Posts Tagged ‘oleo’

What the heck is Oleo?!

June 25, 2010

I recently was loaned a cookbook by a friend.  This is no ordinary cookbook. The Ladies Aide Society Cookbook from the Central Schwenkfelder Church (Pennsylvania).

Now let me tell you, these recipes are amazing.  You’ll be seeing quite a few of them on this blog from time to time.  But there has been one overarching challenge to using these recipes – one that I often have with some of my grandma’s recipesIngredients that don’t exist anymore.

One ingredient, in particular: OLEO. I have asked myself on more than one occasion lately “what the hell is oleo”… the answer – I learned – is simple.  Margarine.

Simple, right?  Here I was convinced it was some mythical “crisco-esque” substance that would make all my cakes perfect, my muffins moist, and my brownies delectable.  All that is true, but there’s no magic to it… just plain old margarine.  The reason many grandma’s refer to Oleo in recipes is interesting.

While I’ve long been a staunch butter lover (I blame my mom)… I have been told, in certain instances… margarine is better.  Granted, it’s b/c it has more oil content and makes things unbelievable moist (along with clogging the arteries)… but still, worth considering…

-Eat Hearty


Gma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

June 25, 2010

Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe

You know how there are those images that cause an instant involuntary reaction – puffy clouds, a bunny, a crazy woman wearing fur on 8th avenue in the middle of July – and leave a lasting impression.  Well the sight of a plain cookie sheet messily covered with several sheets of aluminum foil puts a big smile on my face and starts my mouth “awaterin’ ” (pardon the country slang… sometimes you just need a “feel good” word).

Why does a messy foil wrap job make me happy? Good question.  The answer is my Grandma Millie’s Chocolate Sheet Cake.  Early on, Millie discovered that the best way to transport a sheet cake in your car* is to simply leave it in the pan in which you baked it and cover it with foil.  Fortunately, the cake is so good, you rarely have to leave the pan b/c it’s usually eaten in one sitting.  To this day, I see a wrapped cookie sheet and hope for chocolate cake — I seem to find myself hoping for cake a lot 🙂

*I should mention, this method of transport only works if you actually get the cake into the car (klutzy baking disasters run in the family).


For Cake:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick oleo
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1/4 cup oleo
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon milk (guess at this)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

Step One: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Step Two: Sift flour and white sugar into large mixing bowl.

Step Three: In a sauce pan bring 1 stick oleo, cocoa powder, and water to a boil.

Step Four: Add hot ingredients (from step 3) to dry ingredients (from step 2) and mix in oil, buttermilk, egg, baking soda and vanilla.  Mix well.

Step Five: Pour into a greased cookie sheet.

Step Six: Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Step Seven: While cake is baking make frosting.  In a saucepan bring 1/4 cup oleo, cocoa powder, vanilla and milk to a boil.  Remove from stove and combine with powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Step Eight: Spread frosting over hot cake and let cool.

-Eat Hearty!