In the last few months I’ve needed to bake a cake for the following:

A “welcome the baby” luncheon.
A friend recovering from surgery.
A friend who had a baby.
A friend who had two babies.
Our school principal’s retirement lunch.
Our high school graduation reception.
A college graduation party.
A Father’s Day barbeque.

And that was just May and June.

If you are a reader here you know how much I love to bake. And I consider myself to be a confident and experienced baker.

But sometimes it comes down to time. As in, I don’t have enough of it.

Years and years ago I attended a dinner party hosted by my friend Nancy. Nancy is a trained chef who – in addition to making delicious food – has a way of putting together a party that feels relaxed and effortless, yet thoughtful and beautifully executed.

And as I was navigating my way around the dessert buffet, this cake caught my eye.

chocolate cake

It was the plainest, simplest looking dessert on the table – yet I was compelled to try a piece. I don’t know why; I never even go for the chocolate dessert.

And it was the perfect slice of chocolate cake.

Moist, yet firm. Not too rich. Delicious. Nancy gave me the recipe, and I was shocked to see that it included boxed cake mix. I pride myself on being able to detect cake mix on the first bite, yet this one had me completely fooled. In a good way.

And since then you can be pretty sure that there is at least one of these in my freezer at all times.

Yet I’ve been scared reluctant to share this recipe with you, for all of the obvious reasons. I’ve read the food blogger rants about cake mix. I know all of the things that are wrong with it. And what would you think of me if you knew that I used it? Would you be shocked? Angry? Lose all respect for me and never read this blog again???

But then I thought, maybe some of you are not “bakers”. And even if you are, maybe there are occasions where you too, are simply strapped for time.

And therein lies the beauty of this cake. In 10 minutes, with one bowl, I can knock out two loaf-sized cakes (or one large tube cake). It slices beautifully (perfect for situations where you need to serve finger food). It freezes forever (well, not literally – but for a really, really long time). It needs no decoration or frosting, just a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

And it is undeniably delicious.

In fact, it’s the favorite cake of many of the people I bake for – including Mike – which I find hilarious, and totally ironic.

So here you go – I hope I haven’t lost any of you over this, and would love to know your stand on cake mix. If you have one.

chocolate cake


chocolate cake

chocolate cake

Easy Chocolate Cake
from Nancy

1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 package 4-serving instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. each water, vegetable oil
1 c. sour cream
12 oz. mini chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350; prepare one tube pan or two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans with flour and parchment paper (read here on how to prepare a baking pan).

Beat all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, on high for 3 minutes.

Fold in the chips.

Pour batter in pans; bake till a toothpick or cake tester tests clean (about 60 minutes for the tube cake, 45 minutes for the loaves).

Cool in pans on rack (25 minutes for the tube cake, 10 for the loaves) – remove from pans and cool completely on rack.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar prior to serving.

* I always double this recipe. If you don’t have a heavy duty stand mixer, you’ll need to make one batch at a time. Just wipe out the mixer bowl between batches.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver


  1. Britta on July 8, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Sheri–I am overjoyed that you shared this. I’ve thought of asking you for the recipe, but I was hesitant bc I figured something this good must be a secret. I thought maybe there’s some baker etiquette to not ask, and what was the point anyway bc it probably involves COCOA POWDER or shaving chocolate or other bakerly things I’m afraid of. But I can make it myself! Now I don’t have to have another baby or two. Thank you!

    • sherisilver on July 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Oh Britta you NEVER have to hesitate to ask me. And by all means you do NOT have to have more babies to get this cake! xoxo

  2. Drew on July 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    This cake looks pretty wonderful for a boxed cake mix, Sheri.

    My mother-in-law has given me a few cookbooks from the Junior League of Monroe, Louisiana and from her local church. These are the down-home, Southern, no-one-cooks-like-my-mama recipes I’d always heard about. I had no idea though that so many of those recipes rely on prepackaged foods.

    For example, I was looking for a recipe for baked beans so I could make something a little more interesting than that which comes in a can. I found 3 recipes for baked beans in the 1976 printing of “The Extension Homemakers Council of Ouachita Parish presents Our Daily Brad”. All three of them call for at least one can of pork ‘n beans.

    I also have one of Paula Deen’s older books and many of her cake recipes include a boxed cake mix.

    I wonder if I’d be as surprised if I wasn’t into making my own mustard, my own yogurt, my own instant oatmeal.

    I am going to save this easy cake recipe, though. You never know when you’ll need a quick chocolate cake.

    • sherisilver on July 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Drew! If you only knew how much your response to this was weighing on my mind (as in, “what will Drew think?”) – BIG relief over here my friend. And you should totally make this – Nathaniel would love it!

      • Drew on July 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm


        I would only ever think: if SherSilv’s recommending it, you know it’s gonna go in the must-make-this-now section of my recipe collection. (Yeah, I might call you SherSilv when you’re not looking.)

        • sherisilver on July 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm

          I like it! 🙂

  3. Sandra on July 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    This is THE perfect recipe for the girl. She loves to cook and bake but it’s not easy finding recipes that are doable by a seven year old AND yummy.

    And she loves chocolate too!

    • sherisilver on July 9, 2013 at 6:25 am

      Love that girl – she is SURE to love this! xo

  4. Sylvia on July 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Don’t mind using processed cake mix approximately 3 x’s a year. This will be a great “go-to” in a pinch.
    Thank you.

    • sherisilver on July 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Yay! You’re welcome! 🙂

  5. Lisa on July 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Usually not a fan of box cakes, but this sounds really good. Perfect for when I am in a hurry. Thanks for posting!

    • sherisilver on July 10, 2013 at 8:37 am

      I’m so glad you said that – it’s exactly how I feel about it. But truth be told, it is the preferred cake (boxed or otherwise) of so many people! 🙂

  6. Lynn on July 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Just wondering if you can use a bundt pan. Sorry if we were an embarrassment on the Internet.

    • sherisilver on July 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Lynn I’m cracking up – you’re an Internet sensation! Yes you can use a bundt pan! 🙂

  7. Christa the BabbyMama on July 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Gurrrrl, at my recent party, I made cake batter Chex mix – key ingredient being cake mix. I don’t typically use cake mix to actually make cakes, but I’m not going to get all snooty-patooty on anyone who does! Whatever makes a good cake, I say!

    • sherisilver on July 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Wait – cake batter Chex Mix???? Details!

  8. Stephanie on August 26, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    This looks yummy!

    Would you use it for cupcakes as well? (Probably a dumb question.)

    • sherisilver on August 26, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Absolutely! You’ll probably get more than the box says due to the additional ingredients – but, like, that’s not a problem, right?

      • Stephanie on August 28, 2015 at 11:26 am

        Lol! Never a problem! Thanks for your help! Going to bake them today!!! Thanks for the speedy reply! Super helpful!

        • sherisilver on August 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

          Sure thing – post a picture! 🙂

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