Years ago, my girlfriend's mother used to bake this cake & it was called Gertrude Armstrong's Cake. For years, my Mother & I have made this cake. There's a lot of different variations & they're all good!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with a nonstick cooking spray or grease a shallow baking pan. Spread the nuts on the pan and place it on the center rack of the oven. Toast the nuts for about 8 minutes, stirring several times and checking frequently. Cool. Coarsely chop the nuts; set aside.
Grease or spray with a baking spray with flour, a 15"x10"x1" baking pan with sides. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda; set aside.
Combine water, butter, shortening and cocoa in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; remove from heat. Gradually pour and beat chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Beat in eggs. Add sour cream and vanilla, beat until batter is smooth. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
After the cake has been in the oven for about 10 minutes, prepare the frosting. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, half & half and cocoa. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat immediately. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until well blended. Stir in nuts and spread frosting over hot cake. Cool completely. Serves 20-24.