Thursday, February 07, 2013

the pioneer woman's best chocolate sheet cake





Classics.  Is there anything better?  I worked with a woman during the 90's that would bring a Texas Sheet Cake to every single get together.  Not because that was all she knew how to bake, but because it was always requested...and every morsel on that huge sheet cake pan always disappeared!  I have never forgotten that cake, although over the years for some reason never created it - until a couple years ago.

Being obsessed with kitchen gadgets and cookbooks, I decided it would be nice to start collecting cookbooks for my daughter when she started grad school.  She loved watching the food network, and dabbling in her apartment kitchen during downtime, so thought it would be a gift she would enjoy, even more in years to come. For Christmas 2009, I bought her the newly released, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.  While browsing through the beautiful book, so fascinated with Ree Drummond's story and the book's lovely photos, I knew immediately Kelly was going to love the easy, classic, comfort food recipes.  Then I turned the page to find Chocolate Sheet Cake, which is aptly named "The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake.  Ever." on her blog.  So excited thinking back to the Texas Sheet Cake we enjoyed at all those work parties so many years earlier, I immediately wrote down the recipe before wrapping the book and placing it under the tree for Kelly. Confession from a cookbookholic:  I eventually purchased the book for myself too! :)







The Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe came to my mind immediately when the ingredient to be paired with chocolate was announced for the February Chocolate Party I'm involved in.  Chocolate with Chocolate...how perfect is that for February!

This mouthwatering cake is very easy to create with basic ingredients that we all have on hand in our kitchens.  It's one of those incredibly rich and moist cakes, that you will pick up every last crumb with the back of your fork. Enhancing the top of this delicious cake is an irresistible, smooth and creamy layer of chocolate pecan frosting. The pecans can be omitted, if you wish.  Be sure to pour the frosting over the warm cake.  Very little, if any, spreading is needed, since the hot out of the oven cake will do most of the work for you.

Quoting Ree Drummond, "cut into squares, eat, and totally wig out over the fact that you've just made the best chocolate sheet cake.  Ever."  :)

Until next time...and a lovely, savory, healthy Lentil and Sausage Soup recipe...mangia!  xox

Carol






The Pioneer Woman's Best Chocolate Sheet Cake
Serves 24 {this recipe can easily be cut in half to serve 12}

Ingredients:

for the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk (see Carol's notes)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the frosting:
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
13/4 sticks butter
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa (again I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound (minus 1/2 cup) powdered sugar

Create The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake

for the cake:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray a 13" x 18" sheet cake pan and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter.  Add cocoa.  Stir together.  Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.  Pour over flour mixture, and stir together for a moment to cool the chocolate.

In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.  Stir buttermilk/egg mixture into flour/chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.  Pour into prepared sheet cake pan and bake for 20 minutes.

for the frosting:
While cake is baking, make the icing.  You will be pouring it over the warm cake.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add cocoa powder, stir until smooth, then turn off heat.  Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Stir together.  Add the finely chopped pecans, stir until well combined.

Immediately after removing the cake from the oven pour the warm icing over the top.  You'll want to avoid doing much spreading, so try to distribute it evenly as you pour.

Carol's notes:
I cut the recipe in half, and used a 9-1/4" x 14" jelly roll pan, like this one.  I used 1/3 cup pecans, and baked it for 16 - 17 minutes.

If you don't have buttermilk, no worries...you can make your own.  Use 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice to just under 1 cup of low-fat milk.  Stir together and set aside for a few minutes.  For less than 1 cup buttermilk, adjust vinegar or lemon juice accordingly.  Simple as that!


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50 comments:

  1. Perfection. This cake must be what every square of chocolate wishes to become when it grows up.

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  2. I saw this on pinterest and had to come right over. Gorgeous photos and this sounds totally delicious!

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  3. This cake looks fantastic! Love that frosting!

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    1. Hi Jessica! Thank you...and thanks so much for stopping by!!

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  4. Can I have a piece for breakfast? :) Yum! (Gorgeous snaps!)

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    1. Sure, Laura...if I can have some of your lovely biscotti! :)

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  5. I've made this recipe, too! A keeper for sure. Beautiful photos~

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    1. It sure is, Liz! ...and quick and easy! Thanks so much for stopping by, and your kind words on my photos!

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  6. This is a cake to make a person happy Carol! I would´ve loved it if my mom bought cookbooks for me!

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    1. Hi Paula! Agreed, it makes a person very happy! :) Kelly's New Year resolution was to make one recipe a week from one of the collection of cookbooks she now has! Who knows...she may join the food blogging world someday!

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  7. Hi Carol, of course you have done it again. Shared the perfect chocolate cake recipe accompanied by the perfect photo's & all your perfect little tips for achieving the perfect dessert! Looking forward to making this and adding a dollop of vanilla ice cream if I may.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Fran! I think a scoop of vanilla ice cream sounds perfect! Have a great weekend!

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  8. Pinning this Carol! Your photography is drop dead stunning. And the cake doesn't look half bad, either! So do you really think it trumps every other choc sheet cake you've ever had? I'm curious!

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    1. Good morning, Averie! So happy you stopped by, and thank you so much for your kind words!! Do I think it trumps any other choc sheet cake I've had? The answer is a resounding, yes. However, the name was not mine, it was Ree Drummond's...and I felt I owed her the honor of giving it the same name! :)

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  9. Hi Carol!

    That actually is the first thing that has looked tempting to me in days, since every person in my house is currently battling a horrible cold. :(

    I will have to wait until I can actually taste food again to try this out, but I can almost imagine all that chocolate being able to cut through my poor embattled taste buds!

