27 September 2018

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way - a quick and easy feeds-a-crowd chocolate cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chocolate cake is always a hit at any gathering. I'm not that keen on chocolate myself, but nearly everyone else in the world is. My quick and easy feeds-a-crowd chocolate buttermilk sheet cake is served right from the pan—perfect for any large casual party. I took it to a big party on Saturday and it disappeared in no time. Everyone was talking about it! 

Inspired by a cake popular in the '70s, Texas sheet cake, I developed this recipe for a larger, more flavorful, slightly less sweet cake. It yields 32 servings and can be made start-to-finish, including frosting, in under an hour. The only special equipment required is a half sheet pan, the same one I use for my Meyer Lemon Sheet Cake and many other things. Hope you'll try it and let me know what you think.

It has just enough espresso powder to punch up the chocolate flavor without giving it a coffee flavor. But if you don’t use coffee, it will still be delicious without it. And if you have buttermilk on hand, you can use it instead of the cider vinegar-milk. For those who pay attention to such things, one serving of this cake, with the frosting, comes in about 3/4 teaspoon under my maximum daily sugar allowance.

I go a little nuts with the pecans (no pun intended); you can use half the amount or none at all, whatever suits you. For less rustic looking, perfectly smooth and shiny little squares for afternoon tea, I'd be willing to sacrifice the pecans.

Are you a fan of sheet cakes? 


Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way - a quick and easy feeds-a-crowd chocolate cake / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake


(Makes 18x13x1-inch half-sheet, 32 servings)

The Cake

1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) water or cold coffee*
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 packed cup (1.5 ounces/42 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa*
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups (12.25 ounces/347 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cider vinegar plus milk to make 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The Frosting

1 teaspoon cider vinegar plus milk to make 1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml)
1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 packed cup (0.75 ounce/21 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 firmly packed cups (12 ounces/340 grams) unsifted powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces/170 grams) finely chopped pecans, toasted

* I always buy organic, fair trade certified coffee and chocolate products.



1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Spray half sheet pan (I have both this heavy-duty half sheet pan and this Nordic Ware lidded half sheet pan) with cooking spray; don’t try to make-do with a smaller pan, or the batter will overflow.

2 In 2-quart saucepan, combine water, butter, cocoa and espresso powder. Heat, whisking occasionally, over medium heat until the butter melts.

3 In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisking for about 30 seconds sort of sifts the dry ingredients. In 2-cup glass measure, stir together vinegar and milk; let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in eggs and vanilla extract. 

4 Add warm cocoa mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine (set the pan aside, as is, for the frosting); beat for about 30 seconds. Add the soured milk mixture and beat for another 30 seconds. (A wooden spoon works perfectly well, but I use an English cake whisk, a kind of stainless steel wire spoon that has been made in Britain for over a hundred years.)

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way (this photo - my favorite whisks, including the English cake whisk) / www.delightfulrepast.com
The English cake whisk is the one at the bottom

5 Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly (5 to 10 minutes) on wire rack while making the frosting. The slight cooling before pouring on the frosting gives the cake a better texture. In 1-cup glass measure, stir together vinegar and milk; let stand for 5 minutes.

6 In same 2-quart saucepan used for the cake (no need to wash it), combine butter, soured milk, cocoa, vanilla, espresso powder and salt over low heat. When butter is melted, bring to a boil; remove from heat. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar, whisking vigorously until smooth. Stir in toasted pecans. 

7 After cake has cooled slightly for just 5 to 10 minutes, pour warm frosting over warm cake and spread quickly. Cool in pan on wire rack. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean

54 comments:

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I love Texas Sheet Cake, Jean, and your version sounds perfectly wonderful! Wish I could stop by your place for a big slice. Happy Baking!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty! That would be wonderful!

Grace said...

OMG - chocolate cake and it looks easy to make. I do so miss baking, hate cooking, love baking but my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 3 years so sugar does not enter our home...so sad. (And no, those sugar substitutes just don't work for baking even the ones that say they ARE for baking - plus they are hard to find in my area for some reason while regular sugar substitutes are plentiful. Why is that?)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Grace. I have never used sugar substitutes. The artificial sweeteners that I know of are harmful to one's health, and the natural ones like stevia taste just as bad as the fake ones to me. I would rather just do without desserts than use sugar substitutes. Sorry about your husband's T2D. I've done a lot of reading about it lately, and a lot of people have been able to reverse it with diet. While my husband hasn't committed to my never-more-than-6-teaspoons-in-a-day, he is paying more attention to his sugar intake now.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Save the pecans! Aesthetics do not have taste buds. I suggest, for those who require visual confirmation, eating the dark and turn on your imagination but do not sacrifice the pecans. That said, this caffeine concoction should probably be considered for assisted suicides and capital punishment executions. Some things are worth dying for. 5 cleavers!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Oh Jean, I started not to open your post, knowing it was cake-- Trying to be more careful with my eating these days. I love making sheet cakes for big crowds and your Texas sheet cake is making me want a piece. I really like the fact it has less sugar per serving than one of my cakes! ♥

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, I'm honored by your "5 cleavers" award! And it would have to be a very fancy tea party indeed to induce me to leave out the pecans.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Martha, thank you. I'm so glad you decided to read the post! I have always been a very careful eater, and it's even more important as the years go by. That's why I stick STRICTLY to my daily sugar limit. It puts an end to cravings, so most days I have zero sugar. But if I want to have a piece of cake, for example, and stay within that limit, it won't kick up any sugar cravings.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Your sheet cake sounds wonderful, Jean, although I would have to leave out the pecans. I just don't care for them that much and neither does my hubby. I use very little sugar but the husband likes it. {I finally got him not using salt.} He likes his butter too but he is as fit as they come. He's just got good genetics. Your meatloaf below sounds good too. I make one about every two months and I too like veggies in it. Enjoy your weekend!

