Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Easy (and Yummy) Chocolate Sheet Cake

The Texan here. This weekend was a special occasion in our house. It's rare that I have all of my kids and grand kids home at the same time, so this was really a treat. Of course, I made sure they were well fed. Naturally, our big meal was Sunday. We had smoked brisket and chicken, corn on the cob, fried potatoes, cabbage, homemade guacamole, and the list goes on. So when I realized I'd forgotten about dessert, I went for an old stand-by. One sure to please every palate. You can never go wrong with this easy chocolate sheet cake.

Over the years, I've seen this recipe called by many different names, with slight variations to the recipe. Usually the fat. All use some butter or margarine. From there, some add more butter, some shortening, others oil. I generally use oil, but the choice is up to you, because the amount does not differ.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1/2 C (or one stick) butter or margarine
  • 3 T cocoa
  • 1/2 C oil (or butter, or shortening--whatever floats your boat)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t vanilla
First, read entire the recipe and directions before starting. Y'all have no idea how many times I've gotten myself into trouble because I've failed to adhere to this rule.

In a medium sauce pan, bring butter, cocoa, water, and oil to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

While mixture is cooking, add eggs to sugar and mix well.

Be sure to give your cocoa mixture a stir.

Now add buttermilk, flour, soda, and vanilla, to eggs and sugar mixture and beat well. This will be thick and kinda stiff.

Once your cocoa mixture has come to a boil, add to above and blend well, making sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl.

Pour into greased and floured sheet cake pan, tilting pan until batter is evenly spread.
Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

While cake is baking, prepare frosting. For that, you will need:
  • 1/2 C (or one stick) of butter or margarine
  • 6 T buttermilk
  • 2 T cocoa
  • 1 box (or 4 1/2 C) powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C chopped pecans or walnuts

In a large saucepan, bring butter, buttermilk, and cocoa to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, if not constantly. 

When mixture comes to a boil, add powdered sugar and vanilla, stirring until smooth.

Stir in nuts.

By now, your cake should be done.

Pour frosting over HOT cake, spreading to edges.

Voila! An entire cake ready in less than an hour.

However, once cooled, it may not last long.

What a fun time we all had together. That is, until Grammy started taking WAY too many pictures. Oh, but what treasured memories for all. None of which had to do with cake.

Is food a big part of your family gatherings? Is there one person that usually does all the cooking, or does everyone have their part?

Happy Tuesday, y'all.


  1. Mindy, are you sure you grew up in Michigan? 'Cause I recognize a true Texan's sheet cake when I see one!

    When we lived in West Texas, no church supper or luncheon, Bible study or picnic was complete without a sheet cake or two.

    Once I mistakenly thought it was a pan of brownies. I remember hearing a lot of "bless your poor Yankee heart" over that one (at least, that's what it sounded like to me!).

    I'll have to make this cake the next time we're together with our oldest children - we'll see if it bring back any fond memories for them!

  2. Jan, believe it or not, I first got this recipe when I lived in Michigan. And--are you ready for it?--it was called Texas Sheet Cake! Down here, most just call it chocolate sheet cake. However, there are those from north of the Red River who mistake the pan of sweet goodness for brownies. Bless their hearts. These are so much better:-)

  3. I make this same sheet cake and it is YUMMY!

  4. I missed the question at the end of your post last night - who does the cooking at family gatherings?

    In the extended families, we really don't cook much anymore. Both my parents and my MIL are elderly. On my side of the family, we go out to a restaurant (we're not together for holidays - long story).

    But on my dear husband's side, we have a nephew-in-law who is a restaurant cook, and loves to cook in quantity. When my FIL was in the hospital, then hospice, and then during the subsequent days of the viewings, funeral, etc.last month, Chris kept us in food - his labor was his gift to the family, and we all pitched in cash to pay for the groceries. My dh has seven brothers and sisters, so Chris was feeding an army!

    Now, for our immediate family, I'm the main cook, but the children all have their favorite dishes that they do. Once they start getting married and we add in-laws to the crowd, I know things will be different. I just love sharing the joy!

    1. I'm with you, Jan. Love sharing the joy.

    2. Oops, hit publish too soon. Since I'm an only child, my side of the family is sparse. My SIL is a wonderful cook though. When we're together, we usually divvy things up. Some day, when we finally move to the ranch, I'm sure she and I will be doing lots of cooking together. I look forward to that.

  5. Mindy, Tex, what a great post! I've made a Texas Sheet Cake before and did that exact thing, not reading the directions first and assuming I knew something....


    Totally ruined it, but a friend had made it for a church function and I saw how yummy and popular it was and tried again with good awesome marvelous results!

    This makes a great picnic cake. We need a category for picnic cakes. Can I add that tag to this one? Please? Because picnic cakes have to be finger friendly (a little frosting on lick-able fingers is A-okay!) and cuttable and delicious. This is ALL THAT and more. Great pics, too. If I'd had THIS BLOG that first attempt, I wouldn't have messed up. Not totally, anyway!

    And what a beautiful family! Oh, so happy to see them!

    1. Ruthy, this is the perfect picnic/potluck cake. I've taken one of these to more functions than I can count. Probably because I love hearing those rave reviews. I just let them think I slaved forever. Add the tag.

      And like I said, I learned the hard way about reading the directions all the way through first. Guess you went to that same school, eh Ruthy?

  6. Well bless your heart for showing me what a Texas sheet cake is!!!!! It's been all the talk in blogging comments wherever I go the last few months and I was loathe to show my Yankee (well farther north even) ignorance by asking. And it looks like there's a special pan that goes with it. Not just your regular 9x14 or whatever the dimensions are.

    One question....isn't it dangerous to boil oil???????

    Lovely family by the way.

    1. Kav, there's not enough oil yo make this hazardous. Plus you don't boil it that long.

      Ruthy is correct about the pan. A 10 x 15 cookie sheet/jelly roll pan. It's thinner than the usual cake. Hope you'll give it a try.

    2. I was thinking that looked like a jelly roll pan. I think I might have one...somewhere. :)

  7. Kav, I use my 10 X 15 cookie sheet with sides. I've got Airbake pans for actual cookies, but this works for Texas Sheet cake.

    Unless Mindy's got a better size, mayhap?

  8. Sorry I was gone so long, gang. Lucky me, I got to spend my entire afternoon at the Department of Public Safety, renewing my driver's license. Now it's time for my lobotomy.

    1. LOL!!! Well, you should be good for, what, 10 or 12 more years? That's how long ours are good for now.

  9. Yummo!!! This looks sooo good. I have seen this before, but not often. We see Coca Cola cake more around here. Now I"m dying to make this!

    So sorry to show up late. I've been gone literally all day. Am glad to get home. But now I need to finally eat dinner. Hmmm, what to make??

    I think it may be an omelet night. Or ever a bowl of cereal. LOL

    Mindy, thanks for sharing. I LOVE the photo!! I've never seen one of all of your kids/grandkids at once.

    1. They're quite a motley crew, aren't they, Missy? However they're my motley crew, and I love them all SO much. Don't you just love that expression on my grandson's face? The one on the right, in the middle. Stinker.

    2. So cute, Mindy! He looks bored with the photo session. LOL

  10. It's really unfair to post this the day before Lent begins. BooHoo.

    I always thought Sheet cake just meant a really big cake. I had no idea it had so much story behind it. And the fact that you ice it while still warm - how cool is that!

    Maybe I'll make this for my next birthday (course that means waiting til August).

    1. Mary, how about Easter? Not quite so far away.