Aunt Vera Chocolate Cake Recipe

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This chocolate cake recipe was found written on the back of the cardboard packaging for knee high pantyhose in my parent’s recipe collection.

It comes from my Aunt Vera, who was my grandmother’s sister. She was born on January 15, 1916 and lived 77 years until June 23, 1993.

As kids, we didn’t really know a whole lot about my Aunt Vera, except she lived alone and loved animals. I remember her always talking to birds and even being able to get them to land in her hand.

She also had quite the sense of “style” – wearing simple handmade dresses, usually with an apron while she helped my grandma cook for the big family gatherings we used to have.

With these dresses, she ALWAYS wore knee-high stockings. As most people know, wearing knee-highs with a dress is a big fashion no-no, but honestly, if you think about what a pain regular pantyhose are to get on and off, it was kind of practical.

Her trademark knee-high stockings is what makes this recipe even more precious, because she literally wrote it on the back of the packaging for a pair of knee high stockings!

Woolworth Packaging Recipe
Woolworth Packaging Recipe

She bought them at Woolworth’s, which was the nearest and almost the only “big box” store closest to her at the time, but it was still a good half hour drive from where she lived.

Here is the front of the packaging:

Under The Knee
Under The Knee

Naturally, one of course has to wonder how or why my Aunt Vera wrote this recipe on the back of knee-high packaging and it ended up at my parent’s house.

Well…that apparently is a story as well! One night my Dad went there to visit, where he had some of Aunt Vera’s chocolate cake. She gave him the recipe for my mom to make sometime – as well as a very heavy and old player piano.

We can only guess this is the only thing she had to write on – being a kid who grew up during the Great Depression, their generation wasn’t one to waste anything.

Aunt Vera Chocolate Cake Recipe
Aunt Vera Chocolate Cake Recipe

I thought it was interesting she included a “Table of Measures” on the right side of this recipe. She even included weights, like 4 level teaspoons = 1 ounce. She even included measurements that don’t even apply to this recipe, like 1/3 cup = 1/2 of 1 stick of butter. {Which actually isn’t even accurate – 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup of butter!}

Another thing I noticed about this recipe is she underlined the different sections in red crayons. That’s kind of amusing to me to think she had her own box of crayons, because I actually remember her coloring and drawing with all of us grandkids at my grandma’s dining room table a couple of times.

At any rate, this is a very special recipe to have in our collection, and I’m excited to share Aunt Vera’s chocolate cake recipe with you!

Aunt Vera Chocolate Cake Recipe

Aunt Vera’s Chocolate Cake Recipe

This vintage bake from scratch chocolate cake recipe made with buttermilk and cocoa powder comes from my Great-Aunt Vera.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Cake Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 346 kcal


Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of butter creamed
  • ½ pound powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Mix together 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 3/4 cup of buttermilk.
  • Stir in baking powder and baking soda.
  • Add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat well.
  • Bake in a 9×13 pan in 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes. For cupcakes, bake for 12-15 minutes.
  • Make icing by combining butter, powdered sugar, milk, and flavoring. When cake is cooled, ice cake.


If thinner icing is desired, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. Vanilla can be substituted with other flavorings.


Calories: 346kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 5gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 425mgPotassium: 109mgFiber: 1gSugar: 54gVitamin A: 207IUCalcium: 64mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and of course, if you make Aunt Vera’s chocolate cake recipe, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

One Comment

  1. Nice to see the recipe details and how rich it was in certain ingredients. The back story of how it was preserved and the insight into the person of Aunt Vera made it all the more charming.

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