The Greatest Texas Sheet Cake EVER! Recipe included…

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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 Monthlys 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.  

Chocolate Pour

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.

Finished Cake

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
2 eggs
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.


18 – “Christmas Lights across Texas”


Lights, lights and more lights…such a beautiful part of the Christmas decorations that we love and we do it BIG in Texas. In this episode we share some of our favorite displays of lights across the Lone Star state. From Amarillo to Brownsville and Odessa to Marshall, there’s something for everyone to make a daytrip to see.

As you head out, here are a few resources that we recommend:
“The Lights Fantastic” – Texas Monthly, Jordan Breal
“Go Light-seeing” – Texas Highways, Erin Inks
“2015 Holiday Lights Destinations” – Texas Highways Events Calendar

In our Texas Music minute, Bree from KJ 97 in San Antonio, features Mario Flores and the Soda Creek Band.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and the Windows store!

Windows – Search for the Daytripper Podcast in your dedicated podcast app.

This endeavor is generously supported by Hat Creek Burger CompanyCity of Abilene and Magic Room Studios.

Pumpkin Patchin’ Texas


NOTE: This is our first guest post from travel writer Amanda Waltman. We hope you enjoy it.

Fall is here and while the weather in Texas is a wonder all it’s own, there are plenty of places to visit and things to do to get you in the fall spirit!  Take a look at some of the best pumpkin patches in Texas! From hayrides, mazes and fishing to live music and good food, these pumpkin patches have it all.  And while Halloween may be over this weekend, pumpkin patches go well into November.

Barton Hill Farms, Bastrop, TX


Photos: Barton Hill Farms Facebook

  • When: September 26-November 8, Saturday & Sunday
  • What: Boasting the most scenic pumpkin patch in Texas, the family photo ops are everywhere! Pick & paint pumpkins, find your way through the Great Pumpkin Maze and visit the farm animals. After you’ve done it all, grab a picnic blanket, some Texas BBQ, kennel corn and enjoy some live Texas Country and Bluegrass music!

Sweet Berry Farm, Marble Falls, TX

SBF1 SBF2 SBF3Photos: Sweet Berry Farm Facebook

  • When: September 26-November 8, Everyday except Wednesday.
  • What: Sweet memories are sure to be made at Sweet Berry Farm! After you find the perfect pumpkin, enjoy some homemade pumpkin pie ice cream, go for a hayride or let the kiddos traverse the farm in the Express Barrel Train. Work your way through a Texas-sized & shaped maze and on weekends go for a horse ride and enjoy some grub at The Pumpkin Grille.

Love Creek Orchards, Medina, TX


Photos: Love Creek Orchard Facebook

  • When: Every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in October.
  • What: Love Creek is celebrating 20 years as one of the best pumpkin patches around! Go for a hay, pony or train ride, have your face painted, paint a mural or pumpkin, listen to live music or be a part of the symphony, and while you are there don’t forget to tour their famous apple orchard and learn all about the Texas Apple Industry. Afterwards head on over to The Apple Store where you will discover why Texas Monthly declared their apple pie to be “The Best Apple Pie in Texas” or pop into The Apple Store’s Patio Cafe to enjoy a meal from one of the “Best 40 Small Town Cafes in Texas”.

Devine Acres Farm, Devine, TX

DAF1 DAF2 DAF3 DAF4Photos: Divine Acre Farms Facebook

  • When: October 3-November 1, Saturday & Sunday
  • What: A trip to Devine Acre Farms is not for the faint of heart! With a plethora of different activities available, the family is sure to have a fun-filled day. From hayrides, to sack races, games of volleyball, horseshoes and washers, mazes, trike derby and family catch-and-release fishing, you’ll never run out of things to do!

At’l Do Farms, Lubbock, TX

ADF1 ADF2 ADF3 ADF4Photos: At’l Do Farms Facebook

  • When: September 19-November 14, Tuesday-Sunday
  • What: Visiting this pumpkin patch is like stepping into a story book. Take a hayride to the pumpkin patch before exploring the giant maze, or Fairy Tale Trail with the kiddos.Then grab a bag of caramel corn and some hot chocolate and take a hayride to Pumpkin Hollow at dusk where over 150 carved pumpkins are illuminated revealing different Disney characters, Famous people, Peanut Characters and other Halloween themed scenes!

NOTE:  Amanda found some awesome additions to last year’s list.  If you need more suggestions, check it out here -

New Goods!

Website Featured

We listened to you guys about all the cool “DAYTRIPPER” items you’d love to have while trippin’ Texas. And with that information, we went back into the SWAG LAB and came up with tons of new goods for your travels.  If you haven’t seen all the things we’ve added to The Daytripper General Store, then it’s time to look again.  New Hats.  New Shirts.  New Nalgene Water Bottles.  New Travel Mugs.  And maybe most exciting of all.  You can now download digital copies of our new episodes.  Check it out HERE.

bottles hat lt blue navy blue tumbler

Best Oktoberfest Brew?

oktoberfest featured

PROST!  It’s October, which means it’s time for Texan breweries to start whipping up their own versions of Oktoberfest beer.  We drove all around Georgetown and bought as many Texas-made oktoberfest brews as we could find.  That number was 6.  But we drank em all and made a video about it.  If you’re more of a reader, lookout below.

