My grandmother was my best friend. This isn't typical, especially for a twenty-something to say her grandmother is her best friend. I never went more than a few days without talking to her on the phone until she was put into a nursing home because of dementia. She very quickly, practically overnight as a matter of fact, lost the ability to carry on a conversation. She also lost most of herself over the course of those few days. Looking back on it now, it was really like losing her twice -- once when she was taken over by dementia and again when she actually died.
My grandmother and I couldn't have been more different. Her favorite color was pink. She favored pearls or small pieces of gold as her jewelry of choice. She woke up quite early every morning and sat at her dressing table, carefully setting her hair and doing her makeup. She always had her fingernails painted. She always wore lipstick and perfume. She almost never cursed (at least until the dementia took hold). Her "expletive" of choice was "Oh shoot-a-boot!". I share none of these traits with her. I don't wear makeup. My hair is much too short to style or set in any real way. The only gold and pearls I own were hers. I can't remember the last time I put on makeup of any kind. I only wake up early when forced. I curse much more than I care to admit. I can't keep fingernail polish on because my job is much to hands-on.
Nevertheless, she was my best friend. I could tell her anything and we could talk for hours about the most mundane things. She gave me lots of things over the years -- a great appreciation for family; consistent politeness and courtesy for others; a love of good and simple food; the pricelessness of sitting next to a quiet lake and enjoying the peace; the value of laughs, hugs, and smiles from those you care about; the luxury of sleeping and a satin pillowcase every now and again; and the glamour of some really, really fabulous costume jewelry.
In addition to her manila folder of loose recipes, she passed on this completely amazing little folder of recipes. I'm not sure where it came from, but it is truly, truly, truly amazing (cue the Jem theme song). That amazing little black folder is where the recipe for this Heavenly Hash Cake comes from. I need to give fair warning -- this cake is dangerously sweet. Seriously, tooth-achingly, mind-numbingly sweet. It's also amazing. Cake may not be right for this cake. It's more like a brownie. It's like a brownie covered with marshmallows and chocolate frosting. You should run to the kitchen and make it immediately. I did find out that the cooking time was not nearly long enough. You keep it in the oven for 35 minutes or so, rather than the 20 to 25 in the recipe.
Heavenly Hash Cake
makes one 9"x13" cake
Print me, Please!!!
for the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts
for the icing:
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
5 Tbsp evaporated milk
Preheat the oven to 350°; grease a 9x13" baking pan and set aside.
Beat together the butter, cocoa, powder and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the flour and nuts until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the middle is just barely set.
Spread mini marshmallows over the top of the cake and return the pan to the oven. Bake about 5 minutes longer, or until the marshmallows are melted and a just barely toasted.
While the cake is baking, prepare the icing. Mix all the icing ingredients well, Pour the icing over the marshmallows and warm cake. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing.