Monday, March 11, 2013

Best Chocolate Sheet Cake - Pioneer Woman

Best Chocolate Sheet Cake - made March 4, 2013 from The Pioneer Woman

I've only caught The Pioneer Woman on Food Network a few times, usually when it happens to be on while I'm working out at home.  She always seems like such a pleasant lady and I enjoyed the show.  This chocolate cake recipe has been making the rounds on pinterest and I had been meaning to try it out.  I had lunch planned with a couple of coworkers and it wasn't until the night before that I remembered I didn't have anything to bring.  I needed something quick and easy I could make after work and this cake fit the bill.  It's very similar to the Texas Fudge Cake recipe I've made before in that it's a chocolate cake where you spread the frosting on top while the cake is still warm from the oven and the frosting partially melts into the cake then sets like a soft fudge once it's cooled.

Yes, this cake is as good as that just sounded.  I mixed it up while my oven was preheating and had it baking in minutes.  The frosting you make towards the end of the cake's baking time.  Although the recipe called for making it in a sheet pan, I like my cakes a bit thicker so I baked it in a 9 x 13 pan and that worked just fine.  Both the cake and the frosting layer were thicker than the Pioneer Woman might've intended but it was just right to me.  I really liked this cake.  I baked it until the toothpick inserted in the center came out clean but once it was frosted, cooled and cut, it looked like it could've used a little more baking time.  You can tell because the bottom part of the cake was more dense, a sure sign it's underbaked.  It wasn't raw though and tasted pretty good to me.  The only drawback is I was out of my favorite Pernigotti cocoa and the last 3 times I've haunted Williams Sonoma, they didn't have it in stock.  I tried out the Trader Joe's brand of cocoa for this cake but it simply didn't have the dark robust flavor of Pernigotti.  So I will have to make this again (uh, darn?) once I restock on Pernigotti.  One must sacrifice for one's craft after all.....
Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa
2 sticks butter (1 cup or 8 ounces)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional, I left them out)
1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons or 7 ounces) butter
4 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) powdered sugar

Note: Original recipe calls for using an 18x13 sheet cake pan but I used a 9 x 13 pan.  Adjust baking time accordingly depending on your pan size.
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
  3. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
  4. In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely, if using. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans (if using), stir together, and pour over warm cake.
  6. Let cool (if you can wait that long), cut and serve.

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