Also known as Texas brownie cake, Texas brownies or Texas sheath cake, a Texas sheet cake is a big old dark, rich, chocolate cake baked in a jelly roll pan and smothered in a warm river of even darker and richer ganache-like chocolate frosting. And, there are about 100,000 toasted pecans swimming in that frosting too. Aside from the fact that this cake probably originated in the Lonestar State, Im guessing that it also got its name because its just about as big as Texas! It's a huge, chocolate cake with sinfully, decadent chocolate frosting. Interested? Well, read on!
[image-2]Ive been intrigued by the Texas sheet cake ever since the first time I came across one in a newspaper article years ago. Why I never baked one before now, I cant explain. I always meant to. And, now that I have, Im kicking myself for waiting so long! But, whats done is done. So, lets bake some cake!
The first thing you need to do is toast your pecans. Spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 F. for about ten minutes. You will smell them when they are ready.
Theres another saying that goes, Dont mess with Texas, and it applies to Texas sheet cake as well. Dont even think about using some other kind of nut. This is just not done. If you try it, the Texas Sheet Cake police will come and find you and then youll be sorry! And, it will be out of my hands.
[image-3]While your pecans are toasting, melt some butter in a saucepan and add cocoa powder and boiling water or hot brewed coffee. Go with the coffee, if you can. It's better.
Stir it up until it is smooth and bring it to a boil.
Whisk all of your dry ingredients together in a big bowl and beat in a few eggs, some buttermilk and vanilla. Dont ask why chocolate cake recipes always call for vanilla. There must be a reason. Just do it!
[image-4]Add the butter/cocoa mixture to the bowl and mix it all up.
Pour your batter into a jelly roll pan and bake it for about 20 minutes. This is when you should start making the frosting. Unfortunately, I didnt get any shots of the whole frosting making/pouring thing because I was all alone and couldnt maneuver the camera with one hand and hot pots and mixing bowls with the other. I know I need an assistant, but this gig doesnt pay me enough to hire one.
For this cake to work like its supposed to, you have to make sure you pour the hot frosting on top of a warm cake. Thats how the magic happens. Again, dont ask me why. It just does. The cake turns out light and incredibly rich with a moist and tender crumb, and the hot frosting soaks into the warm cake, making it even more moist and delicious. Total chocolate cake bliss!
Im told that there are some acceptable tweaks for Texas Sheet Cake. Some of these include adding brewed coffee to the batter (as I have here), adding a little cinnamon and mixing some toffee bits into the frosting. But, thats about it. I got this on good authority from my friend Marye, who gave me this recipe. Marye knows what shes talking about. Shes from Texas.
This cake is indescribably good served warm right out of the pan, but its also fabulous chilled. I froze a few pieces to hide save for later and it was great right out of the freezer. Its a perfect no muss, no fuss delectable treat for any old time.
So, tease your hair a little, put on a Willie Nelson album and bake yourself Texas Sheet Cake, yall!
Texas Sheet Cake (adapted from Texas Well Seasoned)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup butter
1 cup boiling water or brewed, hot coffee
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup full fat buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 batch Texas Sheet Cake Frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan with butter and set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the coffee and the cocoa power and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil while stirring and remove from heat.
Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Add cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Pour batter into the prepared jellyroll pan, smoothing it out evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cover the top of the cake with the warm frosting.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Slice cake into squares to serve.
Makes approximately 2 dozen generous servings.
Texas Sheet Cake Frosting
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
3 3/4 4 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted pecans
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add the buttermilk and the cocoa. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat and add the sugar, pecans, and vanilla, stirring until well combined.
Immediately spoon warm frosting over warm cake, and gently spread evenly with an offset spatula or butter knife.
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