If there ever has been a “workhorse” dessert recipe at m house, it has to be this Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake. What can I say? Texas Sheetcake just has everything going for it.
I mean chocolate on chocolate? Yes, please! Plus Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake is easy, fast and serves a crowd! What more could you want for any get-together?
About Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake:
If you’ve never had Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake, you’ve been missing out. It’s the cake that has the crinkly icing on top that just melds into the cake. It forms three distinct layer: the chocolate cake is the bottom layer, then the center, just a thin layer that’s almost fudgy. And on top, that icing. Num. Awhile back, Cook’s Illustrated put out a recipe that “fixed” the Texas Sheet Cake and eliminated those layers, and with it that fudginess. For shame! Those layers, to my mind are what “makes” the Texas Sheet Cake.
I tried that Cook’s Illustrated recipe. Just once, and of course it was good, but I came right back to my tried and true recipe, here. Where I got the recipe for Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake, I have no idea, but in the back of my mind, I think it might have been a Paula Deen recipe. It’s been passed so many times, if it were a song, it would probably be “public domain.” Aren’t those recipes always the best, anyway?
This is THE recipe to pull out for any gathering. It makes a lot, it has that down-home goodness that just screams good home cooking. It travels well, it’s sturdy enough to pick up and eat and it is quick and easy to make. Bring it to your kid’s school picnic, the party that the team has for the end of the season, the family reunion or funeral luncheon. Because if there was ever a cake that is comfort food, Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake is it.
Making Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake:
There’s hardly any work to Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake. Everything is mixed by hand. It’s gonna be different than most recipes because it’s cooked before baking, both the cake and the icing. The only things you have to know are that the timing is pretty critical – the warm icing has to be poured over the warm cake. And once it’s poured, don’t touch it. If it’s not perfect the first time, you’re not going to improve it by messing with it because the icing starts to set right away.
Do make sure that you sift your powdered sugar if there are any lumps. Heck, I sift it anyway. It only takes a few seconds, just to make sure it’s going to be right.
When you are making Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake, use the right pan. You do really need what’s known as a “sheet cake” pan, not your standard casserole that so many people use for cakes. Remember a while back when I posted the recipe for Banana Sheet Cake? I mentioned I was hesitant to post a recipe on my frugal blog that required one to have a “specialty” pan, and then listed all the reasons why it might make good sense to go and buy one! Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake is one of those reasons!
When you are making any Sheet Cake, just be aware that they cook fast and they may cook up a bit unevenly, depending on your oven. Watch closely and turn it front to back about halfway through.
Saving Money on Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake:
Another great thing about Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake: not only is it a big cake that serves a lot of people it packs a lot of chocolate flavor for a pittance. The method that heats the cocoa is a tried and true method that helps it bloom and intensifies the chocolate flavor.
Nothing in this cake is very expensive. The butter is going to be the big ticket item, so shop well for it. Aldi and Costco both have great prices, but if you don’t live in an area with either, buy butter during holiday sales. Stock up when it’s at a low and chuck it in your freezer where it will keep well for months at a time. Sour cream can also be pricey, so again, pick it up on sale. Keep it clean, keep it covered, even between scoops if you’re using it at the table. Store it upside down in the fridge, too.
Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake
This is it: The cake to make for a crowd, potluck or picnic!
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 24 servings
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup butter, 2 sticks, cut in several pieces
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons cocoa
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) cut into several pieces
- 1 pound powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
Texas Sheet Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a Sheet Pan (I use a 10 1/2 by 15 inches, but an 18 x 12 x 1 pan will work, also) with butter, oil, or cooking spray.
In a medium-sized saucepan, add cocoa. Slowly add water, whisking as you add. Make sure to get into the corners. Place over medium high heat and then add the two sticks of butter, stirring as mixture comes to a boil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the cocoa/butter mixture all at once and stir in. Whisk together eggs and sour cream. Add to bowl and gently stir together.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes depending on size of pan. Do not overbake; cake will continue to cook for a moment or two out of pan.
About 10 minutes before cake is done, begin to prepare the icing. In a large saucepan, add cocoa. Slowly whisk in the milk. Turn on the heat to medium-high, then stir in the cut butter and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat & off the heat, stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. The icing should be thin enough to pour – if not whisk in another tablespoon milk.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle the warm frosting mixture over the top. Let cool on a rack until frosting sets up before serving. This cake takes about two hours to completely cool – if you can wait that long!
You may wish to add a cop of chopped pecans, sprinkled across the icing or quickly mark off where slices will be and add a pecan or Candied Pecan to the center of each slice.
- Calories: 301
- Sugar: 36g
- Sodium: 220mg
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated Fat: 8g
- Carbohydrates: 45g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 2g
- Cholesterol: 51mg