Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Back to baking

Sometimes life gets really busy (read: school starts again) and I forget how much I really enjoy baking. I can pretty much always think of a million and one reasons not to bake:

it takes too much time
i should be doing homework
i could be being social and meeting new people
i'm too poor
i'm just going to eat it all and then none of my clothes will fit
it's easier to relax by watching netflix or hulu
etc.

But whenever I bake something again I remember how much I really enjoy baking. It is something I like to do. I like to take a bunch of random ingredients and make something delicious. Sometimes I'll share with friends and family, but sometimes it's just for me. I like baking because it's me time.

Last week I baked twice. It's fall and I'm obsessed with pumpkin so I made these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Then I had some friends invite me over for a good ol' southern Texas meal on Friday. I volunteered to bring dessert. Naturally I had to make Texas Sheet Cake! (We enjoyed it too quickly to get a picture...)


TEXAS SHEET CAKE


Originally found here.

Ingredients:
Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Chocolate Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 to 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:
Cake:
Grease and flour a 15X10X1-inch or jelly roll pan or a 13X9X2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Preheat oven to 350°.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup butter, 1/3 cup cocoa, and 1 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. With an electric hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, 1/2 cup of buttermilk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in a 350° oven about 22 to 25 minutes for the 15X10-inch pan or about 30 to 35 minutes for the 13X9-inch pan, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Pour warm chocolate frosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly. Place cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly before cutting.
Makes 24 servings.

Frosting:
In a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and 3 tablespoons buttermilk. Bring to a boil, stirring, over medium heat. Remove from heat; add 2 cups confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add more confectioners' sugar or a little milk or more buttermilk, if needed, for a spreadable frosting. If desired, stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans. Spread the warm frosting over the cake.
(I made the frosting about 3 minutes before the cake was done and it worked perfectly. I also added another splash of buttermilk until I got the right consistency.)

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