Side Dish: Mother’s Day (May 10, 2010)

Luke Macfarlane as Scotty Wandell

In honor of Mother’s Day, this week I’m dedicating my blog to mothers everywhere…even to my own mother – who has not always been a model of love and support. But in the face of the setbacks we’ve come up against this week in the Walker family business, I now have a newfound appreciation for some of the other mothers in my own life – Nora, Holly, Kitty and Sarah, I am talking to you! – who manage to anchor and support their families and each other in the face of crisis.

And as Kevin and I get ready to embark on our own journey to parenthood, I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with my own mother. Will she want to be part of her grandchild’s life? I certainly hope so. Only time will tell, I guess… And even though I don’t have the relationship with her that I would want, I still see my mother as part of me and so I turn to her for this week’s recipe, an all-purpose cake that my family loved to eat and loved even more to talk about: Texas Sheet Cake. There’s nothing really Texan about it and I think part of the reason I loved it so much as a kid (besides the fact that it is delicious!) was it gave me license to curse. Yes, to curse. Let me explain…

Despite being from Mississippi no one in my family has a Southern accent, but when we talked about this cake we’d use the thickest drawl possible so “sheet” was made sound like a certain four-letter word. So I would ask for this cake to be made at every birthday, holiday or family gathering. Yes, because it was good, but also because it let me imagine that I was getting away with swearing.

When I went and found this recipe (written out by my mom and transcribed below), I decided that I’ll make one of these cakes for Michelle the newest mother in my life to enjoy. In fact this cake is so good, I think I’ll make one for all of the mothers in my life. And, of course, for Kevin.

Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere!!

(from Scotty’s Mom)

Sift together the following dry ingredients:
• 1 ¾ cup flour
• 1 ¾ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt

Bring the following to a boil:
• 1 stick butter
• 3 Tablespoons cocoa
• ¾ cup water

Add to the flour/sugar mixture and beat

Add the following ingredients:
• 2 eggs
• ½ cup of sour cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat well and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

BOILED ICING (This makes a very generous amount)

Melt/mix the following ingredients:
• ¾ stick butter
• 3 Tablespoons of water
• 3 Tablespoons of cocoa

Into that mixture dissolve about
• ¾ to 1 pound of confectionery sugar

Beat until smooth. Finally, add 1 teaspoon vanilla and spread on the cake while hot.

Sprinkle with nuts or decorate any way you want (e.g. candy hearts, Birthday greetings, etc.)

Good luck, Scotty!
Love you,