Shiner Oktoberfest

This one was impressive.  Very drinkable and well balanced between the malt and hops.  This beer was right in all the right places.  Great job to the “little” brewery.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Oktoberfest

This one was really high on the malts and low on the hops.  So malty, in fact, that it made us feel like it had honey added to it.  I’d definitely recommend this one to folks who love malty beers, but not the hop heads.  However, if you’re a hop head, you probably aren’t drinking Oktoberfest anyway.

Goliad Brewing Co. Oktoberfest

This one was definitely the hoppy-est of the bunch, making us feel that it wasn’t really an Oktoberfest beer.  Good for hop-lovers though.

Real Ale Brewing Co. Oktoberfest

Really impressed with this one.  It was really malty and sweet, but not too hoppy.  It you’re a fan of Oktoberfest beer, you’ve gotta give this one a shot.  This was Richie and Daniel’s runner up.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. Oktoberfest

This one really did it for me.  Just enough balance between the sweet, caramel malts and the hops to make it right up the middle and almost perfect.  Well done.  This was my (Chet) favorite.

Karbach Brewing Co. “Karbachtoberfest”

The tagline on the can is “It’s Still Summer” and they’ve definitely shown it with this beer.  It doesn’t drink like an Oktoberfest at all, but an easy-go-down summer beer.  If you don’t like Oktoberfest beer, you’ll probably ove this one.  I thought it was great, but it doesn’t score high as an Oktoberfest brew, because it isn’t and shouldn’t be called one.  I love you Karbach, but you’re clearly trying to be different from the herd on this one, and cheers to that.  This was Richie and Daniel’s favorite.

Season 7 is HERE!!!

Get Ready, because Season 7 kicks off this week on PBS stations across Texas.  For our premiere episode, we are headed to East Austin to eat some handmade salami and thai food, visit Stephen F. Austin, and do an obstacle course.  Let’s hit the road.

Summertime Swimming Holes in Texas

Swimming Holes

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.”  That’s how the popular song goes.  And if you’re living easy and living right in Texas, then you’ve found yourself sitting in a Lone-Star swimming hole staring up at the big Texas sky above.  You see, the Good Lord knew Texas was going to get hot in the summertime – and that’s why he gave us so many swimming holes.

You can find spots to beat the heat in every part of our state, but here are some of my favorite Central Texas Swimming holes.  Enjoy!  And Dive In!


I think the term “urban oasis” was invented specifically for this spot.  It’s right in the shadow of downtown Austin and it’s 68 degree water feels perfect year round, which is the perfect temperature on a blazing summer day.


The crystal clear water of Cypress Creek pools underneath massive trees.  Throw in a couple rope swings and you’ve got one of the best swimming holes in Texas.


Take the plunge off a 40 foot cliff into the waters of Inks Lake at Inks Lake State Park.  Or just sit on a float and watch others do it.  It’s your choice, and that’s the beauty of it.


  It’s a creek, a pool, and a massive limestone grotto.  It’s also one of the best “post card” shots in the Texas Hill Country.


Here you’ll find a swimming hole with dozens of natural springs trickling down a fern-covered wall and pooling into what feels like a secret oasis in Hawaii, yet 100% Texan.


What used to be a place to turn grain into bread, is now a place to turn a boring afternoon into an awesome day in the river.   It’s the San Marcos river to be exact and it flows just south of the town of Luling where you can bask in the sunshine, or slide down the moss-covered dam.

Viewer’s Choice Contest

Where to Next

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED!!!  We had an enormous response.  Thanks to everyone who participated.

We’ll announce the results soon!  Stay tuned.

2015 Calendar is HERE


Our 2015 calendar is here.  It’s 12 months of ridiculousness that will certainly inspire you to travel Texas.  Who needs bikinis or lighthouses when you’ve got The Daytripper.

Calendars are 12.95 with FREE SHIPPING (as always) and are available HERE.

Order Online Now.

Happy Trippin’ in 2015.



Costume Party and Premiere at Rudy’s in Frisco, TX

Frisco Banner Blog
It’s a Rudy’s HALLOWEEN party of TEXAS proportions!

We’ve got an exciting new GRAPEVINE episode to premiere and Want YOU to be a part of the FUN!!!  So join me and The Daytripper crew on the night before Halloween and get a sneak peak of our “Christmas Capital of Texas” episode.  We’ll have prizes for costumes, trivia, free BBQ for bringing in a canned good, and lots of DAYTRIPPER fun!!!

Date: October 30, 2014
Location: Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q, 9828 Dallas Parkway, Frisco, TX MAP HERE
Time: 6:30-8pm (the episode screening will start at 7:30pm)

Cans For Q:  Like all our Rudy’s events, we will be collecting cans for our local food bank.  Bring in any canned item (or nonperishable food) and we’ll give you a free 1/4lb of brisket.  Now that’s a deal.  (one per customer)

Costume Contest:  You KNOW, The Daytripper likes costumes.  So don’t save your Halloween costumes for just one night.  Break them out early and come in your Halloween best.  We’ll have prizes for 1. Best Little Tripper Costume (0-5 years). 2. Scariest Costume.  3. Most Creative Costume.  and 4. Best Overall.  Of course you don’t have to dress up, but where’s the fun in that!

See you there!