DeDe’s OK State Fair Award Winning Chocolate Cake

Chef GinaPosted by

Okay… yes, this is a “sometimes” food. But it is a “sometimes” food that has won over 22 blue ribbons and 4 best of show ribbons at The State Fair of Oklahoma over the past 20 years.

This family recipe comes from DeDe Beavers-Howard. It was handed down to her from her mother who was a fabulous baker.

DeDe says, “Mom got it from the mother of one of the girls she was in high school with and it quickly became our family recipe. I was the first one to enter it in the fair and it won. Since then everyone in the family and a few others have entered it at least once.” To me, this cake tastes like childhood… those days when Mom would make cake and then send you out to play until she called you in for dinner.

DeDe bakes up all manner of cake for the Oklahoma State Fair square dancers. She says they are her taste testers. Apparently, they dance off all the calories and DeDe takes home the blue ribbons. 😀 Win-win! She says, “I just do it for the look on peoples faces when they are satisfied. I guess you could call it labor of love. But it’s really not much labor when you enjoy it so much.”

My son, apparently driven by a sudden cake craving, baked up this recipe. There could have been more pictures, but every last piece of this cake mysteriously vanished in the middle of the night. I woke up to find an empty pan with hardly even any crumbs left. hmmm When he made the cake, we did not have the oil brand called for in the recipe, so he mixed unrefined coconut oil, evoo, and Irish butter to replace the fat. It should also be noted that my son is NOT a baker. Still, this came out rich, chocolatey, and delicious, especially the edges where the chocolate flavor intensifies.  DeDe says this recipe is very forgiving. If it survived my son’s baking, it is!

They call this simply “The Chocolate Cake”.

So for all those who requested this recipe…

“The Chocolate Cake”

by DeDe Beavers-Howard


  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c cocoa (packed)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1c buttermilk (**see note below if you don’t have)
  • 1c Wesson oil
  • 1c hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Sift together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt).
  2. Mix together wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, oil, hot water, vanilla)
  3. Combine wet ingredients with dry.
  4. Pour into greased and floured pan
  5. Bake at 350• for 35 minutes. Toothpick test may not come out totally clean as this cake is very moist.

**To make a substitute for buttermilk: take 1c regular milk pour 2Tbs vinegar in the cup and let set for 15mins. Then use in place of the buttermilk. This cake can be iced or left plain because it is so moist. I usually take and lightly heat some frosting (turning it to semi-liquid)and drizzle on the top in crisscross pattern then sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles. Or you can dust with powdered sugar when serving. When we enter it in the fair we make it in round pans and use a plain buttercream chocolate icing.


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