Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for the Cake Recipe!

Yesterday was my mom’s 91st birthday. She still lives Stillwater in the house that she and my dad had built when they moved there for my dad’s job as an OSU professor. It’s the house my sister and brother and I grew up in. A lot has changed at that corner of Perkins Road and McElroy. It used to be almost the edge of town. Perkins Road was a two-lane gravel road, and a farmhouse sat on the southeast corner of the intersection. Not much else was west of Perkins beyond a random house or two. I made friends with the girl who lived in the farmhouse because she had a horse and wore boots and jeans. She also had a velvet Elvis painting, and the house smelled like a barn. So exotic. Just walking across McElroy to her house was like going to another universe to me, but, selfishly, I wanted to ride her horse.

My parents’ house and three others initially made up the first settlers of their housing addition. Now every lot is full and the house next door that used to belong to an ag professor is a rental house full of college kids. “They have parties every weekend,” my mom told me, “but they’re nice kids. They gave me their phone number if I need anything.”

Only one woman besides my mom from the original neighbors is still living, and she is also still in her house.

The town is bound to change, but Hideaway remains, although not in the tiny original location. My high school boyfriend’s dad helped create the first collage-covered wall at that restaurant. Of course, no matter where it is, the Stillwater Hideaway is the “original,” and my mom enjoys going there. So, for her birthday, my husband, my sister and I took her to Hideaway for fried mushrooms and pizza.

For her birthday cake, I didn’t have much time, so I made a Texas Sheet Cake. My mom used to make that cake for our family and for my kids every once in a while. Now she doesn’t cook much, but I’m happy to take on the task. She was always a great cook, and I learned a lot from her. The cake recipe is in a Stillwater recipe book that she gave me years and years ago. It’s not really fancy, birthday cake-worthy, but I knew my mom would enjoy having it again – and it only takes about 30-45 minutes to make. Besides, it’s delicious!

So, in honor of my mom, I’ll share her Texas Sheet Cake recipe with you. If you’ve never made it, I promise, it’s as easy as it looks, and you’ll love it!


2 sticks margarine
1 c. water
4 T cocoa
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
½ t. salt
½ c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
(I also add a little cinnamon to the batter)

Bring to boil margarine, water and cocoa. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Pour into greased 11 x 17” jellyroll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. While cake cooks, make icing because you frost cake immediately, while it is still hot.


1 stick margarine
4 T cocoa
6 T milk
1 box powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Bring to boil margarine, cocoa and milk. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and chopped nuts. Spread frosting on hot cake.

Categories: Editor’s Blog