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Shannon M. Smurthwaite
Millie's Triple Chocolate Cake

Valentine's Day is a date set aside the second week in February for expressions of love, admiration and affection — with a lot of chocolate in the mix.

Here is a simple, moist, chocolatey dessert to share with your loved ones. My mother often whipped up this treat when I was young. It was among the recipes most begged for by her friends and family. Its no-fail, always-a-hit reputation was good reason to keep her recipe handy year-round.

If love is expressed in the form of food at your house, no special holiday is needed with this triple chocolate dessert.

MILLIE'S TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 package fudge cake mix (15.25 ounces) (using a mix with pudding in it is fine)

1 small box (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

½ cup oil

1½ cups chocolate chips

1 tablespoon powdered sugar (for topping)

Prepare bundt cake pan with cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Mix well, making sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips, stirring well to blend.

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Pour batter into prepared bundt pan, even out batter with a spatula or the back of a large spoon. Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes. Test for doneness. When completely cooled, turn cake upside down and onto serving platter.

Lightly sift 1 tablespoon powdered sugar to top cake for a "sweet" presentation.

Shannon M. Smurthwaite is a Southern California native, cookbook author, food columnist and freelance writer. Her blog: www.myitalianmama.com. She and her husband, Donald, reside in Idaho. Email: shannonisitalian@gmail.com