From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The original Texas sheet cake first appeared in the late 1950's. That cake, save for its shape, was much like a German chocolate cake that was baked in a rectangular form, rather than in layers. Since then, liberties have been taken with the original recipe and, to the dismay of purists, any cake that is larger than 9 x 13-inches can be called a Texas sheet cake. I needed a large cake for this weekend, and I thought this would be a perfect time to test a recipe for a sheet cake I found, here, on the King Arthur website. I'm really glad I gave this recipe a try. It is a down-home, family type of confection and it was just what I needed for this weekend. I made and froze the cake, sans icing, earlier in the week, and several hours before I planned to serve it, I brought the cake to room temperature and frosted it. I'm always leery about freezing cakes with chocolate icing because, in my experience, the chocolate clouds and I don't like the way that looks. This is a nice cake and I think those of you who do large scale entertaining might want to try this recipe for your next gathering. It would be perfect for Memorial Day or the 4th of July. Here is how the cake is made.
Texas-Style Sheet Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of King Arthur Flour
1-1/3 cups chopped semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
Optional garnish: Coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a half-sheet pan (13 x 18-inch), line it with parchment, and grease parchment.
2) To make cake: Combine chocolate, butter, oil, water, and cocoa in a medium saucepan or microwave-safe bowl.
3) Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth. Transfer it to a mixing bowl.
4) In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt until evenly combined.
5) Add dry ingredients to chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined.
6) Mix together buttermilk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla, then add to other ingredients, again mixing until just combined.
7) Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading it into an even layer.
8) Bake cake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Remove it from oven, and allow it to cool completely in pan.
9) To make icing: Combine chocolate, corn syrup, vanilla, and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl.
10) Microwave until cream is very hot, and the chips have softened. Stir until chips have melted and mixture is smooth, reheating briefly if necessary.
11) Add confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and beat until smooth.
12) Spread icing evenly onto the cooled cake, and allow it to set for 30 to 60 minutes before serving. Yield: One 13 x 18-inch sheet cake.
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