Let’s be honest, one of the best things about Texas is the FOOD! So we’re gonna try something new here on the blog and that’s to share some of the most Texan recipes of all time and our experience preparing them. It may be one of our family favorites, or it may be something we’ve never attempted before. We may succeed, or we may fail miserably. Either way, we hope it makes you appreciate the rich food culture of Texas and makes you hungry for some Texas cuisine.
To kick things off, we’re skipping past the main course and jumping straight to dessert. One of the most decadent, delectable, and desirable desserts of all time – TEXAS SHEET CAKE!!!!
It’s that delicious, chocolaty, fudgy cake smothered with that insanely rich chocolate icing and pecans…oh, the pecans! You know it and you love it.
For as long as I can remember, my family has called it “Grandma’s Chocolate Cake.” It’s been at every family holiday, every birthday, and every graduation party since the beginning of Chet (which is to say – as long as I can remember). My wife’s family calls it “Groom’s Cake” and, yes, it was served as the groom’s cake at our wedding.
Recently my wife and I set out to compare a few recipes and try to pin down the perfect one. We started with 4 similar, but slightly different recipes – my family recipe, Laura’s family recipe, Pioneer Woman‘s recipe, and Texas Monthly‘s recipe. Turns out, it isn’t the easiest recipe!
But after reading, testing, tweaking, and eating – we think we finally figured it out. So, Texas Sheet Cake has 3 main parts (dry mix, wet mix, icing mix), and each of these parts has its own recipe.
You essentially dump all the “dry mix” ingredients into the mixer and turn it on. It’s easy to do by hand, if you don’t have a froo-froo pink mixer like my wife.
For the “wet mix” ingredients, you melt the butter, boil the water and then add them all together.
Once you have those two major components done, you ever so gently, mix the wet mix into the dry mix.
You stir it up. Taste test some with your finger (of course) and then pour it all into an ungreased sheet cake pan.
You bake it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. While that’s happening, you prep the icing. Once the cake is baked, you’re ready for the best moment of all (other than the first bite). It’s the moment when you pour the icing over the warm gooey cake.
NOTE: We have some people in our home who don’t like pecans in sweets — I call it crazy, but anyway — instead of putting the pecans in the icing for even distribution, we cover half the cake with the pecans and pour the icing on top. It keeps them separate and keeps my family happy.
Once that’s all done, you eat it! Enough said. We didn’t get pictures of eating the finished product, because we were too busy devouring it to pause and take pictures. Trust me, it was amazing.
Enjoy, here’s the full recipe.
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon (this is critical to add a dash of Mexican spice and a truly “Texan” flair)
1/2 tsp salt
Blend all these together in a mixer if you’ve got one, but mixing by hand works too.
2 sticks butter (unsalted)
1 cup boiling water
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
Melt the butter, then add the water and cocoa powder. Mix the other ingredients separately and then add them to the butter mixture. When this “wet mix” is done, add it to the “dry mix.” You can then stir it up and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
1 stick margarine
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
6 Tbsp milk
1 box powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla
While the cake is baking, melt the margarine and then add the other ingredients. When the cake comes out, pour the icing over the cake while it’s still warm.