Texas Sheet Cake (&NPR Tiny Desk concerts)

With Tuesday (and the return to school after our week off from Harvey) fast approaching, I wanted to do something fun with my time on Monday! Since fun usually involves cooking and/or baking, I decided to bake (also, it was recently a friend of mine’s birthday, so this was a two birds, one stone kind-of situation). At the end of last school year (the end of my sophomore year), I baked tons of different cakes to bring to school (a quasi-experiment of which cakes were best: one of my teacher’s family’s Italian Cream Cake recipe was by far the best). I wanted to continue the trend of experimenting with cakes, but the one drawback is that cakes are terrible to transport to and serve at school.

So, I needed to find a recipe for a (hopefully) delicious cake that was going to be easy to bring to school and serve. Similar to every person that loves baking and has free time to browse the internet, I have about 100 bookmarked recipes (50 of which are sweets). Instead of browsing the depth of the internet, I was able to reference my surprisingly organize bookmarks to find the perfect recipe: Wednesday’s Throw-it-Together Texas Sheet Cake from Lady and Pups (It’s almost blasphemous that my bookmarks aren’t all Bon Appétit, but Lady and Pups is a really funny and delicious food blog that is an inspiration for my own fledgling blog).

Making the cake:

I started the process early in the morning, expecting to bake the entire morning before I finished (for most cakes, the process takes at least half a day, if not longer). The recipe also uses coffee, so it felt appropriate to bake it in the morning. Since the batter and ganache were made concurrently in pans on the stove, I made sure that I had measured out all the ingredients into prep bowls or glass measuring cups, putting ingredients that were added in together in the same bowl (YAY mise-en-place!). I expected the timing in the recipe to be a little off, but it was nearly exactly as written.

Using what I had, I put the batter into a 8×8 aluminum pan (not the recommended size of the recipe, but it still worked really well without adjusting baking time). Since I was bringing the cake to school, I needed more than one small square cake, so I made a second batch of the batter (not the ganache because I sadly did not have enough chocolate chips).

Two notes about this process: It has got to be one of the simplest baking projects I’ve ever done, but it was still super fun! Two, this cake batter is sinfully good. Usually, cake batter is not as good as the cake, but this batter was incredible!

While making the cake, I listened to my Tiny Desk jams playlist on Spotify. The playlist has some of my favorite songs from NPR’s Tiny Desk series, where musicians are invited to play in an office in the NPR HQ in DC. Usually, the music is stripped down to its roots although there are notable exceptions (Tash Sultana). If you have not seen any of these magical concerts, I highly recommend it!

Texas Sheet Cake

Notes on the cake: It was great for transport, except that the plastic lids to the aluminum pans really enjoyed popping off. The one bad thing about this cake: if you need to store it, wait to sprinkle the salt until the day before, or it will absorb into the ganache and make it way too salty. But other than that, people at school loved the cake!

Final verdict: The cake was delicious with the flavors of coffee and cinnamon perfectly complementing the dark chocolate. Not only was this one of the best cakes I’ve made (I prefer it to all but the Italian Cream Cake), but by far the simplest. If I have to throw together a last minute, but still impressive dessert, this will definitely be my go-to!


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