Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes where I am happy to introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! Today I am bringing you author, Judythe Morgan, and her recipe for Chocolate Sheet Cake along with an introduction to her contemporary Christian romance, When Love Blooms, first of the Fitzpatrick family novellas. Please join me in welcoming Judythe and savor her recipe for Chocolate Sheet Cake as you read about her new book!
Church socials are an important part of life in small towns like Burton, Texas, where When Love Blooms is set. And, I guarantee, you’ll always find a chocolate cake or two. At least one of those chocolate delicacies is some variation of my favorite Texas Sheet Cake recipe. I got the recipe from my husband’s sister way back when the Bronx was a prairie, and I’ve never found another chocolate cake recipe that tastes better or is easier to make.
Nita’s Chocolate Sheet Cake
Preheat over to 400o.
For the CAKE:
Sift together 2 cups sugar and 2 cups flour.
Put one (1) stick of butter (or margarine), ½ cup Crisco, ¼ cup cocoa powder, and 1 cup of water into a sauce pan. Bring to a rapid boil.
Pour this liquid mixture over the sugar and flour. Mix well.
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of soda in ½ cup of buttermilk and add to sugar and flour mixture.
NOTE: If you have no buttermilk on hand, you can substitute sour milk made by adding 3 teaspoons of vinegar to ½ cup of regular milk.
Add 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into a greased oblong pan or a jellyroll pan. Mixture will be thin.
Bake a 9×13 pan for 35-40 minutes. A jellyroll pan for 20-30 minutes.
For the ICING:
Put one (1) stick of butter (or margarine), ¼ cup cocoa powder, 6 tablespoons of sweet milk (regular, not cream or half-and-half) into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add 3 ½ cups of powdered or confectioner’s sugar. Beat well.
Spread over top of cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.
I promise you’ll think you’ve died and gone to chocolate heaven.
After a hit-and-run accident leaves her mother confined to a special care facility, Darcy Clark abandons her dream of an art career. Instead, she focuses on helping her father run the struggling family landscape business. She has no time or interest in romance.
When at-risk students from her old high school become her labor force on a city park project, their teacher Andy Fitzpatrick shows up to help and keep an eye on his kids. The chemistry between Darcy and Andy is instant.
Darcy dares to daydream about the possibility of a happily-ever-after until a dark secret connecting Andy to her mother’s accident comes to light.
Will the link kill their budding attraction before love can blossom?
Andy waited for a bicyclist to clear Sandy’s narrow driveway entrance and glided into a parking spot just vacated. “Can you believe this? I figured we’d have to park up the street and walk. What luck.”
“Amazing,” Darcy agreed. Had to be his luck. She’d never had any.
“What will you have? My treat,” he said as they headed to the order window. “Nothing’s better than their greasy, fried burger. Guaranteed to clog your arteries.”
She chuckled. Andy Fitzpatrick was easy-going, relaxed. A real charmer. He almost made her forget the responsibility she carried. “No onions or tomatoes on mine. I’ll go find us a table.”
The heavy aroma of grease from the kitchen exhaust filled her nose when she rounded the building to the area behind the wooden structure designated for picnic tables. She stopped not because of the smell, but because the girls from Andy’s class, the ones she’d encountered at the high school, stared at her. Refusing to make eye contact, she searched for another table under the trees on the other side of the drive-thru line. All were full.
Darcy looked back at the space where the two girls sat. The couple sitting across from them rose. The man waved Darcy over and gathered the remains of their meal onto the disposable tray.
“We’re leaving. You can sit with your friends.”
“Yeah, come on over and join us,” the one girl she’d seen yesterday at the library with Andy said. Hadn’t the highlighted streak in her Morticia Addams’ locks been green then? Darcy was glad such nonsense hadn’t been the fad in her high school days.
Her companion’s bracelets jangled as she patted the table. “We promise not to bite.”
Trapped by her good manners and no other available seats, Darcy squared her shoulders and moved slowly their way. At the same time, Andy breezed around her and set their order on the rough tabletop etched and burned with initials and messages.
“Thank you, Suzette. The place is packed today.”
“Do I get extra credit points?” Suzette asked with an artificial smile.
Andy shook his head. “No, but having your missing assignments on my desk tomorrow morning will.”
Suzette pursed her lips. “Don’t you ever lay off?”
Darcy took a deep breath and sat beside Andy, thinking the church widowers might have been the easier option.
“So what are you two doing here together?” the girl with the fluorescent orange hairstreak asked and then turned to Suzette. “I told you they’d hook up.”
“Whoa, Rachel!” Andy passed a wrapped burger to Darcy. “We’re not hooked up. I’m still trying to make up for you guys’ shenanigans the other day.”
Suzette snickered. “Yeah, right. You didn’t disagree when we said she was a hottie in those shorts.”
Andy gave a sheepish grin. “Truth’s the truth.”
Darcy’s cheeks heated. She dipped her head and rubbed her hand up and down her knee. “Can we talk about something else? Are you girls going to the fireworks later?”
“The guy at the end of the street puts on a better show,” Suzette said. “Besides, the park’s boring unless you’re a little kid. Nothing to do.”
Nothing to do. Darcy would have to fix that if she won the park project bid. The park should offer something for all ages.
Rachel’s cell phone chimed an incoming text. She exhaled loudly. “Gotta go. I like the park. It keeps my little brother and sister busy when I babysit. Like now. They’ll love the fireworks.”
“I’ll go with you,” Suzette offered. “I can push one of the rug rats on a swing. If we can find one that’s not broken.” Her gaze moved from Darcy to Andy. “Now don’t you two do anything I wouldn’t.” She giggled and walked away with Rachel.
Andy sighed loudly. “She’s just trying to get a rise out of us. Don’t give her the satisfaction.”
“I remember being their age. Life’s all about love and boyfriends.”
He nodded. “Hormones. No escaping them.”
“Thank goodness we learn to control them as we mature.” She spotted mustard caught in his beard. Without thinking, she wrapped her napkin around her finger and dabbed at the yellow glob. His hand covered hers. Their eyes locked.
Neither of them moved for several seconds, then he took the napkin and rubbed his chin whiskers clean. “If you say so.” His voice sounded strained as if he was forcing himself to seem nonchalant and unaffected.
Still tingling from his touch, Darcy wadded her empty burger wrapper in her hand. It had been so long since anyone was interested in her she must have imagined the connection.
Buy the Book:
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Judythe Morgan is an award-winning author who writes poignant love stories. She chose the genre because she believes in true love, second chances, forgiveness, and happily-ever-after.
As an Air Force daughter, Army wife, one time Department of Army Civilian, mother, antiques dealer, schoolteacher and administrator, her life has provided a wealth of experience. Add years of international travel and an insatiable desire to see, do, and learn and you have a creative fountain overflowing with stories.
The Fitzpatrick Family series grew from Judythe’s many years of service in church ministry. She also happens to be the wife of a preacher’s kid and the mother of a preacher, which means she’s lots of good stuff planned for the other seven siblings of the Fitzpatrick family.
When she’s not writing, you’ll find Judythe browsing antiques shops, reading on the front porch of her Colorado home or walking her dogs—a very large Old English sheepdog and an equally tiny Maltese—in the nearby Rio Grande National Forest.
Connect with Judythe:
Thanks so much, Jennifer, for this opportunity to share about When Love Blooms and my favorite chocolate cake recipe.
Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipes! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and pick up a new book!