Sunday, July 02, 2006

I wonder if they all circle around and sing too

Chocolate Sheet Cake
The New Best Recipe Copyright 2004

¾ cup cocoa, preferable dutch-processed I used natural
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13x9-inch baking pan.
2. Sift together the cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Heat the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap for 2 minutes at 50 percent power; stir until smooth. (If not fully melted, heat 1 minute longer at 50 percent power.) Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk until smooth.
3. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until combined. Whisk in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth and glossy. Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until firm in the center when slightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack until room temperature, at least 1 hour; ice with frosting, if desired, and serve.

Serves 10 to 12.

I baked this lovely birthday cake for Don. If you knew Don like I knew Don, well, you wouldn't know Don at all. I have no idea who he is. In fact, I think his name is Dan. There's some sort of ritual at my husband's workplace where the guys bring in cakes for each other, definitely on their birthdays and perhaps for other reasons that I haven't quite pinned down. The wives bake the cakes, not the men, as far as I know. It's sort of funny because these are guys working in a warehouse loading trucks all day. I don't mind since I like to bake birthday cakes and I really only get to make one for my son.

Usually I bake a sample cake in a custard dish when I'm trying a new recipe and sending it off somewhere. I did it with this recipe but, well, I was weak and I ate it without photographing it or even frosting it. (I used the Easy Buttercream, BTW.) I thought this was a great chocolate cake - quite chocolately with great texture. I'll definitely pull out this recipe next time I need a chocolate cake on the fly.

Question of the Day: How many birthday cakes do you generally make in a year?


DancesInGarden said...

I make as little as two (DD and DH) or as many as 20 depending on if I am asked. I make character cakes, not with special pans but a flat sheet cake. Draw on the design usually copied from a colouring page, then use icing to fill. I hate character pans, and all those darn icing stars!

Heather said...

This sounds horrible, but I don't think I ever make a birthday cake. We are not big cake eaters here and with only 2 of us at home we could never finish a whole cake. Plus I feel a little bad about bringing a half or partly eaten cake to work.
I do like to make other kinds of cakes and then bring them to work to share, but make sure that I have some to take home for us to share. I am even sometimes quite stingy with my cake.

Rebel In Ontario said...

Depends on the year! For sure I make two (one for hubby, one for my Mom) but some years it could be as many as 12! My mom does the picky, character with a bizzilion stars cakes so she usually offers for any birthdays around here but some years I make layer cakes for family and friends.

Wanda said...

I don't usually make any. If my granddaughter is here over her birthday, I make her one or we make one together. You can see the last one she and I made on my blog - the March 21st entry. It didn't turn out all that great, because the bowl needed to be bigger/deeper to hold the doll pick securely. It was a doll cake with the cake, baked in a bowl, being the skirt.
For my husband's birthday recently, I made Paula Deen's Krispie Kreme 'bread' pudding. You can see it on my June 28 blog entry. It was okay, but definately not worth the money it took to make it.
Today, I plan to make Paula Deen's Gooey Butter Cake. I got the recipe on this blog a month or two? ago.

Jennifer said...


ThursdayNext said...

Hmmm. I made homemade cupcakes with a "J" monogram when my nephew Jack was born ten months ago...does that count as a birthday cake? ;)

I bet the buttermilk made this cake amazing; it looks awesome, btw!

Unknown said...

I don't make what you typically call birthday cakes, but at birthday time I ask what the honored guest wants. If it's a cake, I'll make it but that usually consists of choclate chip poundcake or the like. My brother, however, usually wants homemade oreo cookie ice cream dessert.

Anonymous said...

Fewer than I used to, since the family is more scattered. Anytime anyone was around, they got a cake.

My, your cake looks festive! Hope Dan/Don liked it.


Annie said...

I make at least 3 or 4 a year. Usually for my family and maybe co-workers.
I myself would rather have pie for my birthday. I guess because cake was always dessert at my home when I was growing up. My Dad had a sweet tooth and my Mom took care of it. :)