Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)

Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)

I’ve baked this chocolate cake for every birthday for every child and friend for years and years. It’s dark, rich, and has a flavor all its own. Try this featured Women’s Day Magazine recipe that everyone will ask you for!

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In honor of National Chocolate Cake Day, I give a nod to my late mother-in-law, Mary Jane Morgan, and the legacy chocolate cake she passed down to me from her mother, Irene Seeley.

I remember traveling with my firstborn, Trey, to visit George’s parents in September 1979.

Trey turned two that visit, and Mary Jane made chocolate cupcakes turned into clowns using ice cream cones as hats and candies for their faces. Trey was delighted and I noticed something funny.

Hubby, George, would sneak into the fridge and scoop from a bowl spoonful of left-over frosting again and again and again

Mary Jane shared the cake recipe and I’ve baked it for every birthday for every child and friend for years and years.

I’ve made it as a sheet cake, a two-layer round cake, and a four-layer square cake. The frosting is so gooey that the more layers you try the more the cake slides to one side or another leaving it a tiered cake or as my sons refer to it the AVALANCHE cake!

No matter how it looks, the cake is incredible.  It’s dark, rich, and has a flavor all its own.

The secret ingredient is black walnut flavoring. McCormick produced this essence until ten or so years ago when it was dropped.  Lovers of the cake would ransack their grandmother’s pantry for stored bottles of the stuff. We found quite a few that way!

Today, Amazon will give you a good selection of choices when you search, and I’ve tried them all. It works!


This is truly our family’s legacy cake. It was featured in Women’s Day magazine when my first book was published in 2000.

In honor of National Chocolate Cake Day, I will share with you the short-cut secret to making this cake for your family.

Yes, it is a departure from the original, but I’m sure both Mary Jane and Irene will approve of this modernization.

Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)



Ready In:

30-35 Minutes Until You’re Ready

Good For:



  • Devil’s Food Cake recipe or boxed mix
  • ¾ cup Sprite
  • ¾ cups brewed coffee
  • 4 tablespoons of black walnut flavoring
  • 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar 
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ⅓ cup milk or cream

Jorj’s Mahogany Cake (The Lava Legacy)

Start with a Devil’s food cake recipe.

In place of water, use ¾ cup Sprite and ¼ cup brewed coffee.

Add 2 tablespoons of black walnut flavoring.

Continue as directed on the box and bake as either cupcakes or any version of your favorite layer cake. Cool the cakes.


National Chocolate Cake Day Mahogany Cake

For the frosting:

  1. Add 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar into the bowl of your electric mixer
  2. Add ¾ cup cocoa powder and ¼ teaspoon salt
  3. Mix in 4 tablespoons melted butter, ½ cup brewed coffee, 2 tablespoons black walnut flavoring, and ⅓ cup milk or cream
  4. Mix this all together, scraping down the sides

Home Chef Tip!

If the frosting is too loose, add more sugar. If it’s too tight, add more milk. Keep a can of prepared chocolate frosting on hand just to be safe

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation by tagging #inthekitchenwithjorj and with Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj, my free private home cooking group.

Cooking With Mushrooms and Spinach
Cooking With Mushrooms and Spinach

Gimme S’more Cupcakes!

Gimme S’more Cupcakes!

This cupcake has it all: a graham cracker crust, chocolate cake, and what seems like a mile-high scoop of marshmallow soft, gooey, vanilla frosting, charred on the peaks.  It was an oooow ahhh kinda moment when a friend of mine introduced me to this scrumptious dessert. We were listening to 70’s disco music on my Echo Show (don’t you just love these new-fangled gadgets?) when I got a call from my pal, inviting us to dinner the following evening. She’s a great cook, so of course I said yes. It also helps that she and her hubby, George … yup, another one… are terrific people who have an amazing wine cellar, not to mention a very interesting group of friends.

And then this happened.

I offered to bring something, knowing full well she would have it all under control. But, she said, “Sure. Why don’t you bring along dessert?”

As you all know, desserts are not my forte, although I make a valiant attempt and never, ever post a dessert recipe until I’ve tried it a couple of times to make sure it works! That night, I rose to the challenge, fueled by sweet memories of a friend who wowed her dinner guests, myself included, with a Smore’s cupcake.

Here’s how it came to pass. I combed the internet for recipes and found a few. I combined the best of them, adding coffee to the chocolate cake (makes it even more decadent), and then loaded up my butane torch. Well, it was FUN, and they were delicious. Rest assured, I have made sure that these cupcakes are easier than they look. I’ve checked the cooking time and counted out the graham crackers. Give my recipe a try and tell me what you think! You might want s’more……

S’mores Cupcakes

Makes about 18 to 20 cupcakes

60 Minute Cuisine 

One bite and you are pulled back to that campfire you remember as a child. Everyone passed around charred marshmallows, squished between chocolate and graham crackers. This is a decadent cupcake made better with the addition of brewed coffee, enhancing the chocolate cake. Dolloping a huge scoop of the marshmallow-like frosting, and toasting just the tips has everyone smiling!

For Crust:

2 sleeves graham crackers, about 72 crackers

4 tablespoons butter, melted, ½ stick

¼ cup granulated sugar

For Cupcakes:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup butter milk

1 cup brewed coffee

½ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Frosting:

8 large egg whites, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

Use a food processor to pulse the graham crackers into crumbs. Pour in the butter and add the sugar. Continue to pulse until the crackers come together to form coarse crumbs. Spoon 2 tablespoons of crumbs into the bottom of the cupcake papers. Press down gently with the back of the spoon. Bake until the crumb crust is just beginning to turn brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the buttermilk, coffee and vegetable oil. Whisk to combine. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Continue to whisk until the batter is smooth and shiny. Pour the batter on top of the graham cracker crusts to about ¾ full. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 22 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes to room temperature.

Place the egg whites, 2 more cups granulated sugar and cream of tartar into a bowl, sitting over simmering water (double boiler). Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the eggs are warm, about 5 minutes. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat the warmed egg whites starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to high, until the frosting is shiny and peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the speed and mix in the vanilla. Use an ice cream scoop to dollop a scoop of frosting onto each cupcake. You can use a kitchen torch to gently brown the tips of the frosting to resemble roasted marshmallows.