I'm a bit behind on a couple of blog posts so this is a catch up from before Christmas. Despite my earlier claims about keeping it conservative when it comes to recipe experimentation during the holidays, I have to admit I get a little twitchy if I go too long without trying a new recipe. There's only so much of baking the same tried-and-true recipes I can do without feeling like my baking soul is being stifled. There are so many recipes out there! I can't imagine sticking to the same ones all the time. But I do compromise around the holidays and take very few risks.
So when I do try a new recipe, I go with one that's almost certainly guaranteed to turn out. As I've mentioned over and over, Lisa Yockelson's recipes typically fit that bill. I needed a few more baked gifts for the last of my holiday lunches before Christmas and something to put in the freezer for my post-Christmas baked-goods gift giving so this was almost a no-brainer to try out. A chocolate sheet cake that can be frosted, sliced, wrapped and stored is ideal for what I needed.
The cake itself turned out great. The flavor was nice and chocolaty, the texture was soft and moist. Overall, this is a good chocolate cake recipe. The only failure though is the frosting recipe I used. It set too much too quickly, likely because I either used too much powdered sugar or too little milk (because I ran out) so it hardened to be more like a thin fudge layer rather than a creamy chocolate frosting. Not that that is necessarily bad but I would've preferred a more traditional soft frosting.
2 cups bleached cake flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
3 large eggs
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Lightly grease the inside of a 9 x 13 x 2” baking pan with shortening and dust with flour.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
3. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar in 3 additions, beating on moderate speed for 1 minute after each portion is added. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. On low speed, add the sifted mixture in 3 additions alternately with the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently to keep the batter even-textured. The batter will be velvety.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
5. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until risen, set, and a toothpick inserted in the center withdraws clean (or with a few crumbs attached). Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. Spread the frosting on the cake, swirling it as you go. Let the cake stand for 1 hour before, cutting into squares for serving.