photograph by Matt Hulsman

For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons shortening, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup nuts, chopped

For the topping:
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1¾ cups hot water

For batter, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, shortening, and vanilla. Mix together until smooth. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 8 x 8-inch pan. For topping, mix together brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle over batter. Pour hot water over topping and batter. Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes.

Note: With the help of the Penderlea Homestead Museum Board of Directors, Betty Klavins and Frances Love compiled Recipes and Remembrances to raise money to help support the museum. To order a copy of Recipes and Remembrances, contact Penderlea Homestead Museum at (910) 604-1616 or

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For several years, Our State featured recipes from the pages of community and church cookbooks from around North Carolina. These dishes continue to be among some of our most popular and enjoyed.