Texas Sheet Cake

Birthdays get so much more complicated as you get older.
It’s easy when you are still in the single digits: you get a fun party with pizza, cake, and ice cream.  The toughest decision to be made is whether to go roller skating or ice skating for your party (is this still what kids do for birthdays?).  Then as a teenager you are counting down the years until you can drive and until you are a legal adult.  Then you get to the big 21, which often involves a lot of parting, at least you assume so since you can’t remember exactly.
Then, after 21, it gets weird.
I have what I call the “birthday blues” often on my birthday.  On a day that used to be such a big deal when I was younger, I often don’t end up doing much of anything.  But then I am not even sure what it is that I want to do.  Plus, my birthday falls around Christmas, so it is often eclipsed by Santa and his holly jollyness.  If anyone knows how to fully enjoy a birthday as an adult, please do share.
You may be wondering why I am talking all about birthdays when I still got quite a bit of time until mine this year.  This cake is our family’s go-to birthday cake when we were younger.  When the jelly roll pan came out, we knew we were in for a huge treat.
This cake is amazing.  To call it just chocolate cake does not fully depict its greatness.  Chocolate cake in general is not always my favorite, but this cake makes me weak at the knees.  This icing is the best part: creamy and sweet.  Do yourself a favor when you make this cake: save yourself the corner piece where you get some crunchy icing edges- it is the best.
Also I forgot my age for the first time the other day.  What does that mean?


From My Mom


For the Cake:
16 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
For the Icing:
8 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
5 tablespoons milk
1 pound powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 15 1/2 by 10 inch jelly roll pan.  Cover pan in cocoa powder.
In a saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder, and water over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract.  Beat together until well mixed.  Alternatively add flour and buttermilk in approximately 6 batches, beginning and ending with flour.  Stir in cooled cocoa mixture.  Pour into pan.  Bake for 20-28 minutes
For the Icing:
While the cake has about 5 minutes of baking time remaining, combine butter, cocoa powder, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Stir in pecans, if desired. Pour immediately over warm cake (it with stiffen very quickly).  Cool cake completely at room temperature.

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