My mom hates chocolate, so she always omitted the cocoa that is usually used in this recipe. It is very good without it, too, so good that even after I grew up and discovered that it was supposed to have cocoa in it, I continued to make it without the cocoa. I have never added the cocoa to try it what way. This is the cake that I always requested for my birthday cake.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or spray with Baker's Joy) a 9" X 13" baking pan.
Mix and sift flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda (and cocoa if using it). Add cold water, Miracle Whip and vanilla.
Blend thoroughly and pour into baking pan. Bake in 350°F oven for 35 minutes or until cake tests done with toothpick. Allow cake to cook thoroughly, then ice with Creamy Nut Icing.
To prepare Creamy Nut Icing:
Melt shortening (you can use part butter, it will add flavor)in large saucepan. Remove from heat.
Blend in flour and salt. Slowly stir in milk.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. (Don't be concerned when mixture develops a curdled appearance and the shortening and butter separate from the flour/milk mixture, it will smooth out and come back together when you add the brown sugar and stir it in and as you finish the icing. The first time I made it, I threw it away at this point, then Mom told me it always does this).
Stir in brown sugar. Remove from heat.
Stir in confectioner's sugar.
Sit pan in cold water and beat until it reaches a spreadable consistancy.
Stir in vanilla and chopped nuts. Spread icing on cooled cake.