Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cake For A Crowd

I'm scheduling this recipe to post in advance since we're in DC this weekend. Well I hope anyway, as long as they don't cancel our flights because of the snow! Cross your fingers for us and have a great weekend :-)

This is the first Pioneer Woman recipe I've ever made. Who's Pioneer Woman? Well unless you live under a rock then you probably know who she is. I think everyone and their momma in food blog land had made this cake. Am I right? It's been on my "to bake" list for a while but it makes a lot of cake so I had to wait til we had a large family gathering to make this. That just happened to be a couple weeks ago. And while there were 12 of us there, I still had cake leftover!

Let me start by saying that I liked this cake. But was it the "Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever."? My answer is simply no. Don't get me wrong, this cake was very good but I would make a few changes next time. I would grease the pan (the recipe says not to) and the cake stuck a little bit. I would also bake it in a deeper pan like a 9x13. I guess then it wouldn't be called a sheet cake, would it?

The cake was very thin and once you add the frosting on top it starts to soak in a bit. As it cools it gets almost fudgey. It reminded me of a Little Debbie frosted brownie. Seriously how many people did I just offend by that statement?! I didn't mind the texture but I wish there was more cake to icing ratio. Speaking of icing, I opted to leave the nuts out since my cousin is allergic to them, but I made a smaller version in a mini loaf pan for Mr. H that had nuts in the frosting.

I make a Texas sheet cake every year for Mr. H's birthday that is very similar to this except that I add cinnamon to the frosting, so I did that here as well. Because if you haven't tried cinnamon and chocolate together then you are really missing out. Granted my version involves a cake mix and some of you may not like that but my husband much prefers it over this cake. But I think it was because of the texture and density of this cake not flavor. There are a ton of people out there that love this cake so make it this weekend for your football loving friends and see for yourself.

Chocolate Sheet Cake from PW


  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla


  • ½ cups Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1-¾ stick Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 6 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon (my addition)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

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.

While cake is baking, make the icing: Chop pecans finely. 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, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

Allow to cool before slicing into squares.


Unknown said...

I need to make this - yours looks better the PWs! I got the book for Christmas, but haven't made anything from it yet.

Great photos!


mbc said...

Wishing you safe travels to DC and back again. Hope it's a warm and cozy trip for you!

My grandmother has a great chocolate sheet cake recipe. I'd like to compare these. I'm sure I'd gobble this one up too (and not have to eliminate some of those nuts)!

oneordinaryday said...

I might be one of the few who haven't made PW's cake yet either. I really have very few reasons to want that much cake, but I might have to give yours a try and send it in for the teachers one of these days.

Wow ~ You sure picked a good wknd for DC traveling! I hope you brought your boots and winter coat, Monica. We've already gotten a ton of snow in southcentral PA, and I think DC is expecting even more. And it's still snowing!!! Be safe!!! (and stay warm!)

♥peachkins♥ said...

sis wanted to make chocolate sheet cake for the longest time. I'll tell her about this..

Debbie said...

Monica, I've made this cake from PW before and leave out the nuts. Funny, but I just posted one sooo similar that I found at another site and it's wonderful! I used a 9 x 13 inch pan and that is definitely the way to go.....Regardless on size on pan though yours looks wonderful!

Sue said...

I've made this cake for years and everyone loves it. Mine seems a little thicker...but, maybe not. I think of it more like a brownie than a cake. I have PW's book home from the library, but haven't had a chance to look at it yet. I'll have to compare the recipes. Love chocolate in any form.


Connie said...

New to your blog but am loving all the fun, delcious recipes! I'm in a cooking mood today, thanks for the inspiration. Hope you have a safe trip.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

This sounds like it would make the favorites list in our home.

Julie said...

Oh yes, I love this cake. Your pictures came out awesome! I leave the nuts out too, so I have unadulterated chocolate going on!

cookies and cups said...

I was actually going to make this cake for tomorrow's festivities! Thanks for the tips...I will use a 9x13 instead. I have never made it, but have been dying to try..thanks for the honest review :)

Miranda said...

Looks great even if it's not the best sheet cake ever. Oh and I like those Little Debbie brownies so I'd probably like this. :)

Have a safe trip home.

the shoppe owner said...

