Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WDW - Old-Fashioned Chocolate Sheet Cake


I absolutely LOVE old-fashioned desserts. I love the simple things that grandmothers make that have been around forever and stood the test of time. I even like plain things, like rice pudding. Old-fashioned desserts are so comforting and scream "homemade." I'd choose a piece of perfect apple pie over any fancy dessert of today.

But, I'm not really a huge cake fan, per se. I spend my calories very carefully, and frankly, they're not usually worth wasting on a dry, plain cake with nasty frosting (think: wedding cake). The only exception for me would be carrot cake, which is not only my favorite cake but one of my favorite all-time desserts. I could eat that cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I even had carrot cake for my wedding cake! OK, enough about carrot cake. Just promise you'll make mine someday: (Sorry I still can't hyperlink for some reason.)

Recently, I needed to make dessert for 25- and had very little time to do so. So, I decided to make a couple cakes - my beloved carrot cake and this one - Chocolate Sheet Cake- a recipe I acquired awhile back from my friend Pam Hardy. If you want any old-time recipe, you go to Pam. She's not old herself, but she's got the goods, which I think have been passed down to her from generations. I think this recipe was her mother's or grandmother's and let me just say: IT ROCKS. She recently shared with me another family favorite called "Hardy rolls" which I might have to post here another time. Just think: biscuits, butter, cinnamon, sugar, and frosting. Oh yeah, baby.

So, I know "chocolate sheet cake" has nothing going for it in the title, and the photo above is really very ordinary, but trust me, YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS. Here are the things I absolutely love about this cake:

~ Easy to make
~ Unique taste and soft texture
~ Inexpensive ingredients that are usually on hand
~ Super moist
~ The icing.....OH the icing! You pour it on hot and it gets this special "crust" - mmm!
~ Simple, comforting, homey
~ Serves a lot

This cake, despite its title, is not very chocolaty at all, and actually only has 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder in it. The frosting has another 3 tablespoons. This is not a rich chocolate cake, but just a super-soft, light cake with a hint of chocolate and a special cinnamon undertone.

Now, the directions are a little old-fashioned as well... like "sifting" and "boiling" - but I promise you once you've tasted this, you will not mind one bit any seemingly extra step. And don't you dare think of substituting anything for that shortening. It's there for a reason. Be sure to prepare the frosting while the cake bakes, as it needs to be poured over the hot cake. You can serve this right away or at room temperature. A generous scoop of good-quality vanilla or coffee ice cream is the perfect accompaniment, but an ice cold glass of milk is pretty awesome, too.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Pam Hardy


Sift over KitchenAid mixing bowl:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. soda
2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the following in 2 qt. saucepan and then bring to a boil:

½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup water
½ cup shortening
3 Tbsp. Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder

Pour hot into dry ingredients and mix well on low, then medium speed, until well incorporated.
(don't bother cleaning the pot as it will be used again for the frosting.)


½ cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs

Mix until just incorporated again. Pour batter into a greased 9 X 13 pan. Cook at 300 degrees 45 minutes – 1 hour, until it tests done with a toothpick. Frost immediately with chocolate icing.

Chocolate Icing

½ cup butter (1 stick)
6 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar
chopped walnuts (optional)

Melt together butter, milk, cocoa, and vanilla in saucepan, then bring to boiling. Turn off heat and whisk in powdered sugar, a little bit at a time, until smooth and fluid. Pour hot frosting over hot cake and quickly spread evenly. Top with walnuts if desired.

Note: Since posting this, I thumbed through the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook. She has the nearly the EXACT same recipe and even calls it Chocolate Sheet Cake... I guess this is a goodie!

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1 comment:

Erin said...

That looks super fabulous. I'll let you know if I make it this weekend! =)