Winter Party Recipes

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

(featured on Inn Cuisine, as passed down from my mother-in-law)

(update 6/7/09: original recipe from Hershey’s! Enjoy!)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa (I used and recommend Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake rounds or one 13×9x2-inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the first six ingredients (sugar through salt); add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin); pour into prepared pan(s) and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes our clean. If baking cake rounds, allow rounds to cool slightly before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. If using rectangular baking pan, allow cake to cool completely before icing.

Gingersnap Dip

(recipe adapted from Taste of Home’s Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook, 2002)

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons warm spice mix (*recipe below)
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen French Vanilla Cool Whip, thawed
  • remainder of warm spice mix to garnish

*to create the warm spice mix, blend

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


In a small to medium-sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and spice mix using an electric mixer until blended. Beat in French Vanilla Cool Whip until combined. Keep refrigerated until serving.

To serve, spoon dip into a serving bowl and garnish with remaining spice mix. Pair with gingersnap and/or sugar cookies. (If you don’t have the time or desire to bake fresh cookies, Archway Ginger Snaps are a nice complement to this dip).

Yield: approximately 3 cups of dip. Feel free to halve, quarter or double this recipe as needed. Note—if halving, quartering or doubling this recipe, remember to halve, quarter or double the corresponding recipe for warm spice mix as well.