Mum's Chocolate Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting

It is no secret that my Grandpa, or "D" as we knew him, did most of the cooking for his household. He spent his money on large smokers/BBQ pits and it was fine. I mean, can you really complain that much with homemade BBQ sauce on your fingers? No. Because that’s tacky. Literally.

However, Mum (my grandmother), was allowed in the kitchen on some special occasions, according to my early adolescent childhood memories. One of these special occasions was when she heard the call to make her Chocolate Sheet Cake. I cannot make this cake without thinking of her with every little whisk of my wrist.

Mum and D knew what was important in life. So very many of the memories I can muster are framed by Johnson Brothers Friendly Village China covered in homemade BBQ sauce and dining table chairs warmed by anyone and everyone that could make the drive over to their house.

I guess you could say entertaining is kind of engrained in me. I blame them, gratefully.

If you don’t believe me (or just don’t know me), while most of your college age “men” were taking shots and calling dibs on “chicks” at the bar, I made Shrimp Gumbo and this sheet cake for MY 22nd birthday for a group of my friends. We did not go “out.” They didn’t help cook. We played Quelf and drank expensive ($10) red wine. But, that’s normal, right? Mum's Chocolate Sheet Cake

Mum’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

1 Cup Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)

1 cup Water

1 ½ Squares Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate

4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Flour

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

½ Cup Buttermilk

2 Eggs

Over medium-heat, melt the butter, water and chocolate in a saucepan until it starts to slowly boil. While that is working, whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. When the butter mixture begins to boil, pour in the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk and vanilla. Combine really well and add your eggs. At this point, you’re gonna want to stir like Saddam Hussein is watching you (too soon?). You definitely don’t want the heat to “cook” the eggs into a chocolate cake-themed scrambled egg.

Stir for about three minutes and then pour into a pre-greased cookie sheet (mine is about 10"x15" with 1" sides). Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Next, we’re going to work on the Fudge Frosting. Because, fudge!

Mum’s Fudge Frosting

½ Cup Unsalted Butter

6 Tablespoons Milk

4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

1 (16 ounce) Box Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 Cup Chopped Pecans

Little secret, start this frosting about 10 minutes before the cake is done.Chocolate Sheet Cake Remember when I made this for my birthday at 22 in Brownwood, TX while every normal college guy was shooting Jager? Well, I didn’t do that. The thing about this recipe is that when you pour the frosting over the cake, both have to be super-hot or it just won’t work. Cut to, a very perplexed 22 year-old with a Pinterest fail before Pinterest was even cool.

Melt the butter with the milk and cocoa powder over medium heat. If you’re the kind of cook that likes your kitchen to NOT look like Kosovo circa 1999 when you’re finished cooking, slowly add the powdered sugar, whisking it in completely. When you’ve mixed in the whole box, add the vanilla and pecans.

When the cake is done baking, pull it out and pour the frosting on immediately and spread.

Let it cool and then eat that mess like your life depends on it.

Do it for Mum.

Mum & D Wedding