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The Perfect Hospitality Dessert

As a southern woman, hospitality is in my blood. If you come to my house, I promise there will be a fresh pot of coffee and something to eat, whether it be dinner or just a treat. I genuinely love to serve others through cooking and am happy to jump on a meal train for a friend or neighbor in need.

I am not, however, great at asking for help. Our family recently began our journey as foster parents, welcoming a newborn baby into our home that hadn't seen a newborn in three years. As cute as they are, newborns have a way of disrupting the usual flow of things; and before I knew it, I was drowning. After answering the obligatory question, "What can I do to help?" with, "Nothing! I'm fine! We're great!" one too many times, a friend called my bluff and set up a meal train.

Have you ever cried over cookies? I am not exaggerating when I say I wept over homemade chocolate chip cookies made my a neighbor. I was simply that overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity bestowed upon our family (and also a little sleep deprived).

Never underestimate the power of a meal made (or ordered) with love. When we are back to being the helpers instead of the recipients, I'll most likely be making one of our favorites - an iced chocolate sheet cake. It's so simple, so delicious, and perfectly happy in a disposable foil pan. Deliver it to a friend who could use a little extra help and don't be surprised if they shed a tear.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

(adapted from Pioneer Woman's Best Texas Sheet Cake)


Cake: 2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp (heaping) cocoa powder

2 sticks butter

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

Icing: 1 3/4 sticks butter

4 tbsp (heaping) cocoa powder

6 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar


Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Melt butter in a saucepan.

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.

Pour the buttermilk in a measuring cup and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.

Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture.

Pour into 18x13 sheet cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing.

Melt butter in a saucepan.

Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat.

Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together and pour over warm cake.

While icing is still warm, add sprinkles, candy, or nuts if you like.

We've even used this as a birthday cake!

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