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Texas Sheet Cake


fifi
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While blundering around in The Houston Chronicle, I ran across this interesting article on Texas Sheet Cake. (Click on the "Full story" link to get the whole article. I didn't want you to miss the picture in the bluebonnets. :biggrin: )

Granted, I don't do a lot of baking. And dessert is not usually on my radar screen. But I am a native Texan and have attended many potlucks, church suppers at funerals and such, PTA bake sales . . . the usual venues where this might show up. But I have never heard of this cake. It appears that Peggy Grodinsky has done her homework so I am not discounting the veracity of her findings. I just find it odd that a recipe that gets 167,000 Google hits is a new thing to me.

Have any of you ever made this cake? Or heard of it?

edit: To correct the confusion of the photographer, Joseph Deering, with the author, Peggy Grodinsky. Apologies.

Edited by fifi (log)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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This looks like a cake I've eaten at a couple of potlucks, and I think I've seen a recipe or two in locally produced cookbooks (from churches or women's groups). But I don't remember it being called "Texas" sheet cake.

For whatever that's worth!

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My mom got this recipe from the Boston Globe (newspaper) reader's forum called "The Confidential Chat" about thirty years ago, and it was called Texas Sheet Cake in the recipe. It was a favorite of ours for years, and made an appearance at every family party, baseball party, scout meetings, bake sales etc. When my father made it for the first time, he dubbed it "Louisiana Rock Pile" because he did something wrong (!) and it very definitely looked ... like rocks. To this day, he's never attempted it again. I haven't had the cake in years, but remember it to be dense, fudgy and the icing smooth and shiny.

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My grandmother's version is just called Chocolate Sheet Cake, and she's been making it for at least 25 years. I've never really liked chocolate cake, but I do remember really liking her sheet cake. I may need to put a request in for the next time I visit them. :wink:

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My mother has made that cake for every birthday for years, and I have been called upon to make it a time or two myself. The trick is pouring the icing on while the cake is hot.

I am sure there are as many versions of the cake as there are chili recipes, but they are all similar.

Very rich and moist cake, but to tell you the truth, I cannot eat it anymore. Enough is enough!

My great-aunt made the cinnamon version and added some coffee. She called it "Nameless Cake".

If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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And the scales are being lifted from my eyes. :biggrin:

I am darned tempted to try this. And I don't like cake that much. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My grandma and mom have made this ever since I can remember, but used the name 'Sheath Cake'. I grew up in Kansas, though, so if it really came from TX, I doubt anyone would include that in the name. I love it (although I usually cut the frosting recipe in half - too much sweet!) and I associate it with nothing but good memories. It's great to take somewhere because you can make it and frost it and be ready to go in less than 45 minutes. It's moist and delish!!!

Stop Family Violence

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The recipe looks delicious, so I've printed it out and will be trying this one. Of course, I'll need to go buy a jelly roll pan. Oh my, the things we have to do in the name of taste testing. :rolleyes:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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My recipe calls for heating the frosting milk, butter and cocoa until boiling, then beating in the powdered sugar. It's sure to spread this way. I love this cake, just looked for my recipe and can't find it. I'll probably be up all night.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Marlene . . . I was just thinking of using my heavy aluminum half-sheet pans. Get yourself to a restaurant supply and get some of these. You won't be sorry.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My mom got this recipe from the Boston Globe (newspaper) reader's forum called "The Confidential Chat" about thirty years ago, and it was called Texas Sheet Cake in the recipe.  It was a favorite of ours for years, and made an appearance at every family party, baseball party, scout meetings, bake sales etc.  When my father made it for the first time, he dubbed it "Louisiana Rock Pile" because he did something wrong (!) and it very definitely looked ... like rocks. To this day, he's never attempted it again. I haven't had the cake in years, but remember it to be dense, fudgy and the icing smooth and shiny.

Tell your dad there arn't a whole lot of rocks in Louisiana....!!!

I see this recipe calls for UNalkalized (sp) coco powder so I searched and found this thread http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=56559&hl= which still leaves it clear as mud whether I can use my dutch process or not. I'm gonna use it anyway, because I want to try this and see if it's the cake I think it is.

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Marlene . . . I was just thinking of using my heavy aluminum half-sheet pans. Get yourself to a restaurant supply and get some of these. You won't be sorry.

Hmmmm. They don't look much deeper than my cookie sheets, so I guess I could try one of those. I just wasnt' sure it would be deep enough, and to tell you the truth, I've never actually seen a jelly roll pan! :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Well, this has been a godsend! Thirty years ago or so, my Mother used to make this cake for group purposes, Girl Scouts and so forth, but her recipe has long since been lost. (Reading of the provenance I'm wondering if she got it originally from one of my Dad's OK panhandle relatives.)

