Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Chocolate and vanilla....where some may see boredom, I see simplicity.  Ask me what my favourite ice cream flavour is, and despite having tried flavours as varied as mango, pomegranate, maple bacon, and Cabernet, I will usually vacillate between chocolate or vanilla.

So when asked by a friend to make mini-cupcakes for a baby shower, vanilla and chocolate was the plan.  A double-barrel shotgun of simplicity.  Singular flavours of vanilla with vanilla buttercream, and chocolate with chocolate buttercream were anything but.  Not all cake recipes are equal, I discovered.  I was like Goldilocks finding the one that was 'just right.'  Over the span of a week, out from the oven came four cakes, two winning recipes, and the end-result of a few dozen  mini-cupcakes.

The winning chocolate cake will be re-visited often.  Not too fudgy and not too sweet, you can enjoy it with a thick layer of buttercream or dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Texas Sheet Cake
Makes 20 to 24 servings
(From Bonny Wolf's 'Talking with My Mouth Full:  Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes, and Other Kitchen Stories')  

1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups chopped pecans (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or line with parchment a 15.5 x 10.5 jelly roll pan.  Combine the butter, water, and cocoa in a saucepan.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.  

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Remove the butter from the heat and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix well (either by hand or with a mixer).  Add the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix again.  Pour into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Note:  I halved the recipe and ended up with close to 4 dozen mini-cupcakes.  It will also make an 8 x 8 inch cake.  

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