Chocolate Cake for Breakfast

By Susan Brown


From the time my husband and I were blissfully​​ happy​​ and abysmally broke at the beginning of our marriage, we took the words from​​ Fiddler on the Roof​​ to heart​​ ​​ God would like us to be joyful,​​ even when our hearts lie panting on the floor!


And​​ sometimes our hearts​​ did lie​​ panting on the floor – when​​ our​​ only job paid so little we lived in an apartment with a shared bathroom​​ ($70 a month when the town slums went for $75); when the car we saved​​ for, for two years,​​ broke down; when the​​ first​​ pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage.


Not knowing​​ what else to do, we celebrated. The chorus,​​ L’chaim! To Life!


We had picnics in the snow;​​ we bought​​ one impractical yet intriguing​​ food​​ purchase from the grocery store​​ each week​​ (I​​ don’t​​ recommend canned squid!);​​ we rode our bikes as far as we could into the Gatineau Hills and coasted back for miles. We had​​ fun!


There was nary a cent left over​​ for bakery goods and so I learned to​​ create​​ amazing​​ confections. The best,​​ by far, was​​ my​​ mom’s​​ recipe​​ for Devils Food cake. The​​ popular​​ “chocolate”​​ now is red velvet –​​ that cake doesn’t know chocolate!​​ I think​​ mom’s​​ recipe originally came from an old church cook book, and I promise you,​​ the devil in it went godly – it is the best chocolate cake​​ ever made!


So, when the world fell apart, as it seemed to do rather regularly, I would make a huge chocolate cake. And we would eat it until we felt better,​​ or it was gone –​​ and​​ the two​​ sometimes​​ coincided. As often as not, we would eat the requisite​​ morning​​ toast and peanut butter and then finish​​ the meal​​ off with a slab of cake.​​ The breakfast of champions!


One of my favorite memories is sitting in the kitchen with my three daughters and secretly eating chocolate cake for breakfast​​ while their grandparents slept upstairs. “Don’t tell Mama and Papa,” I​​ whispered. They all solemnly nodded and dug in. My parents never knew how I led their grandchildren astray.


So…I’ve got more years on me.​​ Mama and Papa and several others have​​ traveled on from this life. And just like then, some of​​ my​​ days are beset with problems​​ (I think I may have a leak in my roof – bah!). But now, after​​ years of​​ tucking​​ my passion into corners I have time to write;​​ my daughters​​ often phone​​ me​​ to go out for brunch;​​ my​​ grandchildren call me on their ipads​​ to​​ show me their latest Lego creations.


And​​ right now​​ there is chocolate cake in the kitchen​​ ​​ and I haven’t​​ yet​​ had breakfast.​​ 










Mrs. Simpson’s Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake​​ (one layer – double for two huge layers!):


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Mix together:

¼ c butter

1 c sugar

1 egg

5 tbsp cocoa

1 tsp vanilla


Add​​ dry​​ alternately with milk, then mix:

1 ¼ c flour

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 c sour milk


Beat until smooth. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.


About The Author

I love to write! And I love to write for teens. Since I was a kid, bored with school, I’ve been making up stories. Eventually I became a journalist, got married, had kids, adopted dogs and started writing books in earnest. Three followed, plus two more co-authored with Anne Stephenson.

I’ll be publishing a half dozen new books in the next year or two, some fantasy and some realistic which I hope will appeal to teen readers – I’ve had quite a few kids read them and gotten a thumbs up! Check out my website at