Chocolate Surprise Cake with Deep, Dark Cocoa Frosting (Lactose-Free)

DSC_2030One of the reason that I adore blogging is that inspiration is always “at my doorstep.” This cake recipe is loosely adapted from Linda’s recipe at Simply Made Kitchen Crafts. Linda is a talented baker and cook – and the most amazing mother! I adore checking out her blog. It is a warm place to be and never fails to encourage me to get in the kitchen, create and have some fun with my kids.

DSC_2052Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy are suckers for deep, dark chocolate flavors – with subtle sweetness – and vanilla. This is reflected in the icing recipe I developed… And my lightened-up, whole grain version of Linda’s scrumptious, oh-so-moist cake. I hope that you visit her blog and see what she is up to – her recipes are wholesome and bound to please your family and friends: A true taste of home!

First, a little mixing, courtesy of Snu Magoo…

DSC_2032Then, into the oven the cakes go… After a bit of kiddie taste-testing.

DSC_2037This recipe calls for two, mini bundt cake pans. These are from the 1970’s and found at a local thrift store.

DSC_2036The cakes come out looking fabulous – moist, rich and chocolatey.

DSC_2038Insert children here: armed with frosting and myriad types of sprinkles!

DSC_2056Just perfectly decorated cakes… they did well.

DSC_2057Later, little fingers are amiss.

DSC_2055Before you know it, there are icing and sprinkles everywhere.

DSC_2047More sprinkles are added – with abandon – to cover up the holes in the icing.

DSC_2050Oy, vey. These Kids were really up to “monkey business,” as Littlest Guy would say.

DSC_2058There is chocolate everywhere from tiny hands reaching into the once gorgeous cakes – and spreading chocolate icing about.

DSC_2045True story: Abba works 80 PLUS hours a week, so Ima needs a bit of help with cleaning up messing from little Angels. My beloveds are  happy to mop up the chocolate frosting, which is abundant.


They received their adoration and love of cleaning from their Ima..


DSC_2062DSC_2054DSC_2063Thank you for visiting us at Curls and Carrots. As always, I am so glad that you are here. Please head over to say “Hi!” to Linda at Simply Made Kitchen Crafts.

Best wishes,




Rich Chocolate Coffee Surprise Cake with Deep, Dark Cocoa Frosting (Lactose-Free)

The cake is loosely adapted from Linda’s fantastic recipe at “Simply Arts and Crafts” 

The frosting is a chocolatey creation from the Curls and Carrots kitchen.


2 cups very hot, freshly brewed decaffeinated or caffeinated coffee

1 1/2 cups reduced-fat, organic canola oil mayonnaise (I purchased mine from Whole Foods)

1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups castor sugar or granulated, white sugar

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour (both are 100% whole grain), sifted

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. fine salt

1/2 cup good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (I used Scharffen Berger) 

Preparation for the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Very generously – and evenly – spray two mini bundt pans with canola oil cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Mix in the mayonnaise, coffee and vanilla. Beat with a whisk for at least five minutes. 
  • If the batter seems very thick, add a little more very hot coffee, one tablespoon at a time, until the batter is thin enough to pour, but still slightly thick.
  • Pour the batter into the two prepared bundt pans. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a tooth inserted in center comes out clean. Avoid overbaking. The cake will continue to raise in temperature while it rests. This is called carryover cooking.
  • Allow the cake cool slightly, about fifteen minutes.
  • Remove to wire racks to cool completely – it should no longer be warm after this point.
  • Frost with icing (recipe below).
  • Enjoy!

Ingredients for the frosting:

4 Tbsp. organic lactose-free butter or margarine (reduced-fat or regular), softened

1/2 cup good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted2

1/2 powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1-3 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk

Preparation for the frosting:

  • In a large bowl, whisk the softened butter and cocoa powder until smooth and fluffy. 
  • Whisk in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. 
  • While continuously whisking, slowly stream in almond milk until the frosting is smooth enough to spread, but still thick. 
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
  • Then, whisk a bit more until the frosting is very fluffy, about three minutes. 
  • Spread or pipe over the two bundt cakes, or enjoy on any standard cake or 12 cupcakes or muffins.
  • Enjoy!


