Updated Friday, February 19th, 2010
Total Time: 40
This is one of Ruth Shackford's favorite cakes. She first made it when the minister of her church planned to marry ... another minister. "I had this chocolate cake recipe I really liked," she says, "and I knew that Rev. Diane Merrill liked chocolate, so I made the wedding cake from this recipe. And it's been called Preacher's Chocolate Cake ever since--even if I just make it in a sheet pan for the evening meal, maybe ice it, or top with cream or ice cream."
Heat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan (or line it with parchment paper). With your mixer on low, cream together sugars and shortening (or butter). When thoroughly mixed, add eggs, keeping the mixer going as you do so. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Add dry mixture to sugar and egg mixture, keeping the mixer on low. Add sour milk (or sour cream or yogurt if you prefer). When it's well blended, stop the mixer and fold in water and vanilla by hand. Pour batter into pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until a sharp knife comes out clean.
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