Taste of Chicago at home: Portillo’s chocolate cake

For Chicago Cubs fans what could be sweeter than celebrating a World Series win after 108 years? A victory party with chocolate cake inspired by Chicago's Portillo's restaurant.

Kitchen Report
Portillo's chocolate cake is simply a box mix from Betty Crocker with a cup of mayonnaise to make it extra moist.

Talk of a Chicago Cubs victory party started way before the Cubs actually made it to the World Series this fall. (This is what happens when you marry a fourth-generation Chicago Cubs fan.) And at this party, it was promised that Italian beef sandwiches would be ordered from Chicago’s iconic Portillo’s restaurant.

I said I’d take care of the chocolate cake.

Back in Spring Training, my husband had promised the kids a party if the Cubs won the World Series to get them, as he puts it, “psyched for a potentially historic season.” They (sorta) obliged him all season long, and he finally paid up this weekend. The kids created “W” banners, hung red and blue streamers, and we set out peanuts, Cracker Jack, cotton candy, Portillo’s Italian beef from Chicago, Uno‘s deep-dish pizza, toasted with sparkling apple juice, and re-watched Game 7, the celebration and the championship parade.

Go Cubs Go!

For any long-suffering sports fan, you will appreciate Eric’s essay: “At last! Cubs fans finally savor victory, too” in the November-December issue of New England Baseball Journal.

And then we had cake. Portillo’s, a Chicago eatery that specializes in hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches and is close to any Chicago native’s heart, also serves a delicious chocolate cake.

A recipe search online revealed that Portillo’s chocolate is simply Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake box mix and Betty Crocker chocolate frosting – with the added ingredient of 1 cup of mayonnaise, which gives it an extra moist crumb. What could be easier?

For once, Cubs fans could have their cake and eat it, too.

Portillo’s chocolate cake

1 box Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake
3 eggs
1 cup ice cold water
1 cup mayo
2 cans Betty Crocker frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and grease 2 9-inch cake pans (8-inch cake pans will also work, the cakes will just rise higher).
Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and using a hand mixer, mix for 30 seconds to combine. Then increase the speed to high and mix for 4 minutes.

2. Divide batter between the two cake pans.

3. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes (adjust cooking size for pan size per instructions on the cake mix box) or until a tester in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Do not overbake.

4. Allow the pans to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cakes to a wire rack to cool completely, about an hour.
Place one of the cakes on a cake plate and spread about 3/4 of one jar of frosting on top. Secure the second cake on top of the first and use the rest of the two frosting jars to spread on the top and sides of the cake.

Related post on Kitchen Report: Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

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