Sunday, January 11, 2009

Really Good Chocolate Cake

Oh mama...if you weren't sure of the definition of food porn, you're looking at it! I made this cake Saturday for Graham's birthday. His actual birthday isn't till Friday, but his parents and sister were coming by to celebrate a little early; his sister is an undergrad and was leaving to go back to school after winter break, so she wouldn't have been around for his actual birthday.

I was really excited to make Graham a birthday cake. I didn't get to last year and I was really bummed. I was determined to make him a cake this year and even more determined to make it an awesome cake. I was nervous, though, because I'd never truly made a cake from scratch so I was afraid it wouldn't turn out.

Thankfully, it was fabulous. Graham gives it "two thumbs up" and was impressed. I'm not much of a baker, so I get really nervous whenever I have to bake anything. I'm terrified it'll suck. This, however, was really moist and is SO good. It really tastes like it's "from scratch". It's an older recipe and it was blogged a while back on The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Really Good Chocolate Cake (a.k.a. Texas Sheet Cake)

2 c. flour
2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 & 3/4 sticks butter, divided
1 c. hot water
8 heaping T. cocoa powder, divided
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
6 T. milk
1 & 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 sticks butter. Stir constantly to prevent butter from burning. When butter is completely melted, add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder. Stir together and mix completely. Add the water, gently stir, and allow the mixture to boil altogether for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, poor mixture over flour mixture, and stir gently to cool the chocolate. Mix well, incorporating all the flour and sugar.

In a measuring cup, measure out 1/2 c. buttermilk. Add 2 beaten eggs, baking soda, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir together. Pour mixture into butter/chocolate/flour mixture. Mix well and stir until mixtures are completely blended.

Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 in. cake pan and bake for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make frosting.

Chop or grind pecans finely, breaking up large chunks of pecans but not grinding them into a powder.

Melt 1 & 3/4 sticks butter in a saucepan, stirring gently so butter doesn't burn. When butter is completely melted, add remaining 4 T. cocoa, stirring constantly and completely incorporating the cocoa. Remove from heat.

To that mixture, add milk and remaining tsp. vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together and mix well. Mixture should be thick-runny. Add the pecans and mix well to distribute.

Pour frosting over cake when the cake is just out of the oven. Eat and enjoy.

  • This cake is really good. PW makes it in a commercial baking sheet, which is 17 x. 11 or something. I don't have one of those, but it came out just fine in a regular 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • Pouring the frosting over the warm cake will help the cake absorb the frosting. I had a little extra frosting so I drizzled a little extra over each individual piece, and I was just fine with that. :-D
  • PW has a buttermilk backup plan in case you don't come across buttermilk. She suggests filling a measuring cup with regular milk to just under half a cup, then adding enough regular vinegar to bring the mix to a half cup. Wait a few minutes, and ta da! Buttermilk! I didn't try it, but I imagine it would work quite well.
  • If your frosting isn't thick-runny, add 1/4 c. powdered sugar to the mix and mix well. Continue adding in 1/4 c. quantities until it's reached the right consistency.
  • You can omit the nuts if necessary, but make sure to sift the powdered sugar to help break up some of the lumps you might encounter.
  • This is really rich, so if you can't handle too much sweetness/richness, add a dash more salt to the flour mixture at the very beginning.


  1. This sounds delicious. I love Texas Sheet Cake.

  2. I love Texas Sheet Cake - and this one looks deliciously chocolately! Yum!

  3. This sounds sooooooooooooooooo good!!!

  4. OK, Angie...time to put up a new food post. Everytime I go to your blog and I see that picture of that chocolate cake, I want to make one or a batch of brownies myself. (Something I don't need!)

    Anyway, looking forward to your next yummy dish!


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