Mark Johnson doesn't like to be called a hero, not even when I'm referring to his role in Finding Amanda, even though between his years of service in Afghanistan and his recent adventures in the novel, the term applies. But today, attempting to cook a cake for Mother's Day, he certainly doesn't feel like a hero.
But Sophie and Madi insisted they try, so he called his mother-in-law and found a recipe that, in her words, “Even Mark couldn't screw up.” And to give Amanda a break, he's even posting on the blog. Happy Mother's Day, Amanda.
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 yellow cake mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 and spray a Bundt pan with Pam. You're supposed to grease and flower it, but Mark didn't bother with that, and it turned out just fine.
Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans and set them aside.
Throw the cake mix, pudding, veggie oil, water, and vanilla into the mixer. Then add the eggs one at a time. (That's how Mark's always seen Amanda do it, so that's how he did it.)
Put a little bit of the cinnamon/nut mixture at the bottom of the pan–just a little. Then add about 1/3 of the batter, then about half of what's left of the cinnamon/nut mixture. Then pour another 1/3 of the cake batter on top, then layer the rest of the cinnamon/nut mixture. Then spread the rest of the cake batter on top.
Bake 58 to 60 minutes. Let it cool on a rack for a little while. While it's cooling, mix the sugar, milk, and vanilla. When the cake is cool, run a knife around the edge and then turn it onto a serving dish. Then pour the icing over the top.
Amanda was very impressed.