Food52 contributor Jenny Steinhauer is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.
Today: A cake to bring out everyone's inner child.
I like a good office birthday. Not my own, of course. On my birthday I call in sick and get a pedicure. But I enjoy the minor spectacle of someone else's special day -- the off-key singing, the cracks about agedness, and of course, OF COURSE, cake.
So the other day, when I learned that one of my colleagues would be present and accounted for on his birthday, I decided cake was in order. For large groups, a sheet cake really fits the bill, and I found a receptive audience with Mable's Texas Sheet Cake.
Let me just tell you people something right out of the gate: this cake is very sweet. Were I to rework this recipe myself, I might find a way to up the chocolate. But something about it seems to bring out everyone's inner child, as some otherwise reasonable colleagues helped themselves to a second piece (I doubled the recipe and brought one cake to a work lunch) and many said it reminded them of them of the cake their mommy used to make. (Including the birthday boy, who recounted licking the beaters. He's in his 40s so I found this most charming.)
Major weekday bonus points: no mixer required. This cake is all mixed by hand, in under 20 minutes. Please get whimsical candles.
Makes one 13x18 cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
2 eggs, room temp
2 egg yolks, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cups water
1/2 cup cocoa
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Heat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, yolks, and vanilla.
3. In a saucepan, combine the semisweet chocolate, oil, water, cocoa, and butter. Cook over medium-low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Whisk dry ingredients into hot chocolate mixture, just till combined. Whisk in the egg mixture until smooth.
5. Pour batter into a greased 13x18 baking sheet and bake for 18-20 till tester comes out clean.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon corn syrup or honey
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup toasted pecans, optional
1. In saucepan, combine butter, cream, cocoa, and corn syrup over medium heat. Once smooth, remove from heat.
2. Whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour onto cake while the cake is still warm. After spreading, sprinkle nuts over top if desired. Let cool one hour at room temperature. Then refrigerate till icing sets, about another hour.
Photos by James Ransom