When I saw the topic title I hastened to look for the unusual aspects of the recipe that I remembered as touchstones -- heating ingredients, touch of cinnamon, use of a half-sheet pan, frosting while hot, quickness of preparation Dana mentioned ... check, check, check, check, check! Very exciting to have it back! I'll make it for my Mom and the assembled for Mother's Day, along with her favorite, strawberry shortcake.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Hmmmm. They don't look much deeper than my cookie sheets, so I guess I could try one of those.  I just wasnt' sure it would be deep enough, and to tell you the truth, I've never actually seen a jelly roll pan! :biggrin:

My half sheets are one inch deep. Since I had never even heard of this cake, I have no idea if that is what is meant. Hmmmm . . . I just took another look at the recipe. My quarter sheet pans are about 9x13 and one inch deep but now I am wondering if that is deep enough. I have no idea what a jelly roll pan is either. A search of the restaurant supply shop that I linked to above doesn't have any such thing. I was just thinking that the picture sure looks a lot like a half sheet pan but when I put a very similar spatula next to a half sheet, I see that what is in the picture does appear to be a bit smaller, like a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan. :laugh:

Well, this has been a godsend!  Thirty years ago or so, my Mother used to make this cake for group purposes, Girl Scouts and so forth, but her recipe has long since been lost.  (Reading of the provenance I'm wondering if she got it originally from one of my Dad's OK panhandle relatives.)

When I saw the topic title I hastened to look for the unusual aspects of the recipe that I remembered as touchstones -- heating ingredients, touch of cinnamon, use of a half-sheet pan, frosting while hot, quickness of preparation Dana mentioned ... check, check, check, check, check!  Very exciting to have it back!  I'll make it for my Mom and the assembled for Mother's Day, along with her favorite, strawberry shortcake.

*executing an exuberant rendition of the happy dance*

What a delightful happenstance. I love it when some off-the-wall piece of information just happens to strike a chord with someone. Please let us know what size pan you use. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I love this cake, but my first exposure to it was from Cooking Light of all places. They have an excellent recipe with a hint of cinnamon. It's not exactly "light" fare, but it's not as deadly as some versions, and it's very good. I don't ever make mine in the jelly roll pan that it calls for, though; I make it in a 9x13 pyrex, which just makes it thicker (more like 2" I guess). And the frosting, oh the frosting... so good! This is a great thing to take to a summer cookout.

Editing now that I've read the article... I don't really like the fact that they use a regular buttercream, and just say to "frost while the cake is warm." Every recipe I've seen, including mine, makes a liquidy frosting that is pourable, so it pretty much spreads itself. And I like mine with the pecans incorporated into the frosting, not sprinkled on top.

Edited by RebeccaT (log)
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Oh wow. That brings back some memories. My grandmother used to make it for all of the family reunions, and that was at least 25 years ago. Delicious and completely decadant. I may have to give it a shot!

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Just thought I would add to the cake pan confusion.

I have a first edition of the big coffee table book Texas the Beautiful Cookbook and it has a similar recipe, with cinnamon, and call it "Mexican Chocolate Cake." This one calls for a 11 1/2 x 4 x 3 pan. :blink: That has to be a typo. BTW . . . Ann Criswell is one of the editors of that book. She was a real treasure of a Texas food historian. I was sorry when she retired from The Houston Chronicle.

The frosting is poured on hot.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My mom always made me Dr Pepper cake which is certainly has to be a classic Texas cake?

I always thought Coca-Cola cake was the classic Texas cake.  Coca Cola Cake

This is what my mom served at every birthday party since when I was a kid.  It was my sister's favorite - very sweet.  I never really cared for it, but that's what I got anyway  :rolleyes:

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I have always used the 10-15 jelly roll pan. That makes a cake about an inch thick. The frosting is pourable and spread on the cake while hot - that's part of the charm.

Stop Family Violence

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I guess I should go looking for a jelly roll pan. It sounds like a useful size for other things anyway. I really don't have enough sheet pans in my toy collection. (No. Really. I don't. :raz: )

Do you line the bottom with parchment or just grease and flour? And what about that new PAM spray anyway. (You can tell how often I bake cake.)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I just grease and flour, since you're not turning the cake out, just cutting and eating from the pan. I haven't tried the new pam, but the old pam worked fine instead of the grease and flour routine.

Stop Family Violence

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