Our dinner table in southwest Virginia was always full. Mother and Daddy at either end, us four kids seated two across from two on each side. In the center, sat two vegetables, a starch, a meat dish or casserole, to be passed to the left until all were served. At each place was a glass of milk and a small bowl of canned fruit, preferably fruit cocktail with maraschino cherries which had to be equitably divided among the four of us.
The highlight of every meal, though, was dessert. My mother was a terrific cook; her baked goods, however, were whole-other-level fantastic. Homemade cookies or brownies or cakes of all sorts were a daily staple of my childhood memories.
Among the recipes in my mother’s Recipe Accordion File was a hand-written page of directions from her sister’s mother-in-law, Cora Carroll of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. This Texas Sheet Cake is one of the most sweet-tooth-satisfying cakes I have ever bitten into.
Try it. You’ll like it, I’m sure!
Texas Sheet Cake
Sift altogether in large bowl:
2 cups granulated sugar ½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 t baking soda
Melt 2 sticks of margarine [or butter], 1 cup water, ¼ cup cocoa. Bring to a full rolling boil.
2 eggs (beaten) 1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup buttermilk 1 Tablespoon vinegar
Add everything to large bowl. Mix lightly. Pour into greased jelly-roll pan (15 ½ x 10 ½ inch)
Bake 20 minutes at 400°.
Ice while warm with Chocolate Icing:
[Mix together] 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, 1 egg (beaten), ½ cup melted butter, 2 squares melted unsweetened chocolate, 1 teaspoon lemon juice. [spread over warm cake]
I transcribed the recipe as Cora wrote it out for my mother, baker to baker. I made sure to translate anything that seemed confusing, like measuring abbreviations, but other than that this is how the recipe was handed down.
I have another recipe for this cake from a 1980 edition of A Heritage of Good Tastes from Historic Alexandria, Virginia that uses a mix of shortening and butter instead of margarine in the cake. And in that version the Icing recipe substitutes 6 tablespoons of milk for the egg.
And you, my reader. Do you have variations of this Sheet Cake? What are your favorite childhood dessert memories?