    Love your cookbook idea for your daughter. I read them like they're novels! I started making my own "cookbooks" with recipes that I've decided are keepers. I use a photo album that you can place 4x6 index cards in. I covered the albums in pretty fabric and ribbon, to match my kitchen. The recipes are all handwritten on the cards. I thought they would be fun to pass on to my own kids one day. So far, I've filled 3 of them! It's a sickness, I tell you! Although a much more pleasant one that I'm currently facing.

    Have a lovely weekend :)

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    1. Tracy, I'm so very sorry you have a household of illness. That's not fun at all...but I'm glad my cake tempted you...that's a good sign you are getting well! :) I LOVE your cookbook idea...it's so special, and created from your heart! I adore handwritten recipes, I've kept every one I've ever been given, and always try to do the same when someone asks me for a recipe.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to write such a lovely message! xox

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  10. I've been drooling for a week now, with everyone's Chocolate Party recipes! And yes, who can reisis good ole' chocolate sheet cake. It's a classic request at children's party (but adults love them, too)! Now, can I have a fudgy bite??

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    1. Jen, The recipes have all been exceptional this month with the chocolate-chocolate ingredients...you are so right! I would be happy to share a slice with you at any time! :) Thanks so much for stopping by!!!

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  11. Okay - my mouth is simply watering at this moment!!! Your cake looks simply divine! I need to pin this to make later!!! Delish!

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    1. Good morning, Lisa! Thank you so very much! I'm confident you will love it for all your entertaining! Have a wonderful weekend!!

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  12. I love this cake! It's the first thing I make when there's a crowd and it always finishes! I have changed mine to use oil instead of butter in the cake and it's still fantastic. I was thinking about this cake earlier today and how I haven't made it in a while, you have encouraged me to make it this week.

    Nazneen

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    1. Good morning, Nazneen! Thanks so much for stopping by! You said it perfectly - it's wonderful for a crowd! It's such an incredible cake that will be enjoyed by a large group, without a lot of effort! Have a great day!

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  13. Carol...that cake looks so awesome in it's simplicity....but that frosting with those pecans tells me it's something pretty special. : )

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    1. Thank you so much, Anne!! Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

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  14. this look great- So glad to be posting with you through the chocolate party :)

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! Likewise! Your nutella blondies looked wonderful!!!

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  15. When you visit look in my cellar cabinet. It is filled with at least 30 great cookbooks. And they are yours for sure. Or at least the ones you would like.
    As always another great recipe.

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  16. It's funny, i've been seeing lots of recipes for Texas sheet cake but have never tried/ate one until last week at our weekly mom meeting at the church. Another mom brought some and it was so good I asked her what cake it was. She quickly replied "sheet cake". Oh my, so this is what I have been missing all these years!
    Thanks for the recipe Carol, going to try it asap!
    Thanks for being part of the chocolate party <3

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    1. Roxana, it is such a pleasure being a part of your #chocolateparty! Thank you for all your hard work to host it! I'm so glad you had a chance to try a chocolate sheet cake...can't believe it took you so long being the chocolate lover that you are! Have a great week! xox

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  17. carol this looks amazing! i'm a huge fan of simple, classic recipes as well. beautiful!

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    1. Ciao Marissa! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind words! Thank you also for becoming a follower of acom! So appreciated!

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  18. Ree's recipes are the best, aren't they? Now you have convinced me to make a Texas sheet cake! I can't get my eyes off your photos...stunning.

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    1. Hi Kate! You are so right! She is the absolute best...adore her foods and personality! Thanks so much for stopping by, and your kind comment!!

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  19. I love collecting cookbooks too. I started when I was in high school, long before I ever spent any time in the kitchen myself. I just loved looking at all the beautiful photos and drooling over the recipes. I do the same thing now, except on top of collecting cookbooks, I visit gorgeous blogs like yours. I can see why Ree calls this the best chocolate cake - it looks amazing! I especially love the pecans in that creamy, decadent frosting - yum!

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    1. Hi Nancy! Thanks so much for your kind message...you are so sweet!!! I can see by your comment that you totally understand my obsession! Ree's cake is truly incredible! Thank you again, Nancy, and have a beautiful weekend!!!

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  20. Wow yum, this looks so good! So much chocolatey goodness!

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  21. Ok seriously, that looks ah-maz-ing! I adore a wonderfully moist and rich chocolate cake and that looks like one for sure!

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    1. Good morning, Jocelyn!!! Thank you so much! Have a great week!!!

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  22. Pioneer woman is the theme of one of the blog hop events that I'm organizing in Sep 2013. Seeing your delicious cake, I would love to try this classic chocolate recipe too.

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    1. Thanks so much, Zoe! You won't be sorry...it's wonderful! What a great blog hop event!!!

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  23. I absolutely love, love, love this cake! A couple of things I do is add about a teaspoon of cinnamon to the cake recipe and I always toast the pecans for the frosting...so heavenly! Thanks for your wonderful blog!

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    1. Thanks, minicurls! Isn't it the greatest!!! I love both of the extras you do...will have to try them next time! Thanks so much for your sweet comment...so apppreciated!

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  24. Chrissy-Holding Down the Fort in Haymarket:-)September 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Made this one yesterday, Carol! It was our special dessert for the first day of school:-)
    There is only one problem: I have now eaten it for dessert last night AND for breakfast this morning! #nevertoomuchchocolate

    Have a great day and miss seeing your weekly recipes and mouth-watering pics!

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    1. Hey Chrissy! You're so funny! So happy you're holding down the fort…miss it!!! So happy you liked the cake…it's such an easy, delicious recipe. Nothing wrong with eating it for breakfast! ;} I have an offer in on a house, so hoping everything goes smoothly, and will start up all my cooking again…also have a few recipes to post before then! xox

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Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol