Aunt Millie's Tinker Cake!

 
This cake is my Aunt Millie's signature dessert recipe.  Aunt Millie is  my mother's sister and she is the oldest in a family of 11 children.

 Out of all six of the sisters in my mother's family, Aunt Millie will tell you cooking is not her most favorite thing to do.  She is a good cook and she does cook, but she would much rather do other things.   She is a expert seamstress, she loves to garden and grows some of the most beautiful flowers, and she is a wonderful quilter.  I could not tell you how many fabulous quilts she has made in her lifetime.  

This Tinker Cake is a cake she has probably been making for at least 40 years.  If someone dies, the family gets this cake. If you have a baby when you come home you will get this cake!  If there is a family dinner or reunion this cake will be one of the things Aunt Millie will bring.  If you have a birthday and nobody to bake you a birthday cake, Aunt Millie will bake you a Tinker Cake to brighten your day. 

It is a delicious chocolate cake with just a hint of cinnamon in it.   There are three smells that I will always associate with Aunt Millie...White Shoulders perfume, Dove bath soap, and Tinker Cake!  I keep Dove soap in my bathrooms to this day, because I always loved the way it made Aunt Millie's bathroom smell and it reminds me of her.  Here is what you'll need for the Tinker Cake, don't let the many ingredients scare you off, it's not hard to make at all:


Buttermilk, all purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, butter cocoa, vanilla, salt, confectioners sugar, water, milk, eggs, oil,  chopped walnuts.

First, sift the dry ingredients together...flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon...and mix together.
In a saucepan combine butter, water, oil, and cocoa and bring to a boil. 
Pour over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Beat eggs slightly, add buttermilk and vanilla.  Mix together and add to the other ingredients in the mixing bowl.  Mix until all of it is incorporated, but don't over mix.  Just use a whisk for this. 

Pour the cake batter in a 9"x13" baking pan that has been liberally sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  If you use a glass dish as I did, decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
During the last 5 minutes of the cake baking, start the icing so that the cake can be iced while it's warm.  Melt the butter in a pan, add the milk and cocoa and bring to a boil. After it boils turn the heat down so it doesn't burn. Stir in the vanilla and the confectioner's sugar until it is smooth. 
Add the chopped nuts and mix until incorporated.
Immediately pour the warm icing on the warm cake and you have "Aunt Millie's Tinker Cake"!
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oil
4 tbsp. cocoa
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

Tinker Cake Icing
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 tbsp. cocoa
6 tbsp. milk
1 box powdered sugar (4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped



70 comments:

  1. This looks and sounds delicious! I love that you 1) have an aunt named Millie--precious and 2) shared such a special recipe. Thank you! I'll be trying this this summer.

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  2. Thank you so much for commenting. :) Yes, Aunt Mille is quite a character...we love her! I hope you do trythe cake, it's wonderful!

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  3. I'm a chocoholic and this made me smile. Looks wonderful!

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    1. I must admit that I am also a chocoholic and this cake has always been one of my favorites. Thank you for commenting, Carrie!

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    2. looks delicious! thanks for sharing.

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  4. I have this same recipe.....I call it 'Henrietta's Cake' because that's the name of the lady who gave me the recipe. I don't think she ever said what it was called. However, you know, recipes get passed around so much, I'm sure names change over and over again. Thanks! And, everybody...it is an absolutely delicious cake!

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    1. Thank you for taking time to comment. I don't know why the name Tinker Cake. That is just what my aunt has always called it. Some people make a similar cake called Texas Sheet Cake...my late mother-in-law made a delicious one, but that is actually a different recipe. It doesn't have the cinnamon.

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  5. I make this very same cake, omitting the cinnamon. I also add 1 tsp of White Karo syrup to the icing at the time I add the vanilla. I also take a wooden spoon handle and poke holes in the warm cake before icing allowing the icing to penetrate the cake. We call it a Chocolate Candy Cake

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  6. I make this cake often. Two changes. I add 1 tsp. cinnamon to the cake batter and 1 tsp. cinnamon to the icing. Poke holes into the warm cake before you pour the icing and some of the warm icing will seep through the holes into the cake.

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  7. I make this cake, and my recipe is called Texas Sheet Cake. When I remove the cake from the oven, I use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over it so that the icing can run down into the cake. Make the icing a thinner consistency.

