Cook the Book: Chocolate Sheet Cake

Cook the Book: Chocolate Sheet Cake

[Photo: The Pioneer Woman]

20091026thepioneerwomancooks.jpg"Please make this cake today. I don't want you to live another day without it." With an endorsement like that there was no way that I wasn't going to try The Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake, otherwise known as the Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever.

I've just finished icing the cake and I must say, it looks flawless. But there's a part of me that feels a little like I've cheated. Baking a cake that looks as good as it tastes usually takes a good long while. Sure, the cake and icing might come together pretty quickly, but then there is the interminable period waiting time that occurs while the cake cools enough to be frosted. After all of my years of baking I still jump the gun and end up with a spottily finished cake with unattractive cake crumbs mixed with the icing.

The cake clocked in at a little less than half an hour from start to finish, icing and all. There's no messing with a sifter, or even bringing butter to room temperature. This recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks seems like the antithesis of every established rule of baking. It's just so easy. The cake is still sitting on my kitchen counter, and I'm impatiently waiting for it to cool down to a sampleable temperture, but I'm pretty sure that this cake is The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Pioneer Woman Cooks to give away this week.

  • Yield:one 18x12-inch cake


  • For the Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
  • For the Icing
  • 1 3/4 sticks butter
  • 4 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)


  1. 1.

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. 2.

    In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir together and set aside.

  3. 3.

    In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. Mix with a fork and set aside.

  4. 4.

    In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the cocoa.

  5. 5.

    Whisk together to combine. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.

  6. 6.

    When the butter is melted, pour the boiling water in the pan. Allow to bubble for a moment, then turn off the heat.

  7. 7.

    Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture.

  8. 8.

    Stir together for a moment to cool the chocolate, then pour in the egg mixture.

  9. 9.

    Stir together until smooth, then pour into an ungreased jelly roll pan (or rimmed baking sheet) and bake for 20 minutes.

  10. 10.

    While the cake is baking make the icing. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. (I just wash out the same one I used for the cake. Makes me feel responsible and productive.)

  11. 11.

    Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth.

  12. 12.

    Add the milk and vanilla.

  13. 13.

    Add the powdered sugar. Stir together.

  14. 14.

    Dump in the chopped pecans and stir until well combined.