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Cinderella's Hearth: Sloan Birthday Cake

Today we officially welcome Lissa Sloan as a Contributing Writer at The Fairy Tale Magazine. It feels a bit funny to do that, as she’s been a friend to the publication, and in real life, for a long time! Anyway, we feel very fortunate to have her on the team, and welcome aboard Lissa! (KW)

So, I have a confession to make. I write recipes on old envelopes.

My mom would occasionally lament that she wasn’t the housekeeper her mother was (and had not passed those skills on to me and my sister). My grandma was neat and tidy, an accomplished seamstress and excellent baker. I have a few of her recipe cards, written in her careful handwriting. My mom used recipe cards too, but she also improvised, as did my dad and especially my mother-in-law. So in my house today, our recipes, while sometimes printed out or saved as a document, are other times written out on tiny bits of notepaper, receipts, and envelopes.

Here, then, is a print-out and an envelope that frequently come out this time of year: Sloan birthday cake with butter icing. You see, all four of us in my household have our birthdays within three weeks, and Mother’s Day is not far behind. These days we may only make it once during that time, and we may only make half the recipe because it’s so rich. But the cake (adapted from the Cook’s Country recipe for Hostess-style cupcakes) is moist and dark, and the butter icing (from my mother-in-law) is creamy and a tiny bit salty, and all together it’s just so devilishly good!

For 24 cupcakes, a 9 x 13-inch cake pan, or two 9-inch round layer cakes:


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup hot coffee (decaf is fine if you don’t want to be up all night)

2/3 cup cocoa powder

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract


Butter Icing:

1 ½ cups milk

7 ½ T. flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups salted butter

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Make the cake:

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour cake pan. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together hot coffee, cocoa, and chocolate chips (this melts the chocolate) until smooth. To the chocolate mixture, add sugar, sour cream, oil, egg, and vanilla, and mix until combined. Then bake until a toothpick comes out with few dry crumbs attached, 35-45 minutes for 9 x 13-inch oblong or 2 9-inch rounds, 18-22 minutes for cupcakes.

While cake is cooling, make the icing (we often make the cake the day before the icing):

Whisk together milk and flour (or shake in cup with a lid). Then heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and refrigerate until very cool. When mixture is cold, soften butter, then cream butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric beater until fluffy. Blend with the thickened milk mixture until thick and smooth. Spread on cake and eat immediately or refrigerate it to set the icing a bit. IF there is any left, keep refrigerated.

These days, we make half a portion (just one 9-inch round), so we cut the cake recipe in half and make 2/3 of the icing (or you could make the whole batch and get in some graham crackers to help you finish off the extra).

If you are a fan of dark chocolate, give our recipe a try. I think you’ll love it!

Lissa Sloan is the author of Glass and Feathers, a dark continuation of the traditional Cinderella tale. Her fairy tale poems and short stories have appeared in The Fairy Tale Magazine, Niteblade Magazine, Corvid Queen, Three Ravens Podcast, and anthologies from World Weaver Press. Visit Lissa online at, or connect on Facebook, Instagram, @lissa_sloan, or Twitter, @LissaSloan.



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