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    1. Yes it was called texas cake when my mom made it....

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  8. Thanks for posting! Sounds great! Could you make this a sheet cake?

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  9. Have to double-check the recipe to be certain, but I think this is what we call Texas Sheet Cake, and it IS delicious!

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    1. my mom makes this and she calls it Texas sheet cake also! yummy!

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  10. This sounds delish and I'm going to make it this weekend :) YUMM.....Thank You!!

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  11. This looks delish and I'm going to make it this weekend. YUMMM..........thanks for sharing!!

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  12. My mother-in-law always made the Texas Sheet and it was delicious, but it was different than this cake. It didn't have the cinnamon in it and the icing was thinner. This cake has a much thicker icing than Texas Sheet cake does.

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    1. Actually I've made the Texas sheet cake for years, including cinnamon. The main difference is that one is baked on a jelly roll sheet pan and the other a 9 x 13" baking dish.

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  13. this looks REALLY YUMMY.. Gonna try this one.. Thanks

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  14. This is an old recipe called "Dream Cake". My mom made these at Christmas every year. The recipe was on the back of Hershey's unsweetened chocolate can years ago. It is my favorite cake, so moist and good! Yum!

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  15. Thank-you for sharing ! What a lovely person you are to share your family recipes <3

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  16. We call it Chocolate Sheet Cake, Texas Sheet Cake, and someone even called it Sheath Cake! I've been making it for years, with the cinnamon. It is easy to make and if you use cake flour, you get a very tender and tasty cake. The icing is like fudge, thick, and so good! Thanks for sharing this. I make it several times a year for family and for church potlucks, too. Happy eating! Oh, and love your description of your Aunt Millie! :-)

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    1. Yes, I make this often and people devour it! Only diff.is Texas Sheet Cake uses 1/2 c. shortening instead of the oil. I leave out the cinnamon by choice - fast to make!

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  17. I have made this exact cake many times for many many years. I am known for it among my friends and church. The only difference in yours and mine is the size of the pan. I use an 11 X 17. Some people call it a jelly roll pan. It is the best cake ever.

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  18. we call this cake Texas sheet cake, and it is very good,

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  19. the first time I made this, I was not happy with the frosting: too thick and hard to spread, so next time, I'll use less powdered sugar!

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  20. Why is it called Tinker Cake??

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  21. I think I would like Aunt Millie AND her Tinkers Cake!! Thank you for sharing them both!!

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  22. I'm definitely trying this asap! I love your recipes. Thanks so much for all you share. I made the honey garlic pork chops tonight, and they were a huge hit with my family :)

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  23. My sweet mother makes this cake for me for my birthday every year! It is to die for!

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  24. I have this same recipe, it is my go to chocolate cake recipe. It so moist! I use pecans instead of walnuts. Sometimes I leave the cinnamon out. It is delicious both ways. My granddaughter likes it without nuts. This one is a keeper.

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  25. I have made this recipe for years. It is my go to chocolate cake recipe. It is so moist. I sometimes leave the cinnamon out. It is good both ways. I use pecans instead of walnuts. When my granddaughter is coming I leave the nuts out all together since she does not like nuts. This one is definitely a keeper. Everyone should try it.

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  26. Do you use unsalted butter??

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  27. The cinnamon adds so much to this chocolate cake! A friend from Texas gave me this recipe over 40 years ago and she called it Texas Sheath Cake and baked it in a jelly roll pan instead of in the 9 x 13. This would eliminate the need for poking holes in the cake as you have a thinner cake anyway. My favorite - as long as you use the cinnamon.

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  28. I get this as a Birthday cake once a year. its called Debbies cake in my childhood home. lol hope

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  29. THIS CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE IS DEFINITELY "ONE TO DIE FOR"!!!

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  30. I've made this cake before and it is a family favorite. So moist, densely chocolate, and decadent.

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  31. Ahh, where I come from this is the Texas Sheetcake! Funny how recipes evolve and move around! We've loved this cake for decades. Thanks for sharing an oldie but goodie!

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  32. My aunt gave me this recipe about a hundred years ago :) and she called it "Texas Fudge Cake". It's my all-time favorite cake recipe and is always a hit where ever I take it.

