Monday, July 13, 2009

RECIPE: Chocolate-Cinnamon Sheet Cake

This is just one of the best cakes in the world. So deliciously chocolatey -- if you like that sort of thing, Kayte -- and it's big. So it goes well with a family gathering. I took one to CousinFest so that we could just munch on a piece whenever we wanted. Susie ended up having some neighbors over for an impromptu party after the fireworks, and it fed everyone who wanted a piece and there was still a little bit left over for guilty snacking. By the end of the four days, it was gone.

This is a big one at family reunions, parties and, er, funeral dinners, plus it featured largely at James Whitcomb Riley Elementary School back in the 1970s as their featured Happy Birthday cake for each month of the year. It's known in some places as Texas Sheet Cake and in other places as Picnic Sheet Cake, but it's known everywhere as y-u-m-m-y. There are several variations on the recipe -- some call for buttermilk, some call for sour cream, others for more or less cinnamon -- but this recipe is from my cousin Cathy.

The most important part of this cake is the pan it is baked in -- a jelly roll pan, which is 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 1. That's what'll give you the nice, big cake.

The second most important part of this cake is the icing -- the velvety, scrumptious, home made icing. I dare you not to lick that spoon.


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar

2 sticks of butter (I know, I know....)
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water

1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400oF. Combine sugar and flour in a large heat-proof mixing bowl. In a medium sized saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa and water to a rapid boil. Pour into the flour-sugar mixture. Stir in sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon, eggs and baking soda; pour into an oiled sheet cake pan and bake for 20 minutes.


1 stick of butter (yes, I know)
6 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

In a saucepan (preferably the same medium-sized one you just used for the cake) bring the butter, milk and cocoa to a boil. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and stir until velvety smooth. Pour over hot cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. You can sprinkle the cake with nuts, if desired.

Allow cake and frosting to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Icing will set and be firm.

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