A group of 20 were popping by the ranch for lunch, which is easy enough. There are no restaurants where we live, so you become accustomed to crowds of people stopping by for something to eat. Usually, I’m related to all of the folks that stop by, but this was a group of city people. Nice bunch.
Usual fare for big get togethers is beef fajitas grilled over mesquite wood, freshly boiled pinto beans, Mexican style rice richly flavored with onions, garlic and tomato broth, salad, fruit, and a dessert. For me, my “go to” baked good for dessert has always been Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake.
A Texas Classic
Every junior league cook book, every grandmother, every church bulletin, every school bake sale references Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake. It’s just a cake that we love here in our beautiful state, and mostly everyone grew up eating it.
Why is it so popular? Well, the dry ingredients can be found in most pantries…cocoa, flour, sugar, and baking soda. Everyone has pecans in their pantry too, or perhaps a pecan tree in the yard. No special trips to the supermarket are necessary to make this cake, which is important when you live 40 miles from the grocery store (I do.) The cake takes 20 minutes to bake, and by pouring the frosting on the cake while it is still hot, the cake practically frosts itself.
When it came time to serve the cake, it was still warm, and so it crumbled. But it was delicious, and gooey, with velvety crumbs and topped nutty pecans. There were no complaints, and lots of recipe requests!
And seeing as that the pecan is the state tree of Texas, it’s a wonder we haven’t declared this our official state cake. If I ever run for state office, this will be one of my campaign promises. I believe “More Cake” would be a winning slogan!
Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 20 servings
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Texas
Cake: 4 tbsp. cocoa (110gr) 1 stick butter or margarine (115gr) 1/4 cup shortening (25gr) 1 cup water (240ml) 2 cups all purpose flour (250gr) 2 cups sugar (400gr) 1/2 cup buttermilk (120ml) 1 tsp. baking soda (4gr) 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 tsp. vanilla (5ml) Frosting: 1 stick butter or margarine (115gr) 4 tbsp. cocoa (110gr) 6 tbsp. milk (90ml) 1 lb powdered sugar (453gr) 1 cup chopped pecans (100gr) 1 tsp. vanilla (5ml)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). In a saucepan, bring cocoa, margarine, shortening, and water to a simmer. Pour mixture over flour and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well. Add buttermilk that has been mixed with soda. Mix well. Add beaten eggs and vanilla. Grease a 9″ x 13″ (23 cm x 33 cm)pan with cooking spray or shortening. Pour cake batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center.
Five minutes before cake is removed from the oven, make the frosting.
Bring butter, cocoa, and milk to a simmer in a medium sized saucepan. Add powdered sugar, nuts and vanilla to cocoa mixture. Mix well, and then pour over the cake while both cake and frosting are still hot.