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Chocolate Cake in the Pan with Fudge Frosting – 50% Less Sugar

Seems I’m always trying to find a way to make desserts with no – or at least less -sugar. The latest in my search was to make an old favorite, Cake in the Pan using Splenda® for half of the sugar called for in the recipe (cake and fudge frosting).


This treat is a chocolate cake made from scratch. Once baked you leave it in the pan and pour fudge frosting over the top.   It is delicious and for those that don’t have to watch their sugar intake, the real fudge frosting is wonderful.


As I’ve mentioned before, replacing sugar with Splenda® in recipes seems to change the texture of whatever I’m making – and while the cake turned out pretty much the same, the frosting took a hit.


The frosting made with sugar is just like a nice creamy, chocolate fudge. The frosting made with the sugar/Splenda® blend came out like a thick chocolate caramel.  Not that it was a bad thing.  Just did not firm up . . . and in its own way was just as good.  Great flavor.  So good, in fact, that I may just make a batch of the frosting to drizzle over ice cream.  To me, the Splenda® fudge frosting was very much like the ‘hot fudge’ they use at DQ on their sundaes.


Recipe for both cake and frosting follow.  Also, recommend using the ingredients called for, i.e., Crisco, buttermilk – as they are necessary for the right texture.    I have cut this recipe in-half and it turned out just as good.

50% Less Sugar Chocolate Cake in the Pan



  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups Splenda®
  • 1 cup Crisco OR 1/2 cup Crisco & 1/2 cup butter   (I just use Crisco)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (Must use buttermilk)
  • 2 teaspoon soda
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Mix sugar and shortening  OR shortening/butter
  2. Add in eggs
  3. Put soda in buttermilk and stir
  4. Add in buttermilk, flour, salt and cocoa powder
  5. Add vanilla
  6. After all ingredients are well mixed (by hand), add in the boiling water and stir.
  7. Pour into greased cake pan (13″ x 9″)
  8. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for approximately 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  9. Leave cake in pan and pour fudge frosting over top

Note: I usually let my cake cool a little before pouring the frosting over, but not necessary to do so.

Fudge Frosting


  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Splenda®
  • 2/3 cup regular milk (I use Half & Half – gives a more creamy texture)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (reserve for last step)


  1. In a medium sized saucepan bring first five (5) ingredients to a boil, stirring continuously
  2. Once to a boil, lower heat and continue to gently boil for approximately 3 minutes
  3. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla and beat until thick **
  4. Spread/pour over cake in the pan

** Once you’ve removed the frosting from the heat, placing the saucepan in a large bowl of iced water while beating.  This will help speed the thickening process along.


  1.  If you want a regular, full-sugar cake, just replace the Splenda® with equal amounts of sugar.   The rest of the recipe remains the same.
  2. The regular sugar version of this cake freezes well. Cut into serving size portions, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.  Defrost and enjoy as wanted.

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