For our family, the first weekend of May always means the Bowman Family Reunion. Mama’s mama was a Bowman, and some of Mama’s best memories are centered around that side of the family. They gather annually in what used to be a little schoolhouse in a place called Wilton in Southwest Arkansas. I’m not even entirely sure that Wilton is actually even considered a town it’s so small. The building has high ceilings, hardwood floors, and no central air conditioning. Thankfully this year it was cloudy enough to provide a little bit of cover from the heat.
the food line!!
joy helping arrange part of the buffet table
Reunions with our family mean lots of delicious food, and lots and lots of laughter. Every year, no matter what happens, the one story in particular that makes us laughs the hardest is the story of the year our Aunt Marie brought the “Better Than Sex Cake, ” to the reunion. This cake has been around long enough that lots of people have heard of it, but Marie was a bit of a maverick and brought this cake to the reunion about 25 years ago, long before there were movies and TV shows with sex in the title and it wasn’t something that everybody talks about every day in front of whoever.
Well, poor Marie worked hard on this cake, and proudly brought it to the reunion, only to have her pride dashed when she announced the name of the cake. Our grandmother apparently, really didn’t actually listen to Marie when she said that it was a better than sex CAKE, and only overheard Marie talking about sex. Assuming that our aunt was oversharing, our grandmother promptly screamed, “MARIE—-HUSH UP NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR SEX LIFE!!!!” Well, once our grandmother had something in her head, there was no changing it (something passed down to our Mama), and she spent the rest of that reunion flustered about Aunt Marie giving too much personal information.
This year, we wanted to make this cake in celebration of the reunion. Marie has long since passed on, so we were hard pressed to get an actual recipe. There was dispute as to exactly what the cake tasted like (everybody remembers the story but can’t remember the cake). So we found a few different versions, and made both. Both were equally delicious, and after discussing it with Mama we are fairly certain this is the correct version. Stay tuned later in the week for another fabulous recipe of this cake!
(*****we got this particular version from Paula Deen, who we worship*****)
- 1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
- 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 (3.4-ounce) box French vanilla pudding, plus ingredients to prepare
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup flaked, sweetened toasted coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare yellow cake mix as directed using a greased 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. While cake is baking, combine the pineapple and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Remove cake from oven and using a fork, pierce holes into cake. Pour pineapple mixture over hot cake and set aside.
Prepare pudding according to package directions. Spread pudding over cake and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Whip heavy cream and remaining sugar until stiff. Cover top of cake with whipped cream and sprinkle toasted coconut on top.
spreading the toppings on