Saturday, March 10, 2012

Aunt Adeline’s Texas Sheet Cake by Lucy Burdette

I'm pretty sure the last recipe I posted contained uber-healthy ingredients like kale and lentils. So I figured I was due up for something decadent. Something loaded with butter and sugar and chocolate...

My friend Peggy Antenucci is very, very popular at potlucks because she always brings this amazing chocolate cake. So I've reproduced it here, though I couldn't find the pan she called for so I used a regular rectangular glass pan. The only drawback with the smaller pan is thicker icing--and some folks wouldn't consider this a drawback at all. Peggy reports that she substituted yogurt and applesauce for another stick of butter--believe me it's plenty rich as is.

For the Cake:

1 stick of butter
1 cup water
4 heaping TBSP cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp soda
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup applesauce
½ cup plain no-fat yogurt (or sour cream if feeling decadent)
1 tsp vanilla

To make the cake, melt the stick of butter in a saucepan & add the water and cocoa powder.
Bring to a boil on stove and remove from heat.

Sift dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat the applesauce, the yogurt or sour cream, the vanilla, and the eggs in a second bowl. Then blend with dry ingredients. And finally, add in the cooled chocolate liquid from saucepan and mix thoroughly

Pour into a greased & floured 15 x 10 x 2 “jelly roll” pan or a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. The smaller pan will take longer to cook, as the cake batter is thicker--add 5 minutes and check with toothpick. Bake another five minutes if needed.
Make frosting five minutes before cake is done and spread on cake while still hot and then let cool.

For the frosting:

1 stick of butter
4 TBSP (or more for darker chocolate) cocoa powder (though I found 4 was plenty!)
6 TBSP milk

1 pound box powdered sugar (I used about 2/3 of the box as it tasted pretty darn sweet)
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa & milk but do not boil.  Remove from heat and beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Spread on hot cake, taking care that the hot frosting doesn't pool in the corners. That will mean the cook has to smooth off the overly-thick parts and eat them herself.

Then cut yourself a large square, pour a glass of milk, and settle in with a cozy culinary mystery.

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries including AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. She is very excited to be nominated for an Agatha Award for best short story along with fellow blogmates Krista Davis and Avery Aames. "The Itinerary", written as Roberta Isleib, can be found here.


  1. Thank you for the recipe. Looks great. I am actually going to print two copies, one for me and one for my mom who will love this.

    I just finished a book and I am on to the next series to read :) YAY! I love reading.

  2. Reading and chocolate cake--great combination! by the way Shawn, I made this for a gathering this week and one guy said it had ruined him for any other chocolate be careful:)

  3. Pardon me (wiping drool off IPad screen) while I go pour a glass of milk ! This sounds heavenly. YUM,

  4. Crawling into the computer to swipe a piece right now! I love the applesauce to lighten it up a little bit, while keeping it moist, no doubt. Terrific recipe, Lucy!

    I had to laugh because I'm the cook who would even out those edges by devouring the extra frosting. I'm also planning a healthy recipe for Monday. It would go great with a piece of this cake!

    ~ Krista

  5. LOL. I had a dear friend, now gone, who taught me to make this cake. But she called it a sheath cake and I called it a sheet cake--endless good-natured quibbling. It does go together like no other cake I ever made, and you really have to follow the directions.

  6. I gave my mom the recipe, she was here today and thanked me and in turn am thanking you for here.

    She was excited to get the recipe and was going to make it next weekend for her company.

  7. Thanks for the shout out, Lucy! My Aunt Adeline is smiling down on us from somewhere right now! She also made a divine German Chocolate cake with the carmel pecan and coconut icing that I loved as a kid--I used to call it German Shepherd cake because that was the dog her sister, my Aunt Stella, had when I was little! :) This Texas sheet cake seems to be everyone's favorite at parties--it's so big and rich it has to be shared!