©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.



49 thoughts on “Chocolate Surprise Cake with Deep, Dark Cocoa Frosting (Lactose-Free)

  1. Oy, vey indeed! It’s like DisneyWorld at your house 🙂 The sprinkles rock and totally make the cake. And yay yay yay that they help you sweep. What a fun post.

    1. Thank you, my dear friend Liz. You are such a bloggin rock star – with great posts and also so much love and support to fellow bloggers. Off to check your latest post, now. It is enticing me. Warmest regards, Shanna

  2. Who is that pretty gal? eh is that SM? she is so pretty…I am sitting by the fire listening to BBC news (about Nelson Mandela). I shall be back …

    1. Hi, Liz – Yes, my heart is sad for Mr. Mandela. WHAT A HISTORICAL ICON. BBC is my go to newsource – in the US, NPR is good, too. Take good care. Oh, and yes, that is my SM… the other mopper was LG. Warmly, Shanna

      1. Oh yes. Last night I was mourning Mandela. He was a the greatest gentleman I ever came across. Patient and humble and full of wisdom. May his soul rest in eternal peace. This is a true chocolate surprise. The freshly brewed coffee, is it mixed in hot or cooled? Frankly speaking I’ve never added mayonnaise to a baked good. Is it more like adding whisked egg white or what? This is very interesting and I guess the only way of knowing is by trying out and tasting. If only I was your neighbour, I would taste it pronto. I’ll start baking from your blog next week after the myriad of games have subsided…starting with pecan-pumpkin…Wish you a wonderful day. Hugs to SM and LG. Best Liz

      2. Hi, Liz,
        Yes, I feel a lot of people are mourning Mandela. He will be read about in history books forever… just an amazing survivor and leader, and such a positive person.
        So, the coffee must be VERY hot. The coffee flavor brings out the chocolate notes in the cake.
        The mayonnaise addition is something I have found in a few Southern American recipes. It acts as the oil as well as the eggs. It keeps the cake very moist. You can use reduced fat mayonnaise with no difference in final produce.
        Yes, if you were my neighbor, we would both eat very well! Enjoy the games!
        Thank you so much for stopping by.
        Warm regards,

      3. Thanks for educating me. I am certainly now more knowledgeable about mayonnaise and baking. I have to give it a try, but only after I’ve made my pumpkin pie, then the muffins then….the chilli. I am still dreaming about the chilli. It’s just that life gets so busy for me. I was in London, ON, the whole day. We had two games, one at noon and one at 8pm. We’ve just come back 11.30pm. I’ve had a nice hot cup of tea, and now I want to swig a glass of red wine and hit the pillow. You see, soon, habits start to rub in on on others, slowly and surely. You must be asleep now. Have a lovely Sunday.

      4. Hi, Liz,
        I hope that you had a lovely glass of wine (and maybe a bit of chocolate to accompany it?) after a long day! I just posted a new baking recipe that you will ADORE. 🙂 I want to make everything on your blog… if only there were more hours in the day. Enjoy your day.

  3. You children are adorable. Such blue eyes! I always wondered if my kids might have blue eyes (David’s are beautifully blue) but my brown genes won 😉

    The chocolate icing looks wonderful – it’s always great to have a quick icing recipe to hand, thank you.

    1. Hi, Chava, Thank you for your words – they are so kind, warm and generous. I am sure that you and David also have gorgeous children – you are as beautiful as your gorgeous flavor photos! 🙂 My husband and I both have eyes with shades of blue, so the color was inevitable in our offspring. However, their eyes are each a unique shade of blue. I am always amazed by how miraculous it is to have children – and how there are each uniquely their own. I hope that you try the icing- you could certainly use any vegetarian or vegan butter. Enjoy your weekend. Warmest regards, Shanna

    1. Fae, Thank you. You are too sweet and too kind! I think the judges enjoyed the cake. They asked for it first thing this morning (and Littlest Guy actually used his stool to dive into it with his hands at one point today – HA!). Take good care – Shanna

  4. Too cute and funny! It looks just like my house only with three the messes are even bigger! My kids LOVE the dust buster! If only I could train them to be less messy in the first place. My husband also works insane hours, we truly are similar in many ways. This recipe looks great, the cake is somewhat similar to a chocolate one I make too. The coffee keeps it super moist, I love it.

