Chocolate Sheath Cake – A Family Staple

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

I’ve been MIA from my blog for a bit. Overwhelmed with myriad family drama and upset. But I’m back. And I bring you today ….. my son’s all time favorite desert. And Lily Link’s favorite birthday cake (Lily is the daughter of Paul Link and Christine Healy). Chocolate Sheath cake. I have no recollection of where the recipe came from so I cannot give attribution but I can say for sure it’s delicious and the consummate crowd pleaser.

I made the cake two weeks ago for our friend Terry Hoffman’s going away party. She’s now moved to St. Louis – her childhood home – for a “better job.” She was nervous and sad but finally resigned to her decision – and all reports from her have been positive. We will miss her. Keep your eyes open for her book - which will be published! It was a fun, not too big of a party. Alan and I only knew 3 people including Terry. It was great talking to new folks – Terry’s friends are lovely. Anyway…. I digress. Back to the cake.

So... I’ve been making this cake since college. It’s easy and delicious and I know the recipe backwards and forwards but I was really off my game that day and I had to make it twice because the first time I left out the buttermilk (I was talking on the telephone). I wasn’t sure but I thought that buttermilk was likely an essential ingredient. So I finished the cake and made it again. The second time I forgot to put in the vanilla (I was not on the phone….). I didn’t think the vanilla was as essential as the buttermilk so I didn’t make a third cake. Call me a knucklehead if you like but I think pre-dementia is probably more accurate. There was also a tray of brownies at the party so good thing I didn’t make a third cake! Too much chocolate. Here it is...

Chocolate Sheath Cake

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

Pre-heat oven to 400° Butter and flour a cookie sheet that has sides (I use cocoa instead of flour so the cake doesn’t look weird and white-ish when it’s cooked)

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks (8 oz.) butter

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

½ cup boiling water

2 eggs – well beaten

½ cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

Directions for Cake:

Put the butter, cocoa powder and boiling water into a small pot and bring to a boil. While it’s cooking, whisk together or sift together the following: 2 cups flour 2 cups sugar 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt

When the cocoa mixture is boiling stir it into the dry ingredients Add ½ cup buttermilk and mix Add the eggs and mix Add the vanilla and mix

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for between 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the pan. The cake will spring back when done, even slightly dented is fine. You definitely do not want to over-bake this one. While the cake is baking make the frosting because the cake needs to be frosted while it’s hot.

Frosting Ingredients:

1 stick butter

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

6 Tbsp buttermilk

1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar

Frosting Directions:

In a large-ish pot boil the butter, cocoa powder and buttermilk. When the mixture comes to a boil add in the powdered sugar. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth and the little bumps are gone.

When the cake comes out of the oven, frost immediately and spread the frosting evenly over the top. Most often I sprinkle colored sprinkles on the top so it looks pretty but you don’t have to. Powdered sugar sprinkled on the top would look nice as well.

*To print or email this recipe, please click on the print or email icon on the bottom left side of the page.