To each his own, right? Nobody can hate on you for having your own opinion about what the best chocolate sheet cake ever is :)

I love Ree, very much, but I have tried and tried a recipe of hers that just never turns out as awesome as everybody says it is. Crash Hot Potatoes. I don't know. Maybe I just don't like potatoes that way or something!!! I felt like a freak the first time I made them - with such great expectations for them - and I was totally disappointed. I know anyone who reads this comment will probably think I'm complaining, but that's not true. I think they are surely delicious to many, just not the very best way to make potatoes in my opinion.

I was considering making her sheet cake for something coming up, but when you described it as like to Little Debbie... Now I'm scared! I don't even like chocolate, though, so who am I to talk? I was going to make it for an event for my son, and he eats anything that even vaguely represents a brownie, so this will probably be awesome in his eyes :)

Thanks for sharing.

P.S. I did make Ree's blue cheese onion rib eye steaks, though, and, indeed, I did faint. They were heavenly. And most certainly fattening, but I totally didn't care. YUM.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

As you know Monica I'm not fond of chocolate cake but I think it looks fantastic. So fudgy and I know that cinnamon is yum in that frosting. I'm thinking a BIG scoop of vanilla ice cream would be terrific on this!

Hope you're having a blast!

Laura said...

I tried this recipe (minus the frosting, plus the ganache) in her "Life By Chocolate" post. I absolutely love it! It's so simple but such a rich and beautiful result! I think next time I'll look for a strawberry or rasberry glaze for the top....I love the combination of fruit and chocolate. (who am I kidding....I love the combination of almost anything and chocolate!)

Memória said...

MONICA! That last shot!! Stop it! You're so bad. I want that right now. My mom looked over at my laptop and saw the next to last photo (right before the recipe) and said, "Dang!! That looks good." LOL! Bookmarking this one!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Dee from Tennessee

Well, forget about the cake (I tried it ONCE yrs ago and the icing - which is the best part IMO --separated while I tried to make it. ugh, just not a cook) and I do love it - coworker makes it.) BUT forget about the cake --- what about YOU? I told my hubby that one of "my" favorite bloggers
was in DC with this blizzard!! Hope you are okay girl! Thinking about ya here in TN where it's grey, wet and dreary but not white.

tamilyn said...

It is on my to try list also-I have seen it on many sites.

I have been crossing my fingers for your trip-it looks awful there, so I hope the flight maybe got pushed back but not cancelled. Or you flew out before it got too terrible.

Hope you are there having a terrific time my friend!

Kerstin said...

Aww, I'm sorry it wasn't your favorite. I've actually never made a sheet cake before and so need to!

Foodiewife said...

This is one of the first PW recipes I ever made and posted. No, it's not THE best cake ever. It's one of THE easiest cakes ever. I made it for a potluck, and it disappeared really fast. No doubt, Monica, you'll adapt this one with your creative gift.

katie shrum said...

I make the same cake for my hubby on his bday! have done so since we first started dating :)

Emily H. said...

Hi! I'm just blogsurfing today and came upon yours! I make this recipe too, but with cinnamon in the cake!!! Chocolate and cinnamon yum! You take great photos of your food.

Lalycairn said...

Wow, thought I was the only one that ever disagreed with PW on the best sheet cake ever. I also thought it was too thin, and marked notes to double recipe or make in a 9 x 13 pan. I thought the frosting was tasty - but like you, felt it was more like a brownie than a cake.

That said, it's a quick, easy "go to" for pot lucks that always seems to go really fast. . . .

Missy said...

You know.....I made this cake last year and was thinking about making it again this year and you have just convinced me to do so. TWIST - ouch that hurts!!!

vhkleypas said...

Just found your blog searching aroup couplers. I've made the cake but I'm thinking about making it in cupcake form. Do you think that the icing would work ok if I piped it?

Tamara said...

Came across this recipe last night and couldn't wait to try and make it. Delicious! Love the kick from the cinnamon in the frosting.
Cheers from Switzerland!

Unknown said...

You did an excellent job! I can't wait to try it for my daughter's birthday!

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