Family / General / Homesteading / Kitchen / Recipes / The Great Generation

Recipe: Aunt Lorraine’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

Summer picnics. Special birthdays. Sweet tooth satisfier.

Yes, I’m talking about my great aunt Lorraine’s Chocolate Sheet Cake. Absolutely nothing compares to the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of this cake baked in a giant, flat pan. We have made it time and time and time again, and it never grows old. It brings a reminder of summertime to those chilly winter afternoons, and it is so easy to whip up, that it makes for a great picnic dessert, church coffee hour treat, or even a birthday cake emergency replacement (don’t ask me how I know this).

As promised in my earlier posts, here is the time-tested, hubby-approved, kid-requested recipe for my family’s beloved chocolate sheet cake.

Sarlabeth’s Warning: This recipe comes with a cautionary statement. Do not make this cake without friends or family to help you consume it. It is highly addictive, and the likelihood of you eating half a pan by yourself relates directly to the amount of hot coffee and vanilla ice cream available to accompany it.

Aunt Lorraine’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

1 cup water
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine
4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c sugar
2 c flour
1/2 cup of buttermilk (I have subbed everything from whipping cream to plain yogurt and still get great results!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box (16 oz) powdered sugar, sifted*
6 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or black walnuts

Bring butter, margarine, cocoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour and sugar well. Add hot mixture to the bowl. Add rest of ingredients, mix until smooth. Pour into an ungreased 10×13 or 11×17 pan. Cook 20 minutes at 400. Watch carefully so the edges don’t burn – it cooks quickly!


This picture  – though not the greatest photography – still makes me want to reach out and eat my computer. (Photo: Crossroads Homestead)

While cake is in the oven, sift powdered sugar. Bring 3 Tablespoons cocoa, 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter and 6 Tablespoons milk to a boil. Add powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. You can also add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or black walnuts (optional). Pour over hot cake, smoothing out any little lumps of sugar. The more pools of frosting, the better. Trust me.

Let cool. Serve with plenty of black coffee, vanilla ice cream, and a kiss!

Chocolate Sheet Cake at it's finest - thanks, Aunt Lorraine!

Chocolate sheet cake at its gooey finest – thanks, Aunt Lorraine! (Photo: Crossroads Homestead)

Bon appetit!


This post was featured on The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post Ed. No. 40:

Lil' Suburban Homestead

7 thoughts on “Recipe: Aunt Lorraine’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

  1. Hi Sarah!

    Whenever I need buttermilk, I add a little white vinegar to my milk ingredient and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes; the vinegar curdles the milk and adds a bit of acid for the leavener to react with. I think that’s my easiest substitute.

    There is also a powdered buttermilk available that can be used to make up smaller amounts of buttermilk – you find it in the baking aisle and keep it in the fridge once you’ve opened it.

    I have a hard time finding small quantities of buttermilk in the store that won’t just be used for 1/2c. in a recipe, and then waste the rest. Every now and again I’ll see pints for sale, but never consistently; best to make our own, right?


    • Erin, I have definitely done the whole vinegar thing, and I’ve found that I like the plain yogurt better (if I have a choice)! Thanks for the tip, though.

      Your thought about powdered buttermilk also made me curious to see if I could find it online this morning – imagine my happy dance when I found it on Pantry Paratus! If you didn’t see my post last night, they have things on sale the rest of this week for our blog followers (and Twitter followers). I’m thinking it’s time for me to stock up on spices, Tattler lids and a little buttermilk powder?

      Sarah πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for linking to our recipe! Yours look AMAZING, I haven’t baked with buttermilk before but I’m guessing it would add a really interesting flavor to the cake! Must try πŸ™‚

    • Laura, thanks for checking it out! The recipe with or even without buttermilk is super moist and just the right amount of sweet and rich. Buttermilk just gives it a little “oomph” – some body, fluffiness, and creamy texture. I’d love to hear how yours turns out!


  3. Cooling as I write…. can I wait??

    Only mishap was using a 2 lb bag of powdered sugar for the frosting before I realized it. What’s a girl to do? Make a double batch, of course! πŸ˜‰


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