Texas Sheet Cake

I am a huge Top Chef fan, but I have to admit this season in Texas has been really disappointing.  The chefs aren’t near the caliber of previous chefs and don’t have enough personality for me to really care about who goes home.  I thought I was tired of Texas food with all the annoying Texas inspired food challenges.  But, I guess not, because I still wanted to make this Texas dessert staple.  I have never tried a Texas sheet cake.  I thought it was just a big, thin chocolate cake.  But, I have come to find out it so much more.  It is a super moist, rich chocolate cake that is slathered with warm chocolate frosting while it is still hot, creating a fudgy middle layer.  What’s not to love?  😀  And bonus, it is super easy to make.  No mixer required, just a whisk and a spatula.  Now this is a Texas size cake, so be sure you have plenty of people to share this with.  Or maybe you might not want to share.  Go ahead, be selfish.  Keep it all to yourself.  Who could blame you? 😀

Texas Sheet Cake

Yield: 18 x 13 pan of cake- depending on the size you cut the pieces ~ 24 squares

2 cups (10oz) all-purpose flour

2 cups (14 oz) sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs plus 2 yolks, room temp

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ cup sour cream, room temp

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

¾ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup water

½ cup (1.5oz) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)

Chocolate Icing

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup (1.5oz) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

3 cups (12 oz) confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup (4oz) toasted pecans, chopped   (I omitted)

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk eggs and yolks, vanilla, and sour cream in another bowl until smooth.

2. Heat chocolate, butter, oil, water, and cocoa in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk chocolate mixture into flour mixture until incorporated. Whisk egg mixture into batter, then pour into prepared baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack.

3. For the icing: About 5 minutes before cake is done, heat butter, cream, cocoa, and corn syrup in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Off heat, whisk in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Spread warm icing evenly over hot cake (quickly!) and sprinkle with pecans. Let cake cool to room temperature on wire rack, about 1 hour, then refrigerate until icing is set, about 1 hour longer. (Cake can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Cut into 3-inch squares. Serve.

Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Helpful Hints:

  • The key to perfectly moist Texas sheet cake is to let the warm icing soak into the hot cake. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the warm icing over the cake and use a spatula to spread the icing to the edges of the cake. This creates the signature fudgy layer between the icing and the cake.
  • Spread the icing quickly, as it starts to set and creates a wrinkled look to the frosting. Although this probably isn’t noticeable if you use the nuts.
  • Cut when cold for nicer slices, but serve at room temperature for best taste and texture.
  • I had some sticking to the bottom of the pan because the cake is so moist. I think next time I will line the bottom with parchment.
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  1. This really makes me wonder about the true original sheet cake. I have seen many a recipe and the cake part is about 2-3 inches in height. Yours here is quite different. However, it does look tasty and well worth trying! I like that you did add some good tips here.
    I am kind of getting tired of a lot of the foodie series, especially the cupcake wars. I think that it is pretty boring by now.
    Enjoy the weekend.

  2. Paulette Hemersbach

     /  January 28, 2012

    This looks sooo yummy! I needed a new large serving dessert for my camping group next spring and summer, and plan to try it once before then. Thanks! Paulette (Pat Gates’ sister)

  3. You had me hooked at “slathered with chocolate frosting”.


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