Sunday, June 20, 2010

Baking Adventure #24

As I sit here in my food coma, I figured what better to do than blog about the amazingness that recently hit my taste buds and is now nestling in my belly...

My dad has been requesting Chocolate Cream Pie (the third of his pie requests if you recall) for a while. [In fact, if I had a dollar for each time he mentioned it over the last month or so, I could possibly invest in the KitchenAid Stand Mixer I've been eyeing for quite some time.] Dad has been hounding me so much about this pie request that I'm almost positive he thought it would be his Father's Day "surprise" I've been so secretive about. Well, I must tell you: HE HAS BEEN FOOLED!

This week's baking adventure is an old recipe made by a very special lady and I really believe she had a hand in how wonderful it turned out as she rests in heaven with our eternal Father.


Like I said, a very special lady came up with the basis for this recipe and I just found out the story behind it tonight. Sure, you may find other recipes for TX Sheet Cake online but my grandma's will trump them all (Is being biased a sin?).

The story behind the cake recipe is that my grandmother used to make Jiffy Cake out of the box for 39 cents all of the time, and my dad loved it so much that she wanted to figure out how to make it on her own. [SIDE NOTE: Dad used to eat the entire box of Jiffy cake in one sitting with a gallon of milk... (that makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it) Told you he gives my sweet tooth a run for its money, didn't I?]

Anyways, back to this week's baking adventure...

My cousin stumbled across grandma's recipe as she was going through some old pictures and things and typed it up and sent it to me a little over a month ago. Immediately, I knew I HAD to make this for Father's Day. My dad is one of those men who is extremely difficult to buy gifts for but this was sure to surprise him!

First was to prep the ingredients. In case you hadn't noticed, I love Publix brand bakery items.

Now, this recipe is different from most cakes I've made. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING went into a saucepan and was heated on the stove at some point during the process. It was so simple and so much fun to make.

First step for the cake itself was to combine 2 sticks of the butter, 4 tablespoons of cocoa, and a cup of water.

Heat until boiling.

Then remove from heat and dump in flour, sugar, and salt (that had previously been sifted together). Stir this until well mixed.

Then dump in eggs, sour cream, and baking soda. Mix this until well blended and smooth. (You might see air bubbles but that's about it)

Pour cake batter into a WELL-greased jelly roll pan (I HIGHLY recommend PAM for Baking) and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

While the cake is baking, it's time to make the frosting! (Arguably the best part of eating cake... in my humble opinion.)

Take another stick of butter and 4 more tablespoons of cocoa and melt over the stove in the SAME saucepan you made the batter in...

and GET THIS: there is absolutely no need to clean the saucepan OR spoon/spatula you were preparing the batter with (unless of course you lick the spatula) Please see below for evidence supporting the only reason to clean...

Does this face scream guilty or what?

After the butter has completely melted, add in powdered sugar, vanilla (there was no vanilla in the cake batter... shocker, I know!), and baking soda.

Mix until smooth (except for maybe some air bubbles).

Grandma's recipe calls for a cup of chopped nuts to be added; however, my dad and family aren't fans of nuts in baked goods so instead I decided to substitute Heath bar toffee bits to maintain the crunch factor.

After the toffee bits are evenly mixed into the frosting, maintain stirring every now and then until cake is ready to pull out of the oven. Once out of the oven, frost IMMEDIATELY.

Then let cool completely before decorating and cutting into. If you can't wait, I highly recommend licking the bowl and spatula yet again to satisfy the sweet tooth. ;-)

And decorate with the worst hand-writing known to man... ok, maybe yours won't be this bad but it was late at night (I had to wait for dad to go to bed so his surprise would be awaiting him upon stumbling down to the kitchen on Father's Day morning) and I was rushing... or at least that's my excuse for now.

Before I forget, I must show you one of the KEYS TO SUCCESS when baking. Everyone is always asking me different tricks and tips, but this one is a MUST no matter what you are baking...

Are you ready???...

Here it is...

Never before revealed...

You must, and I repeat, must, make a MESS of not only the kitchen but whatever article of clothing you're wearing as well.

Whew! Now that the secret is finally off my chest, this is what awaited dad the next morning:

Grandma's TX Sheet Cake, Graffiti Zoo chocolates (one of his all-time favs), and a card

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful father who has sacrificed so much so that his daughters could have the life experiences he was never able to have. I am forever grateful dad. I love you!


  1. Looks awesome Ashley, your father is very lucky.

    And I agree with you and your family. I too do not like nuts in my baked goods.

    Happy Summer!

  2. I remember a Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake that was so delicious, that I tried to make one for Dad for his birthday. The funny thing is, I'm not really a follower of recipes. I'm more of a freestyle kind of guy. I ended up pouring a lot of booze into it.... Baileys... things with flavor. It came out so rich and tasty that my dad devoured the entire thing (full size pyrex) in a day! Which is rare for him with cakes... AND they were on a diet, so technically were avoiding it.

    It took a while to get it correct though. I wish I had your website to reference back then. Your photos of each step make it so easy to follow, and you make it a lot of fun. Perhaps I"ll get into baking again.

  3. Happy Birthday Ashley!!!!!!!!!

    I hope your Birthday week has gone well and that you have a fabulous day!

    You are a little ray of sunshine to all of us.