Austinite Terri Johansen, a fifth-generation Texan, offers this recipe from his grandmother, Juliana Franklin, one that was passed down through generations. He remembers hearing stories about how she used to buy vanilla and other ingredients from a Watkins salesman traveling in a buggy.



  For the cake

·       2 cups flour

·       2 cups sugar

·       1/4 teaspoon salt

·       4 heaping tablespoons Watkins cocoa

·       2 sticks butter

·       1 cup boiling water

·       1/2 cup buttermilk

·       2 beaten eggs

·       1 teaspoon baking soda

·       1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla

  For the frosting

·       1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

·       1 ¾ stick of butter

·       4 heaping tablespoons Watkins cocoa

·       6 tablespoons whole milk

·       1 teaspoon Watkins vanilla

·       1 pound (minus 1/2 cup) powdered sugar

Preparation Instructions

  Use an 18x13 sheet cake pan, or two smaller.

  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.

  Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

  In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda and 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 pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

  Cut into squares and eat.