    1. Hi, Gretchen,
      Yes, I can see that you must be VERY busy with three little ones! I should give mine munchkins the dust buster. Dusting is not my favorite pastime, for sure. 😉 We seem to have more and more in common – yes. Oh, and do pass along that cake recipe. You have some amazing pastry recipes on your site – and they are often oh-so-healthy, too. Enjoy your weekend! Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a kind note. I appreciate it.
      Warmest regards,

      1. I will probably be posting it this month. I am thinking of putting a peppermint twist on the chocolate cake. It definitely is not one of my healthier recipes though. I generally don’t mess with my cake and cookie recipes, they are for special times and remain sinful! I do try to avoid the super sweet frostings though, I frankly don’t like them well. It’s all about the cake for me, not the frosting. My kids disagree! Now ganache, that is another story! Enjoy the weekend.

  5. Aahhh its so cute how kids just have chocolate all over their face and don’t mind one bit! I don’t know at what point of growing up that changes to NOT wanting chocolate on our faces 😉

    1. HAHA, Sofia! Yes, I may be grown up, but I don’t mind having a bit of chocolate on my face. I feel the same about red lips from a nice Rioja. We must enjoy the pleasures life has to offer. Thank you for your visit – have fun this weekend! Besos, Shanna

  6. Oh my goodness, Shanna…the cakes look delicious and your children are simply adorable! It warms my heart to see your little pumpkins helping out in the kitchen. So glad you were able to adapt the recipe to suit your family. …BEST MOM EVER!!!
    Warm regards, Linda

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thank you so much for stopping by! Your sweet and generous words make me smile. I am so glad that you were able to provide such a versatile recipe. It was a big hit – I appreciate it! 🙂 I hope you have a fun weekend – I am sure it will be be busy. Take good care.
      Best wishes,

    1. Hi, Dan,
      Thank you for the compliments. You are very kind! 🙂 I am not sure if the cake matches her outfit – or if the outfit is simply painted with cake. HA. Definitely not done on purpose – life is a little too crazy around here for much planning. 🙂
      Enjoy your Saturday.
      Warm regards,

    1. Martine,
      Thank you so much! You are very sweet. I love your visits to Curls and Carrots – you are very supportive. 🙂 Yes, cooking/baking with kids is so much fun. Wouldn’t it be fun to start a company where one teaches kids to cook? I am sure someone thought of this already. Enjoy your Saturday!
      Warm regards,

  7. What a wonderful photo to begin this post, Shanna! It’s not just frame-worthy but should have a spot in your kitchen. Your cakes sound delicious and look fantastic, especially the parts worn by your children. 🙂

    1. Hi, John,
      Thank you so much! Your comments are completely making my afternoon! 🙂 Yes, my kids not only like to devour their cocoa-laden treats, but to eat them as well.
      Have a great day. I appreciate your visit!
      Warm regards,

    1. Lidia – Thank you for your sweet comment – and your many visits! So, chocolate: ME TOO! I made some granola bars last night, that way I could find a way to have dark chocolate for breakfast. I am a little sneaky that way. Enjoy your day… Best, Shanna

  8. Lactose free cake? I’m excited! The cake sounds and looks so good. I love the first photo of Naomi, she is just gorgeous and I started to laugh when I saw little Asher carrying the mop! Love it!

    1. Thank you, Kiyo! You are my FLFF (fellow lactose-free friend!). 😉 Oh, yes, these kids are just silly monkeys, aren’t they? They get their good looks from their dad and cleanliness from their mom. Both are happy to mop for you anytime… Provided you pay them in dark chocolate. 😉 Happy holidays! – Shanna

  9. Hi ya Shanna! One: you are one of the most generous bloggers I have come across. You always are giving credits and kudos to others. What a lovely person you are. Two: are one of the kids lactose-intolerant? Did I miss something? I’m noticing that a lot of the recipes are DF. Very cool.

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