WEDNESDAY’S THROW-IT-TOGETHER TEXAS SHEET CAKE
I didn’t intend to sneak a cake recipe in between my travel-inspired posts, but this is the easiest-yet-delicious cake recipe I have yet to encounter, and I think you should do it.
Look, I’m not exactly a practician of 30-minute meals. I don’t mind getting down and dirty with a recipe for the better part of my day and get disgustingly anal with
minor details. But for those who knows me, knows that when it comes to dessert-baking, specifically cakes and such, I then become what Nat Geo would call, a cake-sloth. If the recipe, even at a glance, contains any mentioning of words like “softened/room-temperature butter (subtext: have my cake and eat it tomorrow)”, or “creaming (scrape till my ass split)”, or “sift (is Santa coming or I’m covered in blow!)”, or “beat eggs one at a time (zzzz… I’m sorry wah?)”…, I just turn around and start another 10-hours operation on my next ramen project. The double standard is weird, I know, even to myself. But for the entire lifespan of this blog, I’ve been maximizing all efforts on savoury recipes while, in contrast, cheating my way through various pastries such as this skillet cookie, this dumpling wrapper cannoli, and even a no-churn mascarpone soft-serve (and even the more complicated stuff involved cheating). Then, just a few days ago, this sloth has found a new tree.
Following the Monday-blue oatmeal cookie, here’s the Wednesday’s Throw-it-together Texas chocolate sheet cake.
How is it that this cake-sloth hadn’t heard of this fabulous food-source until now? Because as far as the internet is concerned, the typical recipe for a Texas chocolate sheet cake, as I later found out, is no news. There’s quite a lot of’em out there. But when I saw it for the first time on Martha Stewart’s Living last week, it felt as if a whole new natural habitat was uncovered. Since I have reasonable doubts that there are fellow cake-sloths out there being left out of the party, I thought, it can’t hurt to mention it again.
First of all, not only that there was no
screaming creaming, sifting, waiting or any electricity-powered mixer involved, but better yet, the process was so crude and rough that it practically felt mannerless. Sloth-like.
Basically, you boil everything in one big pot then you stir in the rest and bake. Done.
The entire recipe was so easy that I, even I, felt the insecure urge to add a little something more like, for example, browning the butter instead of melting, and replacing water with strong brewed coffee, and substituting cocoa icing with ganache (which is just a fancy word for stirring chocolates in hot cream) for extra richness. And as I stood there as a naturally suspicious species, wondering how on earth could a “pre-cooked” batter ever turn into an edible cake, a mere 22 mins of baking later, I was blown away again.
The cake rose beautifully, and was moist… soft… and dense with rich crumbs. The entire project, including the chocolate ganache that lubricated through the already-moist crumbs, could be done in under 1 hour from start to finish. You can literally bake this cake from the time your friend calls to say he/she’s putting on a pair of pants to head over your way, and have it ready before the door bell rings (ok, if you didn’t include the time it takes for the cake to cool but really, who does that?).
So yes, if you were like me, who needs something sweet to munch on in between the hours she spend on beating a roast duck into a pot of milky broth… this delicious cake is gonna save you some time.
BASICALLY, YOU BOIL EVERYTHING IN ONE BIG POT THEN STIR IN THE REST AND BAKE. DONE.
ALL IN UNDER 1 HOUR, IF YOU DIDN’T INCLUDE THE TIME IT TAKES FOR THE CAKE TO COOL, BUT REALLY, WHO DOES THAT?
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living
- 8 oz (235 grams) bittersweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt, plus extra to sprinkle
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) full-fat coconut milk
- 3~4 tbsp powdered sugar to adjust sweetness if needed
- 1 1/2 stick (170 grams) unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp (21 grams) natural cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup (180 grams) freshly brewed strong coffee
- 1 1/2 cup (205 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup (loosely packed)(195 grams) dark brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) buttermilk
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- GANACHE: Place chopped bittersweet chocolate and sea salt in a large bowl. Heat up coconut milk over medium heat until it comes to a gentle simmer, then pour it over the chocolate. Leave it alone for 10 min.
- CAKE BATTER: Meanwhile, preheat the oven on 375 F/190 C. Cook unsalted butter in a large pot over medium-high heat for about 5 min, swirling occasionally, until it starts to brown. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cocoa powder, whisking until evenly combined, then return it to the stove and add coffee. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add flour, dark brown sugar, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and lump-free, resembling a thick, shiny paste. Let the pot cool for 5 min before adding the eggs.
- GANACHE: Meanwhile, go back to the ganache. Stir it with a spatula until the chocolates are evenly melted and smooth. Mix in powdered sugar to sweeten if needed (I added about 3 tbsp). Set aside until needed.
- CAKE BATTER: Now, go back to the cake batter. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract to the pot and whisk vigorously until the batter is completely smooth and incorporated. Pour the batter into a parchment-lined cake-pan (two 6" square pan, or one 9" square pan), then bake in the oven for 22~24 min, until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for 30 min, then smear the ganache on top (My kitchen is cold so the ganache thickened considerably), and sprinkle with more flaky sea salt. Moist, dense, decadent. Most importantly, effortless.
I ran out of cream and so used full-fat coconut milk for the ganache. You can use cream if you'd like.
If you can't get buttermilk, whisk 1/2 milk and 1/2 plain unsweetened yogurt together.