Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diane's Double Chocolate Sheet Cake

Diane's Double Chocolate Sheet Cake - made April 9, 2011 from the Doughmakers Cookbook by Bette LaPlante and Diane Cuvelier (book #83)

If you think I have a one-track mind when I'm baking for bake sales, you'd be right.  Brownies and sheet cakes are the easiest things to make when I don't have a lot of time or notice, they're easy to package up, they freeze well so they can be brought out to thaw right before sale time and they're generally crowd pleasers. I was out of town the 2 days before the bake sale so I had to come up with quick and easy recipes to bake that would keep when I dropped them off at Christine's before I left.   I've had this recipe in my "Still Need to Make" for the longest time now so I'm glad I finally got a chance to make it.

This called for baking in a big pan so I cut it to 2/3 of the recipe below and baked it in a 9 x 13 pan instead.  Fortunately, most of the proportions were easy to take 2/3 of, although I did have to eyeball the buttermilk.

Of the three things I made for this last bake sale, I have to say I liked this sheet cake the best.  It's cakey but also fudgy and moist and surprisingly, I liked the touch of cinnamon flavor against the chocolate.  Although this looks similar in appearance to Les Brownies, the texture and even the taste is different.  Still chocolate goodness but this is definitely a cake rather than a brownie.  I liked the cake itself as much as I liked the German Chocolate Cake I made last week.  It's not as fragile but definitely just as good.

3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ pound (3 sticks) butter
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/3 pound butter
9 tablespoons milk
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped pecans

1.     Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Grease a 13 x 18-inch sheet cake pan with solid vegetable shortening and lightly flour.
2.    In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.  In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, cocoa, and water to a boil, stirring frequently and pour this over the sugar-flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs.  Mix well and pour into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.
3.    To make the icing: In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the cocoa, butter and milk to a rapid boil.  Remove from the heat, add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and pecans and beat until smooth.  Spread the icing over the hot cake.
4.    Allow the cake to cool slightly, then cut into 3-inch pieces.


  1. This is one of my favorite cakes! I've made it several times and it's always a hit. Whenever someone wants a chocolate cake, I know exactly what to make!

  2. I loved it too - I can see why it'd be your go-to recipe for a chocolate cake. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did so it was a nice surprise.

  3. I made it in a 9x13 pan too, but I HAD to make substitutions. Not because I always do, but because I didn't have cocoa or buttermilk. I used a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and a heaping tablespoon of yogurt added to milk to "make" the buttermilk. Came out pretty good, but probably not as chocolatey as it could have been. Next time I might try to substitute coffee for the water to make it mocha.

  4. Audrey, glad the substitutions worked out - you can usually substitute yogurt for buttermilk on a 1:1 basis or else add 1 tablespoon vinegar to enough milk to make 1 cup to sub for 1 cup of buttermilk. Let me know if you use coffee next time and how it comes out.