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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Ardis Yost’s Chocolate Sheet Cake & Frosting

Ardis Yost’s Chocolate Sheet Cake & Frosting

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Ardis Yost is one of our dearest friends. A former school teacher in Red Cloud, Ardis is the mother of several accomplished adult children, including Jay Yost who is on our Board of Governors.

In honor of National Chocolate Cake Day, on January 27, 2021, we are featuring this recipe from our cookbook, At Willa Cather's Tables: The Cather Foundation Cookbook [2010: edited by Ann Romines]. This recipe is easy to make and yields a rich and delicious chocolate cake in no time—and children love to help make it almost as much as eating it!

At Willa Cather's Tables makes a great gift for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or any occasion and is an excellent addition to your culinary or literary collection—especially with the many recipes that relate to Willa Cather's writings, as well as from our many friends of the Willa Cather Foundation.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine
  • 5 tablespoons half-and-half, or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 pounds of powdered sugar (and extra as needed)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the flour and sugar into a sifter, in alternation; sift and set aside. Lightly stir together the buttermilk, eggs, and the baking soda. Set aside.

Mix cocoa, water, margarine and vanilla in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over low heat, then cool slightly. Stir flour and sugar and the buttermilk mixture into the cooling cocoa mixture, then beat with a mixer until smooth.

Pour into greased and floured jelly roll pan (aoubt 10x14 inches). Bake for 20 minutes.

While the cake bakes, mix margarine and half-and-half or milk in saucepan over low heat, slowly bringing to a boil. Let cool slightly. Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar, adding more sugar if needed until frosting is fairly thick.

Frost cake while it is still warm, about 10 minutes after baking.

Ardis Grace Mullen Yost, Friend of the Foundation

For more about At Willa Cather's Tables, read HERE or purchase HERE from our National Willa Cather Center Bookstore!