake is that instead of using oil or butter, Maida uses cream. And last but not least, this cake had a fun chocolate frosting and we all know that as far as I am concerned it is the frosting that makes the cake.
But I figured in this case with one layer and a more rustic feel to start with the rounded edges of the casserole pan would work fine. In the end I actually liked the rounded look, but again would not recommend using a pan like this if I were stacking.
Tips for Making the Fudge Icing
The frosting can be a little hard to deal with. Maida made it clear that you had to pour very slowly or you’d end up with a cake in a pool of frosting. She wasn’t kidding!
The first time I made the cake, I thought I was working slowly enough and the next thing I knew there was frosting pooled around the cake. Luckily I had rimmed the cake with wax paper strips.
I just spooned a bit of the frosting at a time back onto the cake until it mostly stayed put. Other than that, I really liked the frosting.
It did form a skin as time went on and the cake traveled fine to dinner. But when you cut into the cake, the inside of the frosting was still super soft and moist.
It was almost like a thick chocolate pudding. It went really well with the cake.
As you can see though, if you let the frosting cool completely, it actually works quite nicely. Just check out the video to see how easy it can be!
We all enjoyed a slice after dinner and a few even went back for seconds right away, which is always a good sign! Luckily my in-laws were happy to keep the rest of the cake, which was especially good as I had made a couple of cakes that weekend.
This is definitely a cake that would be worth making again! It has been a lot of fun baking our way through Maida Heatter’s Cakes with the Cake Slice Bakers.
More Smaller Sized Cake Recipes
If you like the idea of making a smaller sized cake, I have a few more recipes for you to try. These will give you a great dessert option for a smaller group or just for your family without having a ton leftover.
Chocolate mayonnaise cake is rich and delicious. This recipe makes a one layer round cake with some fluffy chocolate frosting on top.
For a fruitier option, try making caramel apple upside down cake. We usually make it in a cast iron skillet, but you could also make it in a 9-inch cake pan.
Or make a coffee pound cake in a loaf pan. You can serve it as it is with a dollop of whipped cream or make a quick powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over it if you prefer.
If you are a frosting fanatic like me, check out my Frosting 101. It goes through the different types of frosting and links to all sorts of delicious recipes!
Farmer’s Daughter Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
- ½ cup cold milk
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 generous Tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour an 8x8x2 pan. (I usually use the spray with the flour in it)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, or your mixer, beat together the eggs, vanilla & almond extracts and sugar until combined. Add the cream and mix until incorporated.
- Stir in the dry ingredients, beating just until smooth.
- Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean. (Maida warns that the top may dome, but will flatten and that is may crack and that is ok.)
- Let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, place upside down on a cake plate so that you have a flat surface on top.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, stir together milk and sugar. Add chocolate and heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and chocolate is melted. Be sure to stir frequently as you go. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks just enough to break them up. Gently temper with a bit of warm chocolate mixture. (I added a few Tablespoons of chocolate mixture and beat vigorously then repeat the process to temper the yolks and keep them from scrambling in the hot chocolate mixture.) Then add egg yolks to the remaining chocolate mixture, beating to combine.
- Warm the chocolate mixture over low heat, whisking constantly, for one minute. (Mine stayed pretty smooth, but Maida warns that it may not and you should forge on anyway.)
- Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of your mixer and stir in the butter and vanilla. Let stand until cool. This may take a while, but I put mine in the refrigerator for a bit to hasten the process.
- Beat the icing at high speed for 10-15 minutes. It should be smooth, shiny and about the consistency of corn syrup.
- Be sure to place wax paper strips under you cake as this icing can get messy if you are like me and are short on patience!
- Pour about half of the icing on the cake and then step back for a minute or so. Then continue to pour the icing just a bit at a time onto the center of the cake. If you poor too quickly, all of the frosting will run down the sides. Gently coax the frosting with a spatula if it needs help going in a certain direction.
- If you went slowly enough, the frosting should have stayed mostly in place. If not, just scoop the large puddles off the wax paper and place back on the center of the cake until most of the frosting is on the cake. Carefully remove wax paper strips.
- Let the cake sit for a couple of hours so the icing sets.