Chocolate Sheath Cake Recipe

Impress your friends and family with this chocolate sheath cake recipe.

May/June 2015

  • "Yummy chocolate sheath cake is a family fave," says Ilene.
    Photo by Fotolia/anjelagr

From Ilene Reid, editorial assistant:

This recipe came from my mother-in-law, Irene, and was already a favorite when I married into the family in 1970. She always kept some of this cake in the freezer for when the grandkids visited.

Chocolate Sheath Cake Recipe



• 2 cups flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup cooking oil
• 4 tablespoons cocoa
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 eggs, well-beaten


• 1/2 cup butter
• 5 tablespoons cocoa
• 6 tablespoons buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
• 1 box (1 pound) confectioner's sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 17-1/2-by-12-1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan or baking sheet; set aside.

To make cake:

1. In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

2. In saucepan, combine butter, oil, cocoa and water, and bring to boil. Pour hot mixture over dry ingredients, and mix well. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla and eggs until thoroughly blended.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

To make icing:

1. Five minutes before cake is done, combine butter, cocoa and buttermilk in saucepan. Bring to boiling.

2. Remove from heat, and add vanilla, nuts and confectioner's sugar.

3. Beat until smooth.

To put it all together:

1. Spread hot icing over cake, and allow to cool. Icing hardens as it cools.

Editor’s Note: There is a lot of debate on the size of both sheet cake and jelly roll pans. Most any sheet cake or jelly roll pan will work, but baking times will vary, so watch your cake carefully so it doesn’t overbake. In addition, you could probably use a 13-by-9-inch cake pan, but the cake will be thicker than a traditional sheet cake, and baking times will need to be adjusted.

Interested in more recipes from the editors of GRIT? Check out Recipe Box: Cheesy Potatoes and More GRIT Staff Recipes for everything from chicken curry to beef stoup.

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