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By Terri Hahn

Let them eat cake


January 21, 2021

I have no idea who invented chocolate cake, but I'm sure glad they did!

Cake itself makes life better, but whoever decided to make it with chocolate deserves some kind of honor. In poking around online, I found several polls that found chocolate tops the list of favorite cake flavors. I'm not surprised.

Aside from one former coworker who wouldn't eat anything made with chocolate (what's up with that?), I don't know anyone who doesn't like chocolate and very few people who don't like cake.

Keeping things simple this week, I'm sharing three recipes from my personal files for chocolate cake. Two are from my mom, the other from my Aunt Barb.

This recipe from my mom dates back decades. I remember her making it when I was a kid. I remember being a little reluctant to eat it because it had sour cream in it. And as a kid, sour cream sounded "yucky!" I was glad to discover I was wrong.

Red Sour Cream Cocoa Cake

2 cups white sugar

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 tablespoons cocoa

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cold water

Combine dry ingredients and sift three times.

Beat eggs, add sour cream and vanilla. Add cold water alternately with sifted dry ingredients to egg and sour cream mixture.

Pour cake mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Recipe from: Shirley Hahn

This recipe is also from my mom, but one she discovered later in life. It became her "go-to" recipe whenever we were expecting company.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

1 stick butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup water

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large heavy saucepan, combine butter or margarine, vegetable oil, cocoa and water. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring often and making sure it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and stir in the flour, sugar and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well, then add to the batter and mix well.

Grease and flour an 11-by-16 inch sheet cake pan. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before adding icing.


1 stick butter or margarine

4 tablespoons cocoa

5 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Powdered sugar

Combine butter or margarine, cocoa and milk in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and well-blended.

Remove from heat and beat in vanilla and powdered sugar, using just enough to make the icing a spreadable consistency. Spread on warm cake.

Recipe from: Shirley Hahn

This final recipe I discovered while visiting my Aunt Barb Colburn in Valentine. She is a firm believer in baking from scratch and with recipes like this in her collection, I can understand why.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cake

1 cup oatmeal

1-3/4 cups boiling water

1 stick of butter or margarine, melted

2 large eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1-3/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cocoa

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine oatmeal and boiling water; mix well and let set for at least 10 minutes.

Add melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, sugar, flour, baking soda and cocoa. Stir well and add chocolate chips and nuts (if using).

Pour batter into a greased and floured 13-by-9-inch cake pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Note: This cake is good without frosting, but can be added if you want.

Recipe from: Barbara Colburn

Terri Hahn of Osceola has worked in food media for more than 30 years and won numerous awards.


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