Saturday, July 10, 2010
Texas Sheet Cake (aka The Best Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Have)
Would you like some cake? Yes? Well, wait just one minute. Come, gather round; it's story time.
I'm weird in the fact that I don't like chocolate. Never have. It doesn't bother me at all; in fact, I'm sure that not eating chocolate has saved me several thousand calories through the years, so it's really fine with me. On the other hand, my distaste of chocolate makes some people very uncomfortable. It really freaks them out, so they call me "untrustworthy" or "un-American" or any number of adjectives they reserve for Communists, suspected terrorists, and other non-chocolate eaters.
So why, you ask, do I make a chocolate cake if I don't even like chocolate? It's because I like to cook, and when I bake with chocolate, I don't have the temptation to eat any of it. I never have to worry about the calories. It's a win-win.
It was for these reasons that I had to wait for Bizzuck to get home (at 9pm!) to know how this cake tasted, so when he arrived, I scooped the first piece of cake onto a plate. (The first piece is always the hardest to get out, and this one was no exception, so it was a little messy-looking. I assure you, though, that the messiness only added to its appeal.) Bizzuck took a bite but didn't say anything; he only looked up at me, giggled a little and smiled. Then he took another bite with the same reaction. When he was able to speak again later, he told me that it was, in fact, the best chocolate cake he has ever had.
After I got his confirmation on this, he put the plate on the counter and walked into the living room, still giggling nervously. I went into the laundry room to get my clothes out of the dryer, only to turn around and find Teak standing on his hind legs, propping himself up to the counter, and licking as much of the chocolatey goodness off the plate as possible. He was pleased with himself, knowing that he scored something good from the counter. I, on the other hand, commenced freaking out, because, as we all know, chocolate is toxic to dogs.
Should we call the vet? Should we make him throw up? I was holding back tears most of the night, fearing for sweet Teak's life. I hovered over him, forcing the poor pup to drink water. And while I anxiously stood over Teak, watching for the slightest sign that he was ill, what was Bizzuck doing?
He was eating a piece of cake. It's that good.
Thankfully, Teak didn't eat enough of it to harm him, and the worst that happened to him were a couple of chocolately burps. I'm happy to report that he's fine. (And just for the record, Bizzuck did look up the amounts of chocolate that can be fatal to dogs; of course, he was concerned for Teak, too. He loves that dog.)
And now for notes about the actual cake: Yes, it's called "sheet cake," but I didn't have a sheet pan, so I made it in a 9"x13" glass dish. No, I don't know why it's called "Texas Sheet Cake," but I'm happy to give a shout-out to my former state whenever I can. Love you, Texas! It was very quick--start to finish in under an hour.
I hope you enjoy it as much as Teak and Bizzuck did!
Texas Sheet Cake
For the Cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 heaping Tbsp cocoa powder
2 sticks butter
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 3/4 sticks butter
4 heaping Tbsp cocoa powder
6 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. In a saucepan over medium-high to high heat, melt butter and add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow the mixture to bubble for 30 seconds, and then turn off the heat. Pour the cocoa mixture over the flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk, and add the beaten eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour/chocolate mixture. Pour into ungreased sheet cake pan or 9"x13" glass dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes (for the sheet cake) or 35-40 minutes (for the 9"x13" dish).
While the cake is baking, make the icing. Finely chop the pecans. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high to high heat. Add the cocoa, stir to combine, and then turn off the heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar; stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over the warm cake.