Hey, Good Cookin’: Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

For many of us, the legacies of loved ones have been passed on through the meals and recipes we share, generation after generation. Our Heirloom Recipe series will highlight the love and traditions that transcend our plates and live on forever in our hearts.

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake, submitted by Stephanie Larson, Intake Specialist

A mother of 12, my great grandmother ran a diner in Northern Wisconsin. She created, refined and perfected several recipes and passed the recipes (and the gift of cooking and baking) down to my Grandma. This cake could be found at every family celebration, every church event and there wasn’t a time that you couldn’t find a tin of cupcakes ready for the taking on Grandma’s counter. She made sure Grandpa and the grandkids were fed, happy and full of sugar! I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do!

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake


» 1 cup sour milk (Add about 1 tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let sit for about an hour to sour the milk)

» 2 ½ cups flour

» 2 cups sugar

» 5 tbsp. baking cocoa

» 2 tsp. baking powder

» 1 tsp. salt

» 2 tsp. vanilla flavoring

» 1 tsp. almond flavoring

» 1 cup oil

» 2 eggs

» 1 cup boiling water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add soured milk, oil, eggs and flavorings. Beat for approximately 2 minutes until smooth. Add bowling water and beat until combined. Prepare a 9X13 baking sheet with cooking spray (or cupcake tins, makes about 36 cupcakes). Bake for about 30-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry (12-15 minutes for cupcakes). Be careful not to overbake as it will dry the longer it is in the oven.

Buttercream Frosting


» ½ cup butter softened (not melted)

» ½ cup Crisco (not butter flavored)

» 3 cups powdered sugar

» 1 tsp. Vanilla

» 1 tsp. Almond

» Water or milk for thinning


Mix butter and Crisco until well combined. Add powdered sugar until combined. Add water or milk by tablespoon until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Should spread easily, but not run. (Note: Whichever your preference between water or milk is fine, but keep in mind that if you add milk it would be better to store cake in the refrigerator.)

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