FOOD FOR THOUGH BY RAMONA TEVIS
Homemade cake with homemade frosting in 30 minutes! I’m not kidding…start to finish…30 minutes! In a home with 3 children (now young adults!) and a husband with a sweet tooth, sometimes dessert has to happen fast and Texas cake is just the ticket. I don’t think I have one memory of a childhood cookout that did not include Texas cake.
And I have never considered why this tender chocolate-y cake, slathered in the richest frosting that will have you closing your eyes and sighing in pleasure, was called Texas cake.
In my quest for an answer, I found as many explanations as there are variations to the recipe. Perhaps because it’s huge and serves so many. Perhaps because it calls for two of Texas’ favorite ingredients – buttermilk and pecans (relish.com). Maybe due to a recipe in a 1957 Dallas Morning News that subsequently swept the country (texasmonthly.com). According to the Library of Congress, the origin of the name as well as who coined the name is unknown.
So I’m sticking with my own personal explanation…it is Texas Cake because my mom called it Texas cake!
If this wonderful dessert really did originate in Texas, I’m truly glad it migrated north. My husband and I have lived in 4 states in the past 23 years. We have made numerous new houses into homes, started and nurtured our family, and settled into the communities where we landed. Not always easily or quickly, but eventually. My mother-in-law would call this blooming where you’re planted. Was this not the same call Jeremiah issued to the Israelites exiled in Babylon? In continuing the Summer Cookout series, Senior Minister Ethan Magness reiterated Jeremiah’s challenge to “seek the peace and prosperity of the place you are in.”
Bloom where you are planted. And bake cake!
As you read through this Texas Cake recipe, you’ll quickly see I deviate from the pecans. My son refuses to eat nuts but loves chocolate cake. No pecans is our compromise. A few notes before you get started baking. This is a one bowl, one pan, wooden spoon only recipe so put away your mixer. And the pan you boil your water, oil, cocoa and butter in…just set it to the side and use it to make your frosting. Don’t even wash it first. Use a jelly roll pan (15.5x10.5) NOT a 9x13 pan. I actually use a baking sheet just a bit larger than a jelly roll and shorten the baking time by 5 minutes. This truly is my go-to cake when I need to feed a lot of people in a hurry.
2 c flour
2 c sugar
1 c water
½ c oil
1 stick of butter (1/2 c)
4 T cocoa
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
Mix together flour and sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Bring water, oil, butter, and cocoa to a boil. Pour over flour/sugar mixture. Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Pour into pan. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. While cake is baking, prepare frosting.
1 stick of butter (1/2 c)
6 T milk
4 T cocoa
1 lb powdered sugar
Melt butter. Add milk and cocoa and bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix well (a small whisk works awesome). Pour onto cake immediately after taking from the oven. Smooth.
While this was my mom’s tried and true version, through the years, I have found many variations such as White Almond, Peanut Butter, Lemon, Orange, and Caramel Apple. All the same base recipe, just different flavor. Let me know if you’d like to try one of these!
Coming up next: World’s Best Potato Salad!
What have you been cooking? I would love to hear from you!