Since this post will be for Texas Women Bloggers, I thought it would be fun to do a very Texas recipe. While Texas Sheet Cake may not have originated in Texas (no one seems to know for sure), it is definitely associated with our state.
The recipe started showing up in the early 1960s. Why was it named after Texas? Some people say it’s because it makes such a large cake. Some say it’s so rich that you can eat only a small piece – meaning one cake will serve a Texas-size crowd. I figure it’s due to the combination of chocolate and cinnamon- also known as Mexican chocolate- that gives a nod to our neighbors to the south and their influence on our cuisine.
Some folks refer to it as a sheet cake, and some as a sheath cake. Again, we don’t really know why; perhaps it’s that the words sound so much alike. Or, as Jillian Downer at ehow.com noted, the Texas Sheet Cake “is the little black dress of chocolate cakes”.
Everyone seems to have their own version of Texas Sheet Cake, and they’re all pretty similar. Here’s my Mother’s recipe that she’s been making since I was a little girl:
Texas Sheet Cake
For the cake:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (can substitute the same amount of additional butter)
1 cup water
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 and 1/8 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla (good Mexican vanilla, if you have it)
For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons milk
5 teaspoons baking cocoa
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (again, Mexican, if you have it)
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a sheet cake pan, about 12″ X 18″ X 2″, with cooking spray.
2. Place butter, shortening, water, and cocoa in a saucepan and heat just until butter and shortening are melted, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir the cocoa mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, soda and vanilla. Pour this into the flour mixture and stir until very smooth and well-combined. Batter will be somewhat thin.
5. Pour batter into greased pan. Place in oven and bake for 19 to 20 minutes.
6. While the cake bakes, prepare the frosting: In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together the butter and milk until butter is melted. Whisk in the cocoa, confectioner’s sugar, and cinnamon until smooth and begins to bubble. Take off heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.
7. When the cake is done, remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Pour hot frosting evenly over hot cake. Let cool before cutting. Frosting will remain soft.
Cook’s notes: I sometimes halve this recipe and bake it in a 13 X 9 cake pan (as pictured, above). Don’t halve the frosting, though- it won’t be enough to cover the cake.
Post Written by…
Joy at Yesterfood
Vintage recipes and old cookbooks hold a special place in my heart; I love how cooking connects us to each other and to the past. I live in a small Texas town in a big old house that was built in 1905. I share it with my husband, 3 dogs, and at least that many motorcycles. I hang clothes out on the line, recycle, listen to NPR, and throw parties. We have three grown kids and 2 grandchildren.
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