November 05, 2010

Chocolate Sheet Cake with a Quick Caramel Pecan Frosting

Halloween morning I set out with my Mickey Mouse Steelers loving fan and headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to pick up a 15"x10" jelly roll pan to make a cake. I only had a 13"x9" pan in the house and being the amateur baker that I am I did not realize that I could use that size and just adjust my cook times. Plus it was an excuse to take the Mouse out of the house and show him off and get a new kitchen toy. After searching the two baking aisles no jelly roll pan in the size I needed was found. Kinda bummed I left the store with my other purchases, a set of mesh strainers, a glass pitcher, and a green platter. I'll just Yahoo! it or call my mom who is my go to for every cooking question imagineable.

I must have missed the memo in my inbox for how easy it is to make a cake and forever put an end to my "oh I'll just turn the batter into cupcakes" kick I was on. Chocolate cake, you do not intimidate me any longer. Caramel sauce, you still had me scared until I concurred you. I had horrifiying thoughts of Mr. Sideline Chef being called into the emergency room for third degree burns caused from a sticky pecan substance stuck on the victims forearms.

In any case, if you have missed the memo as well, be scared no more! Chocolate cake and a quick caramel frosting are easy peasy lemon squeezy! Lame. I know. Moving on... After the chocolate cake cooled on the wire rack the frosting was spread on and I'd like to say it went on smooth but it was caramel and my frosting spreading skills are nonexistent.

I flubbed and forgot to add the vanilla extract to the cake and just decided to double the amount in the frosting. It still worked out and the cake was incredibly flavorful. That was a close one. I also had a few moments where I had to run away from the stovetop from my "constant" stirring to quickly reposition a baby out of 2 two year olds war paths, breakup a toddler dispute, and even let the dogs out on the porch a couple of times and nothing was burnt. It could have gone bad.

I ate chocolate cake for dinner. I had a big lunch and it was justified. I shared a slice with my son and we both inhaled it. My stomach must now be ultra sensitive to too much sugar because after having what they consider a "serving size" my stomach ached. I decided to cut the servings in half for today and see if that would be enough to satisfy my chocolate tooth and not have my stomach aching.

Mr. Sideline Chef who is not a cake fan thought it was, "Good", with a smile on his face and the itty bitty chanted my chocolate cake before dinner praises! Yea... I can be that kind of mom on occasion. I've never made cake before so this was a rule breaking moment in the Pretend Chef household. The mama of the other two children was practically licking the cutting board clean of the caramel frosting when she came to pick them up and said it smelt good from outside. Yes, I am the neighbor cooking up what you wish you were enjoying. Knock on the door next time and you might get lucky. Only on occasion am I stingy and draw the blinds so no one can see in and know what's cooking. I honestly did this yesterday for the Chipotle Spiced Macaroni and Cheese when a known "serial-knock-on-the-door-right-as-dinner-is-ready" neighbor walked by.

If a birthday is coming up or another occasion make this for someone special! and Southern Living's September 2005 issue
Makes 15 servings

Stars of the Show: Chocolate Sheet Cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa - I used Hershey's naturally sweetened cocoa powder.
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
And Action:
  1. Cook the first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat.
  2. Beat buttermilk and the next 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating until just blended. (Batter will be thin.) I am glad the directions stated this because this is when I'd be calling my mom or Yahoo!-ing how my batter should look. Pour into a greased and floured 15x10 inch jelly roll pan. *Tip: Don't use flour. Why would you want there to be white on the bottom of your cake. I don't recall which Food Network show I was watching but I picked up the trick to use the cocoa powder instead.*
  3. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack.
  4. Pour the Quick Caramel Pecan Frosting on top spreading evenly to the edges.

Quick Caramel Pecan Frosting
Stars of the Show:

  • 2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
And Action:
  1. Place all ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes or until the mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the chopped toasted pecans.
On the recipe's website they also had a variation for a quick caramel coconut pecan frosting. Mr. Sideline Chef turns his nose up to coconut so that wasn't even going to make it into this cake's frosting. Feel free to make it this way if you want.

Just a reminder... Entry for the Gorton's / Ortega Giveaway is now open! Make sure you comment here on this post (We Have Our First Pretend Chef Giveaway!!!) and best of luck! No entries have been made yet so your chances of winning are 100%. Easy!


Brenda said...

The chocolate cake doesn't scare me but the caramel pecan frosting does, lol. Caramel in general scares me. What I love about your recipe is no candy thermometer needed! Okay, I can handle this. I bet it's delicious, you don't need to cut a smaller slice for me, just give me the regular serving size. :o)

Pretend Chef said...

Brenda - Come on down and have a slice with me! Did you enter the giveaway? If not, make sure to do so!

Lisa said...

Yum, that frosting would make any cake doubly delicious. By the way, I'm holding a CSN giveaway on my blog and you're welcome to come by and enter. I also entered your Gorton's giveaway.

Pretend Chef said...

Lisa - I just checked out your blog and have become a FOLLOWER. I love being introduced to new blogs. I will also be adding a link to your blog on my post this morning and will head back to your blog to gain my additional three entries for doing so! Thank you once again!

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

thanks for sharing this looks so yummy!

Sabrina said...

This recipe looks delish! I have a new affinity for Sheet Cakes after trying out Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake - OH MY GOD - it is divine. This is next on my list. I just have to make sure I have company, lots of it, or else this stuff, I tell ya, will go straight *ahem* somewhere else (let's just say) where I don't want it to go!

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