Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

The morning after I made a White Texas Sheet Cake, I brought in a piece to a co-worker who is my #1 taste tester and sensory evaluator.  Juan is a seasoning technologist and as much of a major foodie as I am.  At work, he is known as a baker extraordinaire, a Zen master of rolled fondant, Mr. Cheesecake (as in the real thing, not the Chippendale male model thing), the guy you go to when one of our numerous, complex databases isn’t being nice to us, the guy you go to with questions on the latest high tech gadgets, and the guy you go to when you need help with absolutely anything you can think of, large or small.

I figured if I hadn’t heard of a white version of a Texas sheet cake until only recently, then perhaps Juan hadn’t either.  I was more than surprised to learn that he had never even heard of a Texas sheet cake in the first place.  Well, of course, I had to rectify that.  So that night, I threw together the classic chocolate Texas sheet cake (obviously, not having learned anything about the 2 cakes/2 days/2 pounds algorithm).  I love this recipe because all you have to do is use one pan and my trusty wooden spoon which, by the way, is not a prop.  When I am in the kitchen, that spoon is invariably glued to my hand.  I mix, I stir, I scoop!  If I were my Sicilian mother, I’d probably swat at a kid with it as well.

About 40 years ago, I cut this recipe out of the Boston Globe—only it was called “Chocolate Squares.”  (Note to self:  stop saying “about 40, 30, or 20 years ago.”  People might begin to get the idea that you are entitled to a senior citizen’s discount when you shop or eat out.  Start saying, “recently.”  No one needs to know your definition of “recently” is within the last 10 years.)  Where was I?  Oh, yes—despite the title of “Chocolate Squares,” the ingredients and technique are those of a Texas sheet cake with one exception.  Usually, a Texas sheet cake is baked on a half sheet cake pan or cookie sheet.  The Boston Globe recipe calls for a 9×13 pan which I have always used successfully.

This cake is all the superlatives you could think of—the moistest of the moist, the most toothsome, the most meltingly sweet cake your mouth will probably ever experience!  Be sure to plan on making the cake a day ahead.  It is a totally different cake the next day once it has set.  I’d say insanely moist and delicious describes it perfectly.

I have seen recipes on the web calling this cake the “Best Chocolate Cake – Ever” and the blogosphere has been agog about it.  Had I known none of y’all knew about it before, I would have told you all you had to do was ask me.  Contrary to what you may have heard, Alexander Graham Bell had invented the phone when I started making it all those years ago recently.

Texas Sheet Cake aka Chocolate Squares

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Cake Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick butter)
  • 4 tbl. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 tbl. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Cake Directions

Bring butter, cocoa, water and oil to a boil in a large pan.  Remove from heat and add sugar and all remaining ingredients.  Add slightly beaten eggs last.

Pour into greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake at 400o for 20 minutes or until done.  Frost while still warm.  Cut into squares when cool.

Frosting Directions

Bring butter, buttermilk, salt and cocoa to a boil.  Remove from heat; add sugar and nuts.  Spread on warm squares.

Source: Boston Globe, long before the internet – see original clipping below!

Take a look at the “sushi” cakes made with fondant “fish” and coconut “rice” that Juan made for a co-worker’s birthday.  I need a fondant lesson!

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