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Texas Sheet Cake

En español | For most of my son's childhood birthday parties, I made this simple chocolate sheet cake. It can be a blank canvas for writing and decorating as you like. This recipe is adapted from my book, Talking With My Mouth Full (St. Martin's 2006).

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 cup water

1/4 cup cocoa

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter a 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch sheet pan.

Combine butter, water and cocoa in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Remove the butter mixture from the heat and add to the dry ingredients. (Don't clean the pot. You'll use it for the frosting.) Blend well.

Add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Blend again. Pour into the pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, make the frosting. Pour the frosting on the hot cake and spread. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1-pound box confectioners' sugar, sifted

1/4 cup cocoa

6 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat, stirring until smooth. The frosting will be thick because it softens on the hot cake.

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