A Chocolatey Blast From the Past


Growing up, we had the most fabulous neighbors: Mary Ann and Harold. They lived right next door to us and, since they had no children of their own, they kind of “adopted” my brother, sister and I. Mary Ann was an amazing person inside and out, and I was truly blessed to have known her; both have passed away, but Mary Ann’s chocolate cake and frosting recipe lives on.

Homemade Buttercream Frosting Recipe


  • 3 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk

In a medium bowl, add the powdered/confectioners sugar, butter, vanilla extract and milk. Beat with electric mixer until smooth and of spreading consistency. If frosting is too stiff, then add milk a little bit at a time until it gets to the desired consistency.


Mary Ann’s Chocolate Cake


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, put the sugar, flour, buttermilk (if you don’t have any, you can add two teaspoons of distilled white vinegar to a 1/2 cup of white milk and let it sit five minutes), vanilla extract, salt, baking soda and the eggs. Mix well with large spoon and set aside. In medium saucepan put the margarine, canola oil, cold water and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil slowly. Stir consistently. Remove from heat and add carefully to the ingredients in the large bowl. Mix well by hand or with electric mixer until smooth.

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch cakes or a 9 x 13-inch cake. To make 24 cupcakes, pour evenly into paper liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. For one 8-inch pan, it will take about 25-30 minutes to bake, for a 9 x 13-inch pan it will take about 30-35 minutes to bake. Make sure to spray either the 8-inch or 9 x 13-inch pans with non-stick spray before you pour the batter in or else it will stick. When you remove the cake/cupcakes from the oven, transfer it to a wire rack to let it cool completely before frosting!


Cathy Blatnik

Cathy is originally from Maryland, but has been living in the Midwest for more than 13 years. She has been "retired" from the paid workforce since 1996 to raise her family, which includes her husband, adult stepson, an adult daughter in college and a son in middle school. She has been baking and cooking for as long as she can remember in "Cathy's Kitchen". She is very excited to be able to share her recipes with other home cooks!

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