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Gingersnap
03-02-2009, 01:13 PM
Cake this wonderful has to be from Texas, right?

11:53 AM CDT on Wednesday, September 24, 2008
By LAURA H. EHRET / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Texas Sheet Cake, no matter what you may call it, is a delicacy with few rivals.

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Versatile Texas Sheet Cake can either be fancy or family-style. Try using coffee in place of the water, for a mocha flavor, or peppermint extract in place of the vanilla.

Also known as Texas brownie cake, Texas brownies, Texas ranch cake, Texas sheath cake and chocolate sheet cake, this pastry has a national following. Just Google "Texas Sheet Cake" and you'll see what I mean.

Food historians haven't pinned down the origins of the name, but FoodTimeline.org says Lady Bird Johnson sometimes gets the credit for it.

My research shows Mrs. Johnson's partiality to lemon desserts, but I found a version of the sheet cake called Lady Bird Johnson's Mexican Chocolate Cake on www.cdkitchen.com. However, I think it probably would have "Texas" in the name if she concocted the cake.

Texas Sheet Cake, as versatile as its many names, is the little black dress of cakes, although there's nothing small about it. You can dress it up, but you don't need to. It always receives compliments.

And you know you can rely on it to get you through a variety of occasions picnics, lunches, coffee with the mother-in-law without a lot of thought.

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I have baked this cake during a lunch hour, when a colleague's birthday caught the office by surprise. I slammed it out, ate lunch while it was baking, frosted it and drove back to work. (I lived nearby, and it took about an hour and a half, roundtrip.)

I sometimes use toffee bits in the frosting instead of pecans. Some people use walnuts, but that doesn't seem right in the pecan state.

You could substitute crushed peppermint candies in the frosting and replace the vanilla in the cake with peppermint extract.

Or, like the recipe credited to the former first lady, you could add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the cake batter. If you want to go mocha, replace the milk in the frosting with 1/3 cup strong, brewed coffee.

The batter is thin, but the cake turns out light and extravagantly rich with a tender crumb. The hot frosting soaks into the warm cake and makes it even more moist. Add vanilla or dulce de leche ice cream for a wicked la mode.

I recommend using a jellyroll pan. Some recipes call for a 9x13-inch pan, which will alter the baking time and leave this beauty with a layer of frosting that's too thick. (Yes, that is possible.)


Laura H. Ehret is a Lewisville freelance writer.


E-mail food@dallasnews.com

TEXAS SHEET CAKE


cup cocoa

1 cup margarine

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 beaten eggs

cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting (recipe follows)


Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease and flour a 10x15x1-inch pan.

In a medium saucepan, bring cocoa, margarine and water to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Pour the cocoa mixture over and blend well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla. Spread evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Prepare the frosting.

When the cake is done, immediately pour the frosting over it and spread evenly.

Makes 20 servings.

Frosting: In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil 1/2 cup margarine, 1/4 cup cocoa and 6 tablespoons milk. Add 1 pound powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup chopped pecans.

PER SERVING: Calories 395 (43% fat) Fat 19 g (3 g sat) Cholesterol 19 mg Sodium 204 mg Fiber 1 g Carbohydrates 54 g Protein 3 g

SOURCES: Adapted from Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits; More Tastes & Tales from Texas

In honor of Texan Independence Day!

Dallasnews (http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/taste/texascollection/stories/DN-NSL_SAVOR_0924liv.ART.State.Edition1.3e878f8.html)

blueyonder
03-02-2009, 01:57 PM
My mouths drooling!