By Rick Bayless
This was my dessert growing up in Oklahoma, probably because I couldn’t stay away from the chocolatey ooze created by spreading warm chocolate frosting on warm chocolate cake. After years in professional kitchens, I’ve modified the recipe slightly—I’ve made it a little less sweet and substituted tenderizing powdered sugar for granulated. The “sheet” in the title refers to the pan-size—a 13 by 18 inch jelly roll pan—a little larger and deeper than a standard jellyroll pan. Feel free to finish the cake a day or so ahead; well-wrapped and refrigerated, it keeps nicely. I like to cut the cake into 3-inch squares, sprinkle them lightly with a little extra powdered sugar and serve them ice cream.
Makes 24 3-inch squares
For the cake:
- 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups (13 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 5 cups (20 ounces) powdered sugar
- ½ cup (2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the frosting and topping:
- ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- A 1-pound box or bag of powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups (about 8 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted if you like
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 13x18-inch jelly roll pan.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, water and vegetable oil. Set over medium heat and stir until the butter melts. Remove from the heat.
- In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk and vanilla.
- Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the butter mixture and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined. Add the egg mixture and beat for a couple of minutes (all this beating can be done with a stand or portable mixture if that suits you).
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the center springs back when lightly touched.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting (don’t start before the cake goes into the oven; the frosting needs to be warm when it goes onto the warm cake). In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the butter and milk. Stir until the butter melts, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa. Pour in the warm milk mixture and stir to combine.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, let it stand for 3 or 4 minutes, then dollop the frosting over it. Use a spatula to gently spread it evenly over the cake. Sprinkle with the pecans and let cool completely.
Adapted from Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless (Simon & Schuster).