Louca por porcelana said...

WOW!Mouthwatering!!!Hugs,Jean!Love the dish too!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sandi. Those "good genetics" people can be so annoying! :D If I want to be healthy, I have to pay attention!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Maristella. Those plates were my mother's.

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

This sounds sooo good!

Margie said...

Oooh. This looks fabulous, Jean! I'm a fan of anything chocolate! I would never have guessed that the frosting has cider vinegar-milk. Interesting!

The tea socials at work started in 2015. During the first year, we had them every month. Now we aim to have them every other month. Sometimes we have a "pop-up" tea in between where people bring their own cups.

Cheryl said...

I am definitely one of those "nearly everyone else in the world" who loves chocolate, so this cake looks fabulous! :)

Richard Sheppard said...

Dang that looks good! I am definitely a fan of sheet cakes. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks...

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

BRnLC, thank you. Good to hear from you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margie. Yep, it gives an approximation of buttermilk for those of us who don't use enough buttermilk that most of a carton wouldn't go to waste! Your tea socials at work are so cool, I want to go to work there!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Cheryl, thank you. I love that I can cut it up and freeze it to bring out a few pieces at a time.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Richard, thank you. Are you going to be baking a cake for the occasion?! If you wanted to decorate it, or write on it, you could leave out the pecans.

Stephanie said...

Oh my, yes! This looks divine, my friend. You have my mouth watering :)

I hope your fall is off to a beautiful start. Hugs to you!

Angie Schneider said...

This looks beyond delicious, Jean. I always love the pairing of chocolate and coffee.

Carolyn said...

That cake looks delicious and I do have a weakness for chocolate! I will have to make it for a family event soon.
Thank you for visiting and I hope you do get to the Island some day soon.
Carolyn

Pauline Wiles said...

Jean, all your recipes look tasty, but it's been a while since a photo has made my mouth water like this. My goodness, I hope one day to get an invitation to a party where you're bringing the cake! Love the reduced sugar with a bit of coffee thrown in, too.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Stephanie! And Happy Autumn to you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thanks. It's a classic combination, isn't it?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Carolyn. Do let me know how it turns out for you. Is living on the island like being on holiday all the time?!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Aaww, that's sweet, Pauline! I must admit, it's pretty tasty. Something chocolate has to be pretty special in order for *me* to like it!

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

I am a big fan of sheet cakes and your chocolate one looks fantastic.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Gerlinde. It's such a timesaver, too!

Sue Ready said...

I love adding coffee to cake mixture as it deepens the flavor and a teaspoon of espresso powder is the piece de resistance

Ruth W said...

Oh Jean...that is a perfect tea party goodie! I have a similar recipe I used to make for parties...always disappeared. Love the vintage plates too! Nice to be visiting again!
Ruth

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sue, you're so right. Somehow it just deepens the chocolate flavor and makes it a bit more complex.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ruth, thank you. And it's so good to hear from you again. Hope things go smoothly enough on the home front that you can keep posting to your lovely blog that all of us tea ladies love.

Cranberry Morning said...

Personally, I like a white cake or lemon better myself, but I will definitely be making this for our family's Early Thanksgiving on October 13. I might also make the Meyer Lemon cake! I love the idea that it's not as sweet. That's one of the things I like about some of the GF cake mixes, the lack of sweetness. Thanks again for another recipe I'll use!

First Grade Class said...

This looks lovely! Seems easy to make! #trafficjam
www.viewfromthebeachchair.com

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Judy, thank you! That's what I like to hear. I'll be thinking of you on October 13!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, FGC. It is *very* easy to make. Not one fussy thing about it!

Jeanie said...

This looks WAY too good!

Miz Helen said...

I am planning on making a Texas Sheet Cake this week, so I think I will just use your recipe! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jeanie! I have a bunch of it in the freezer still. Think I'll thaw out one container today!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Miz Helen. I feel so honored to have my cake on your fine table this week!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Chocolate cake that's easy and quick sound just perfect to me. Personally I'm very fond of chocolate and there's something pretty special about chocolate with pecans so this has to be a winner.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Phil. I'm sure you'll like it! Even *I* like it! Let me know if you make it.

All That I'm Eating said...

I love the idea of chocolate and buttermilk together, this sounds delicious!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, ATIE! Besides adding to the flavor, buttermilk (or substitute) gives cake a light and tender texture.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I haven't had a Texas Sheet Cake in ages. They're a wonderful recipe for serving a crowd. Or a few teenage boys. :-) This looks most excellent -- thanks.

Tarahlynn said...

Thanks for sharing with us at the To Grandma's house we go link party, hope to see you again next time!

Clearissa Coward said...

Oh my goodness this is simply too good to be true. This looks scrumptious! Chocolate and more chocolate. I love it. I love texas sheet cake as well. Thank you for sharing with #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, John. I think you'll like my version! And you're too right about teenage boys; somehow a few of them make a crowd!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tarah. I think your grandma would've liked this recipe!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Clearissa. I think the pecans just "make" the cake!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Having grown up on a ranch in Texas with lots of pecan trees on the property, you can guess that your sheet cake is right up my alley.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh, Karen, it would be wonderful to have just *one* pecan tree! I never get tired of them.

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