NancyC

The Best (Texas) Chocolate Sheet Cake

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A few posts ago, I told you about a recipe for Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, made by Jane Ann for her department lunch. Well, Jane, who is also in that same department, madethis fabulous Texas sheet cake for the dessert. It was super-good…nice and moist, very chocolatey, and topped with a smooth layer of chocolate icing. Jane found the recipe over at The Pioneer Woman, where it’s called The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

Some people call this cake a Texas Sheet Cake because it’s so big…it’s baked in a big 13 x 18″ sheet pan or jelly roll pan, which measures about 10 x 15″. It’s described on The Pioneer Woman website as “…moist beyond imagination, chocolatey and rich like no tomorrow, and 100% of the time, causes moans and groans from anyone who takes a bite.” And as someone who tasted the cake Jane made, I can verify that this is all true! 🙂

Jane made this cake in a 13 x 18″ sheet pan–she had first tried it in a 10 x 15″ pan but said, “…by the time I added the frosting, it was running off the sides. It seemed to work much better in the larger pan. I used the recipe as is, just the larger pan.” So, if you use a 13 x 18″ pan, your cake will be thinner, like the one Jane made. I really liked the thinness of the cake–it kind of looks like a huge pan of brownies when you make it in a pan that big. But the cake will taste great whether you make it in a larger or smaller sheet pan. One thing I found is that if you make this in a 10 x 15″ jelly roll pan, you won’t need to use all the frosting; to avoid having the frosting run off the sides like it did for Jane on her first try with a 10 x 15″ pan, just pour enough frosting on to cover the surface of the cake without going over the edges of the pan–you’ll have about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of frosting left over (just save it to use on another desert).

The frosting will start setting about a half hour after you pour it on the cake, but if you want it to set firmly, you’ll need to give it a few hours.

Jane made the frosting a little differently, too, so it would be really smooth, and I’ve noted how she did that in the recipe below.

The Best (Texas) Chocolate Sheet Cake

  • Servings: Lots!
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print page

THE BEST (TEXAS) CHOCOLATE SHEET CAKE by NancyC, adapted from The Pioneer Woman                                                      

Makes a 13×18″ sheet cake (works best in a 13×18″ pan, but you can use a 10×15″ pan also)

CAKE:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 heaping Tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup buttermilk (Or use this tip to make a buttermilk substitute: Place 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough regular milk to bring the liquid up to the 1/2 cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes, then use in the recipe.)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

FROSTING:

  • 1 3/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 6 Tablespoons) butter
  • 4 heaping Tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 6 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound, minus 1/2 cup powdered sugar (1 pound is equal to 3 1/2 to 4 cups, so you’d use anywhere from 3 to 3 1/2 cups depending on the consistency you want; I used 3 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts, optional (Jane did not use nuts in her frosting and it was great…so if you don’t like nuts, leave them out!)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

Melt butter in a saucepan and add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into 13 x 18″ sheet cake pan and bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes (you can use a 10 x 15″ jelly roll pan, but you’ll have to bake a tiny bit longer—22 to 23 minutes). NOTE: I greased my pan, but the Pioneer Woman’s recipe doesn’t say to do that, so I guess that’s optional.

While cake is baking, make the icing. If using nuts, chop them finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the nuts, stir together, and pour over warm cake. (NOTE: if you follow these directions, you’ll notice your frosting is still a little lumpy. To make her frosting really nice and smooth, Jane simply cooked the frosting several minutes longer over low heat, stirring until the mixture was smooth; she also omitted the nuts. You could also leave the nuts out of the frosting mixture and sprinkle them on top of the icing instead). If you make your cake in a 13 x 18″ pan, pour on all the frosting–you may need to spread it a little so it covers the entire cake; if your cake is in a 10 x 15″ pan, just pour enough frosting on to cover the surface of the cake without going over the edges of the pan. You’ll probably have about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of frosting left over.

You can let the frosting cool and set before cutting into squares if you want, or cut into squares while it’s still warm and dig in! The frosting will start setting in about a half hour, but it needs between 1 and 2 hours to set more firmly; at 2 hours, it should be nice and firm.

Recipe from NancyC | nancy-c.com

As big as this sheet cake is, it disappears pretty quickly! Have you ever made a Texas Sheet Cake?

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