Pioneer Woman's The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever
I grew up on that exact recipe. I think the enthusiasm for it comes from your own personal experiences. I bet PW grew up on it, too, because it does elicit a similar reaction in me -- and I'm not particularly a fan of cake in the first place, and especially not chocolate cake. It wouldn't make me sad if traditional chocolate cake disappeared off the earth forever.
This one's more of a cocoa cake than a chocolate one, but it is very moist with a nice but elusive tang from the buttermilk. I prefer to do the pecans as my mom did, leaving them in full halves instead of chopping them -- though we were usually using smaller local Midwestern pecans than the 1-1/2-inch specimens you find in the grocery store.
It's absolutely nothing like a ganache-filled layer cake, and that's exactly what I want. On those years I feel like a birthday cake, it's what I ask my sister for.
I think people will devour it at a potluck, either because they remember it themselves, or because it's the ultimate homemade treat that I've never seen available commercially in any guise.
I've made this a couple of times and do recommend it with a couple of changes. The recipe is quick and virtually foolproof.
The first time I followed the recipe and found the cake too sweet for my liking. The next time I replaced the regular cocoa powder with an extra dark cocoa powder that I have – I also added melted bittersweet chocolate to the batter. That did the trick – the chocolate was deeper, richer, more adult in taste. I also used extra dark cocoa powder in the chocolate glaze.
With a potluck, it will certainly be a hit regardless of how chocolate-y you make it.
Also, I've made turning out the cake (or serving from the pan) much easier by lining my sheet pan with a Silpat (or parchment paper).
BTW, here's the cocoa I ordered:
And for those wondering about the recipe:
This cake would be great for a potluck. It's also a good one to try if you're a novice baker because it's dead easy. The whole thing can be whipped up (frosting and all) in about 20 minutes.
I usually make this cake w/o the pecans because it's for kids who don't like nuts, but i think it would be better with.
Is this the best cake in the world? No, but the preparation time/taste ratio is very high, which makes it a keeper recipe, esp. for busy people.
tho make sure the baking soda you use is fresh and still good. i made it with old baking soda once and the cake barely rose. I knew something was wrong because i didn't see any interaction when i mixed the batter together--usually it will start to foam/react at that point.
I don't have much experience with baking but I've made this twice and it turned out great. The frosting is very sweet - I cut back on the sugar the 2nd time and it was fine. I made it for a large group and it was very popular. I'm interested in trying it with the dark cocoa like another poster mentioned.