My first memory of this wonderful cake is when my great aunt Dorothy would visit from Alaska. I remember being fascinated that this cake was made on what I knew as a cookie sheet. The first bite was wonderful as was the last. As I got older Aunt Dorothy's visits became more infrequent and I forgot about this cake, most of the time. On occasion I would remember this cake and wonder why I hadn't made it in so long, and each time I did make it I swore I would do it more often.
A few weeks ago I thought of this cake and decided to make it. But life happens and each time I went to make it I realized I had STILL not bought any confectioners' sugar. How is it that I can't remember to buy sugar?!? Then the remodeling began. Have I ever told you how much I hate remodeling? Never mind moving on.......
Anyway..........My daughter, Tara got a card from Aunt Dorothy for graduation earlier this week and of course the first thing that came to mind again was this cake. So, yesterday I went to the grocery store just to buy sugar, no excuses this cake was being made. Now you may wonder what the big deal is. Well, I really can't say exactly, except....... it is just wonderful. It is sweet, chocolaty, moist and tender and oh so easy to make. How often do you find something like that?
Tara decided she was going to help me make this cake. Now, just to be clear, this cake is super easy so help is not really needed. I told Tara to go ahead and start it and I would be there to guide her if she needed it. In the end all I did was break the eggs, sift the confectioners' sugar, whisk the icing a little and scrape the bowl. It was as if our roles where reversed and I was a small child "helping" mommy cook. The cake was perfect, of course, and Tara and her boyfriend decided they needed to find a way to sell it.
The origin of this cake is not known and there are many versions out there. Some use buttermilk, shortening or add cinnamon and there even are vanilla versions (why, who knows but I guess it works for some). The recipe I have here is what I found works best for me. Is it low fat and low calorie?.......Uummm, NO but worth every bite.
Keep in mind it may not look like much, but the simple flavors come together perfectly and will satisfy any chocolate or sweets craving. Go ahead give it a try, you won't regret it.
Texas Sheet Cake
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbls milk
1 lb box (4 to 4 1/4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla
chopped pecans, optional ( I usually don't add these)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a jelly roll pan (17-1/2" x 12-1/2" x 1"). If you like you can line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper but I find if you spray it well with oil it works fine.
In a sauce pan, combine the butter, water and cocoa over medium heat until the butter is melted. Do not allow it to boil. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, then mix in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Mix well. Be careful, it will be hot. Pour into jelly roll pan and spread evenly. Bake 20 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake, you want it to be moist.
While the cake is baking, in a saucepan combine the butter cocoa and milk for the icing. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and combine with sifted confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla. Mix well to remove lumps.
As soon as you remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool pour the icing over the HOT cake, spreading evenly. If you would like pecans you may sprinkle them over the top at this point or if you like you can mix them in the icing before pouring it over the cake.
Allow cake to cool about 20 to 30 minutes and serve. This cake is good served warm or cold.
I have mixed, baked, iced and served this cake in one hour. It is a perfect dessert to throw together and serve quickly.