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Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet CakeI’ve been in a funk lately.

A funk I’m sure is hormonal; I’ll spare my male readers detailed descriptions of the increasingly bizarre fluctuations of my menstrual cycle – let’s just say it ain’t pretty.  At any rate, yesterday afternoon my entire body, to say nothing of my brain, began screaming:

CHOCOLATE!!!!

Realizing that this hormone-driven chocolate obsession is neither going to fade any time soon nor be satisfied with several dozen a bite-size Snickers bar, my feverish middle-aged brain began to look for ways to enjoy some rich, chocolate-y goodness for more than 30 seconds.

The answer was nearly immediate, to say nothing of delightful:

Texas Sheet Cake.

Texas Sheet Cake is often known by other names, depending on your geographic location – simply Texas cake, Texas Brownies, Texas Brownie Cake, Texas Sheath Cake (no, we won’t touch that one with a ten-foot pole).  What it is, though, is a pan of moist, sweet, chocolate-y goodness that is extremely easy and super-quick to whip up from scratch.

Which is the only way to make it, really.

This is my tried-and-true recipe – the way Texas Sheet Cake is supposed to be enjoyed.  You don’t even have to get out your electric mixer; you can mix up this cake by hand in a jiffy.  There are all sorts of recipes for this cake all over the internet, so if you find one you like better, that’s fine – but if it calls for sour cream and walnuts, it just isn’t the real deal.

Note: This recipe calls for regular, salted butter.  I don’t normally use salted butter, so if you’re like me and use unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon table salt (or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, which is what I use).

Texas Sheet Cake

makes a big, wonderful cake

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola or other vegetable oil

1 cup water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon, and set aside. Stir together the remaining ingredients in another bowl. Gradually add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, stirring until you have a smooth, rather thin batter.

Pour into your prepared pan, and bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (whole, 2% or skim – doesn’t matter)

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 cup butter

1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix the milk and cocoa in a large, heavy saucepan, stirring very well to mix. Add the butter and, over medium heat, stir until the butter melts. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the pecans.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, carefully spread the frosting evenly over the hot cake.





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