Vintage Cakes (Ten Speed Press, 2013) — Julie Richardson's newest collection of dessert treasures — offers readers enough cupcake, flips, rolls, layers, and chiffon cake recipes to please any crowd. From the chapter “Hasty Cakes,” this Texas Sheet Cake Recipe is a quick and easy idea perfect for picnics or small, informal gatherings.
You can purchase this book from the CAPPER’s Farmer store: Vintage Cakes
Texas Sheet Cake Recipe
When time is tight and you need to throw something together for a picnic or a potluck or a bake sale, this Texas Sheet Cake Recipe is the perfect crowd pleaser. It’s a large, thin layer of tender chocolate cake slathered with gooey chocolate frosting and sprinkled with toasted nuts. The frosting gets poured onto the cake when they are both still warm. Some say "don’t mess with Texas," but this cake can easily be spiced up by adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients or by swapping coffee for the hot water.
Bake Time: 23-35 minutes
Pan: 15'' by 10" by 2" baking pan, greased
Serving Size: serves a crowd
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) lightly packed premium unsweetened natural cocoa
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup water
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1 ounce) lightly packed premium unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups (12 ounces) sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) toasted chopped nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts; see Toasting Nuts at the end of this article).
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F.
To make the cake, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa. Add the oil and water and bring to a rolling boil for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk the ingredients by hand to ensure they are well mixed. Pour the warm cocoa mixture into the sifted ingredients and whisk until just combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula, stir the buttermilk mixture into the batter. Pour the batter into the greased pan and place in the center of the oven. Bake until the top is firm and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with moist crumbs, 32 to 35 minutes.
While the cake is in the oven, make the frosting: melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa and bring the mixture to a rolling boil; boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and whisk in the milk and vanilla. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time while whisking continuously. Immediately after the cake comes out of the oven, pour the frosting over the hot cake and sprinkle with the nuts. Try not to jiggle the cake before it sets or you’ll leave waves in the frosting. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.
Well wrapped and stored at room temperature, this cake keeps for up to 5 days.
Toasting nuts not only brings out their flavor, it also makes it easier to remove the skins, especially from hazelnuts, one of my favorite ingredients. To toast nuts, spread them evenly out on a baking sheet and place them in a 350°F oven. Alternatively, place them in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Either way, give the pan a shake (more frequently if using a skillet) to ensure the nuts don’t burn. Once the nuts smell fragrant and begin to brown (about 10 minutes), remove them from the heat. They’ll continue to brown a bit as they cool. To remove hazelnut skins, flip the nuts onto a clean kitchen towel and rub them inside the towel as if you were trying to dry them off. Some skins will cling to the nuts, but most will come off.
Reprinted with permission from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson and published by Ten Speed Press, 2012. Buy this book from our store: Vintage Cakes.