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  33. Has many names indeed..mostly Texas sheet cake...I have made it hundreds of times but NEVER with the cinnamon in it. hmmm guess that is unique to Tinker cake. Yes it is delicious and Yes I make mine in a jelly roll pan too..it is thin batter and only rose 2 inches or less. Very tasty cake!!

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  34. Could I do the icing with chopped peanuts instead of walnuts or omit the nuts altogether? It looks and sounds delicious but I am just not a nut person

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    1. I would just leave the nuts out altogether if you are not a nut person! I usually use pecans myself, but have made it without any numerous times. Somehow peanuts just don't sound right in it, altho' all kinds of candy bars have peanuts and chocolate together.

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  35. This cake, under the name "Sheath Cake", has been our family birthday cake for 60 years. My grandson began making it by himself at age 5!

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  36. We have had this recipe from my husband's cousin in Oklahoma. Her daughter loved making it all of the time and she called it Diana's Chocolate Cinnamon Cake. It is delicious!!!!

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  37. I am wondering if you use salted or unsalted butter. I never know what to use. It sounds wonderful!

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  38. thank you for sharing the recipe. I am making it in Cali right now. Yum. and the story about aunt millie is wonderful. love it. thanks

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    1. Haha, My grandmother kept one of these in the freezer at all times for funerals.

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  39. The preacher's wife gave me this exact recipe in 1970. It is AWESOME! Not only is it delicious, but it's easy to make. She, however, called it Texas Cocoa Cake....whatever the name, if you've never tasted it, you are missing a real treat!

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  40. What a wonderful story about your Aunt Millie. We make this cake but call Texas Funeral Cake.

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  41. I grew up calling this "Church cake" because the only time I ever had it was as dessert after church dinners out of the giant metal pans!

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  42. My husband's cousin in Oklahoma gave us this recipe years ago. Her daughter Diana made it ever time we were there. This is a very good cake. We always called it Diana's Cake. :-) Which ever name it goes by it is GOOD! Thanks for sharing. :-)

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  43. I think this might be my former mother-in-law's Buttermilk Chocolate Cake. I always loved it and have never figured out what made the diff - it was just so moist and tasted soooooo good. I'm gonna try it:)

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  44. tell Aunt Millie she can send me a cake.. My birthday is Christmas and it gets overlooked most of the time.
    Alice from Boaz, Al

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  45. Just call great....thank you for sharing.

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  46. Old recipe called "Texas Cake"! Been making this for about 40 years!

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  47. I think this should be called just what she calls it, as this is her page and her recipe. It obviously has a strong family connection and that's a special part of the recipe.

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  48. This is exactly the cake my grandmother made. The difference is she used a cooked brown sugar icing that is similar to penuche. That icing was the hard part. I still make it and it reminds me of her. I called it Mexican Chocolate Cake (caramel & cinnamon), but my grandmother called it Easy Chocolate Cake.

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  49. Looks like the Hershey's Cocoa Cake recipe that used to be on the back of the cocoa can. Can't wait to try it!

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  50. How many eggs? I am in the middle of making and cannot find the number of eggs listed.

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    1. Recipe calls for 2 beaten eggs

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  51. I have this in the oven now. Smells wonderful and if taste as good as the batter I tryed it will be amazing.

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  52. This cake is wonderful. So moist and no mixer needed. Took this cake to a pot luck and it was a hit. Everyone LOVED the hint of cinnamon. This is a keeper.

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  53. This cake is a chocolate lover's dream. Making for dessert this weekend when we have house guests. Love that I do not have to use a mixer. Soooooo good.

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  54. Just took mine out of the oven. It was easy to make. Haven't tasted the finished cake yet, but did taste the icing and boy is it sweet....and grainy. Is this the way it should be? I used the whole box of powdered sugar as per directions and it looked perfectly smooth when I poured it on. Perhaps the texture will change. At the very least I think I will cut the sugar back a bit for the frosting next time.

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  55. I just made this cake. It was so easy to make. Looks very yummy! Thank you for sharing!!

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  56. Made this for years. The cinnamon in the recipe makes a big difference. It has been awhile - I will have to make one soon.

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  57. This recipe is like the one I make for Coke Cake except I use Coke instead of the water & milk & omit the cinnimon but think I'll add it next time... it's my son & grandson's favorite birthday cake.... "Gran'ma's Coke Cake" soooo good !

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