Texas Sheet Cake

Texas sheet cake, the official state cake of Texas, is a huge, pecan-topped chocolate cake with three distinct layers of chocolaty goodness.  It has a diverse range of textures created when the sweet chocolate icing is poured over the hot cake.  When the cake has cooled, you’re left with an icing layer, a fudgy layer where the icing and hot cake have melded together, and a bottom layer of moist cake.  This cake is easy to make (no mixer is required) and is great to take to potlucks and parties because as the name suggests, it’s baked in a sheet pan and serves a crowd.
My sister, Brittany made this recipe for her boyfriend and his Oklahoma State University teammates after (not before, or else they’ll get sick in their 2 mile race!) they run in the Track & Field:  Big 12 Championships in Norman, Oklahoma.  I know they will love Texas sheet cake, just like our whole family. My husband likes to call these “brownies with icing,” but Texas sheet cake really tastes more like cake, just like the name implies.  Brownies are denser, and heavier.  These are lighter, and cakey in texture, but no less chocolaty than brownies.  Leave these in the refrigerator for a more intense flavor.
Enjoy!

Texas Sheet Cake
Ingredients
Cake
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

Chocolate Icing
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
3 cups (12 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Directions
1.  For the cake:  Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk the eggs, yolks, vanilla, and sour cream in another bowl until smooth.
2.  Heat the chocolate, butter, oil, water, and cocoa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.  Whisk the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture until incorporated.  Whisk the egg mixture into the batter, then pour into the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack.
3.  For the icing:  About 5 minutes before the cake is done, heat the butter, cream, cocoa, and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Off the heat, whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.  Spread the warm icing evenly over the hot cake and sprinkle with the pecans.  Let the cake cool to room temperature on the wire rack, about 1 hour, then refrigerate until the icing is set, about 1 hour longer.  Cut into 3-inch squares.  Serve.  (The cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Yield:  24 servings
The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2009

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