Monday, August 8, 2011

Stop 24: Texas Sheet Cake

A friend of mine who lives in Templeton, Mass. (wherever the heck that is) had a BBQ last week so we could all get together with another friend who was in town visiting.  For simplicity's sake, I will tell you their names.  Jenna is the one who lives in the middle of nowhere, and Sarah was the one visiting.  That's better.

Jenna, Sarah and I went to grad school together and are all school librarians.  It's a pretty wild time when we all get together.  Jenna and Sarah are both native Virginians, but last year, Jenna saw the light and moved back up here with her fiance (Adam), who I like.  Sarah was living in Virginia (which is for lovers), but in a few weeks is making a huge move to Texas.  She will be living in a town midway between Austin and San Antonio and now I have a reason to go to Austin to visit (I've always wanted to go to Austin).

Now that you have the backstory, I should probably get on to the cake.  Since Sarah is moving to Texas, it seemed like a perfect time to make a Texas sheet cake.  I had had a Texas sheet cake once before when a coworker brought one in and knew it was a good cake for feeding a lot of people.  It was a good sized BBQ too, which was good because now that I've been to Templeton and know where Templeton is and know I will never be returning to Templeton, it was nice to be able to bring a cake that would feed all of Jenna and Adam's friends, who were nice.

Texas sheet cake is a chocolate cake with chocolate icing that is big and sweet and Brown says, a good way to feed a crowd.  Brown says that the recipe is sometimes attributed to Lady Bird Johnson, but he couldn't find any record of a recipe of her's for it, so I'm not sure where it came from.

The recipe itself calls for pretty traditional ingredients.  It's a buttermilk cake, and calls for brandy, which I subbed bourbon for because I had bourbon and not brandy and it was only a tablespoon.  I made the chocolate pecan icing, which I used walnuts for instead because the mediocre Star Market next to my house had no pecans at all.  I used walnuts for the icing and the candied nuts that went on top.  Those were yummy.  I wasn't super impressed with the icing because I didn't feel like it ever really set, which was the same issue I had with the icing for the sauerkraut cake.  I might not be beating it long enough, or it might have to do with the humidity, which has been rampant recently.

The cake itself baked up nicely and was very moist.  It combined with the icing and candied nuts was very, very sweet, but that's what a dessert is for, right?  I thought it came out well and was tasty, though, as I mentioned above, I was disappointed with the icing and might try a different one if I did it again.  All the people who actually eat dessert seemed very pleased with it.


candied walnuts
Sarah and her Texas cake 
Clayton, Jenna and Sarah looking creepily salaciously at the cake 
and now with looks of deep admiration 

Next Stop: Ohio Cassata Cake

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