Dressel's cake

Dressel's cake (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune; styling by Lisa Schumacher)

I read a small article in the Tribune food section about apple slices and it reminded of an article from several years ago about Dressel's chocolate whipped cream cake. In it, there was mention that a baker from Dressel's was working on a recipe to recreate it and that the Tribune would follow up. I've either missed the outcome or it has not come to pass. Could you please tell me if there has been an article/recipe and what has happened since then. I really miss their cakes as do many, many of my friends. Would love a try at it there is a recipe.

—Donna Heimbecker, Lombard, Ill.

A: At long last, there is a recipe to share for Dressel's legendary chocolate fudge whipped cream cake. Monica Kass Rogers, the Evanston-based food writer, has spent many months and made many versions of the recipe to get as close as possible the cake you remember. I, myself, never tasted a Dressel's cake but the adaptation we made in the test kitchen was extraordinary. It was so delicious one of the more disciplined editors, who rarely eats more than a few bites of cake, asked for a second slice.

Rogers notes on her website that the Dressel's cake was "a production cake—no home baker can perfectly emulate Dressel's techniques." But she worked with members of the Dressel family to come up with a version for the home cook.

Rogers has posted her recipe for Dressel's chocolate fudge whipped cream cake on her Web site, Lost Recipes Found (lostrecipesfound.com). Additionally, she is offering on the Web site a video of how to make the cake featuring Heidi Hedeker, bakery and pastry chef instructor at Chicago's Kendall College, and a mini-documentary about Dressel's bakery, featuring members of the family. Check Rogers' Web site regularly for more lost recipes found.

Dressel's chocolate fudge whipped cream cake

Prep: 2 hours Cook: 35-40 minutes Makes: 12-16 servings

Rogers prefers to use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder in the cake and heavy cream from Kilgus Farmstead, a Fairbury, Ill.-based dairy, for the whipped cream. The whipped cream calls for agar agar to stabilize it. You can use a little gelatin, or skip it.


2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups oil

4 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/3 cups boiling water

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups cake flour

1 cup all-purpose flour