Believe it or not, the very first time I tried Texas Sheet Cake was while I was in Costa del Sol, Spain.
And all I can say is, it was love at first bite.
I don’t know whether it was homesickness and the comfort of a good ol’ American traditional food or it was just the fact that the icing on this cake actually has the ability to make me swoon, but I am certain that Texas Sheet Cake is one of the most amazing culinary desserts in the world.
And I had even just been to Rome and had eaten enough raspberry gelato to feed a small village!
So, you may be wondering how I came across this Texan tradition in the Mediterranean…
It was our sixth week in of our backpacking adventure across Europe. We had been staying in hostels in all of the countries we visited and as we were nearing the end, we made the arrangements to stay with friends for the last 2 weeks. In Spain, we had the good fortune to make it to the homestead of good Texas-native friends recently transferred from the USA to Costa del Sol. When we arrived, we were exhausted. After being in the presence of strangers for 6 + weeks (actually about 4 months at that point) the chance to be around fellow countrymen, hear American English and eat American food was the perfect comfort for 2 weary travelers.
Despite the yearning for traditional American foods, we had the chance to sample some of the best freshly caught fish and some amazing Spanish culinary delights as well. One of my favorite places we stopped was the open air market. The smell of the fresh fruits and vegetables, the colorful array of fabrics, the hand-crafted wooden bowls, and dazzling shell necklaces had us spending hours browsing, meeting the locals, and just in general enjoying the hustle and bustle of the market. But, when we got home, the best surprise was waiting for us.
As we walked in we caught the smell of chocolate cake baking, their mom had baked us the most amazing Texas Sheet Cake ever.
I knew I would be hooked as soon as I saw her pouring the hot, chocolate fudge frosting on top. And that is saying something for someone who doesn’t generally like heavier desserts. But, this is well worth it, and so darn delicious – just perfect for the chocolate lover in all of us.
So, as I have also mentioned previously, I am doing my birthday celebrations in “phases”. Texas Sheet Cake has been one of the only cakes that I truly will devour endlessly unless restrained by force. And of course, I had to make it for my birthday. So I am delighted to welcome you to “Phase 2” of my birthday madness, chocolate-y Texas Sheet Cake style. Oh, so addicting-ly delicious.
- Cooking Spray
- 2 teaspoons + 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon instant ground coffee + 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup fat free milk
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 15 x 10 Jelly Roll pan by lightly spraying with cooking spray and dust with 2 tsp. flour.
- Combine 2 cups flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together until well mixed. (I used a food processor and pulsed for about a minute).
- Combine water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat and add to flour mixture. Mix until well-blended (in a mixer on medium / in a food processor pulse for about 1-2 minutes).
- In a small bowl add instant coffee & boiling water until dissolved. Also add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract and beat together well. Add this mix into the flour mixture and mix together until well mixed.
- Pour batter into prepared Jelly Roll pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
- For Icing: (Make while cake is baking, so that it can be immediately applied to hot cake) Combine 6 tbsp. butter, milk, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gradually add in vanilla and powdered sugar. Whisk well to remove any lumps. Pour evenly over hot cake. Cool completely on wire rack.
- Once cooled, cut into 3″ squares and garnish with fresh strawberries or raspberries. Serve immediately.
Source: slightly modified from Cooking Light Magazine 2000 issue for Texas Sheet Cake.