Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake (approved by Nana)

I spent the last few days cooking and baking for Easter. We had a really nice dinner with Nana. She will be 84 on Friday. There is exactly 40 years and 1 weeks age difference between us. She was in good spirits today, making us laugh as always. For those of who don't know, my Nana has Alzheimer's. She is in the later stages of the disease but she still knows who we are, and she still knows who she is, most of the time anyway. She is fascinated with my fridge. She can't believe that it is black, and every time she is here, she comments on it, about 15 times. Today she was also fascinated by a wooden cow I have in my kitchen. She commented on that about 20 times. Always seeing it for the first time when she looks at it. It's funny, but it's sad too. I asked her why she wasn't wearing her glasses and she told me that she never wore glasses in her whole life. (She wore glasses for 50 years). So I showed her a picture of herself with glasses on. "That's not me", she said. You just have to agree, cause arguing with someone who has Alzheimer's has no point.

She loves Moose.

She had a good day. She had all her jewelry on as always. She likes to wear every necklace that she has at once, kinda like an old Mrs.T. She was happy when the sweets came out. She loves her sweets. I think that must be where I get my sweet tooth from. Before we brought out the desserts she had already eaten some Wandies, 2 pocket fulls of Cadbury mini eggs, 3 chocolate covered strawberries, 2 deviled eggs (which she later proclaimed that she never ate "I don't care for deviled eggs". Nana you ate two!!!), and some pizelles. We brought out the chocolate sheet cake and she ate FIVE pieces of it. I kid you not, five pieces! Then she moved on to the cheese cake, she only ate one piece of that, and she finished everything off with some more chocolate eggs, and another strawberry.

After all her sweets she announced that she needed to get back to "work". That's what she calls the assisted living facility she lives It was a nice day and her sweet tooth was very happy.

Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake

Combine in a bowl:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a saucepan melt:
2 sticks butter
4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa (stir together)
Add 1 cup of boiling water. Allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds then turn off the heat. Pour over flour mixture and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup pour:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking make the icing:
Chop 1/2 cup pecans finely
Melt 1 and 3/4 sticks butter in a saucepan
Add 4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa, turn off the heat.
6 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups powered sugar

Stir together, add pecans and pour over warm cake. I used an icing knife to spread it. I also omitted the pecans this time, cause my kids don't like them.
This cake was a big hit, especially with Nana. The kids loved it too.


~lifedramatic~ said...

I made that cake a few weeks ago, I took it into work and everyone raved about it, plus it feeds a crowd!

I also omitted the pecans, the cake is just perfect without them.


Anonymous said...

Happy 84th Nana! :)
My grandma had Alzheimer's too, but her's was really bad. She didn't recognize anyone in the family.

moving on said...

I have a theory about the eating habits of your nana and my grandpa. grandpa has end-stage parkenson's dementia (he can only barely speak at this point, and doesn't seem to recognize anybody). He's always had a sweet tooth, but now, look out! He can put away as many desserts as you'll give him!
My theory is that they don't REMEMBER having the dessert. They notice fullness in their stomach, so they know they've had a meal, but "there's always room for jello" and they'll have some.