Who doesn’t love a cake like brownie with cooked fudge frosting? This cake has been known over time in our house as the Texas Sheet Cake. When I first moved up North from Georgia, everyone kept asking me, “How do you make those brownies?”. At first, I had no idea what they were talking about because I hadn’t actually made brownies for them. Later, I realized that they were referring to the Texas Sheet Cake that I had cut into squares and shared at a summer party. A light bulb went on and I proceeded to tell them what I knew about the history of the Texas sheet cake and it went something like this:
The origins of the Texas sheet cake are unclear. There are many reports of this name turning up in the U.S. in the 1960’s in Austin, Texas. This makes total sense with the name Texas sheet cake. However, that doesn’t seem be the true start of the chocolate buttermilk cake. There also reports of a cousin cake called the “German chocolate sweet cake” that has been around since the 1850’s and seems to have originated in Massachusetts. The primary difference between the German cake and our “Texas” revision is the icing and in particular the use of pecans. And, just to make it all as clear as mud, there have also been reports of “sheath” cakes floating around the South at large. This appears to be yet another sheet cake that is iced with a sweet frosting of sorts. Is it a dialect thing? Who knows, but at the end of a day, with any of these cakes you will get a large jelly roll pan full of chocolately cake delish.
After what I thought was a very detailed and informative recollection of the history of the Texas sheet cake, I looked over at these two ladies and both of their eyes were completely glassed over and as round as deer in headlights. I guess I was a bit into my history lesson, because for the life of me, I have no idea where I actually lost them. So, a little speechless (which doesn’t happen often), I paused and allowed the silence. Finally, after one of them shook off her dazed and confused expression, she said “So, how did you say you made those brownies?”
What I learned was that most people don’t care about where the recipes come from, just that they taste great and are easy to make. At that point, I just tried to tell them where they could find a similar recipe online. But, in the spirit of sharing and finding connection with others, please find our Northeast Georgian Texas sheet cake recipe below. It’s a wonderful quick and easy sweet that feeds a crowd and keeps them coming back and asking for more. Hope you enjoy this as much as we have!
DID YOU KNOW:
Sifted flour, which is much lighter than unsifted flour, is easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake batter or making dough. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, such as cocoa powder, this helps to combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients. I really like this MaMix Stainless Steel Baking Hand Crank Flour Sifter. This vintage sifter is the perfect edition to your kitchen collection of fun little gadgets!It looks right at home on a kitchen shelf with some blue mason jars. Rust-resistant stainless steel flour sifter,quickly sifts flour,icing sugar, baking powder, cocoa or dusting surfaces for rolling pastry.
Storage Tip: If I am not going anywhere, I just put some plastic wrap over the jelly roll pan and the cake will keep for up to 5 days. Usually when I come back downstairs the next day, the cake is cut to pieces and not many slices are actually left. Must be gremlins! 🙂
Fast and Simple Texas Sheet Cake
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, (I prefer Hershey's)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 6 tablespooons unsweetened cocoa (I prefer Hershey's)
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 12 ounces powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper that slightly laps over the edge
- In a separate bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter and add cocoa. Stir until combined.
- Add boiling water and continue to boil on the stovetop for about 40 seconds. Turn off the heat and pour dry mixture into the saucepan. Stir until combined.
- Add buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla to the saucepan mixture.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
- While cake is baking, wash saucepan and prepare the frosting. Melt butter in the saucepan and ad cocoa. Turn off the heat.
- Add milk, vanilla, corn syrup, and powdered sugar.
- Stir together until well combined and not lumpy.
- Pour over warm cake and enjoy!