Friday, February 14, 2014

Texas Sheet Cake Pinstrosity

Hello there peeps!

Happy day to you! We received a great email from Alison regarding "The BEST Texas Sheet Cake". 

The Original:
That there is a thing of sheet cake beauty.
No wonder Alison chose to try out this recipe! If you want to try it too (and you aren't deterred by Alison's pinstrosity) -- you can check the original posts out here or here

The Pinstrosity:
Maybe we will call this the Texas Shoot Cake? Because, shoot, that's not quite like photo in the original pin.
Here's what Alison had to say about the BEST Molten Lava Texas Sheet Cake:

"I only changed one thing from the original recipe. Because I didn't have a jelly roll pan, I poured the mixture into a 9x13 cake pan, making it more difficult for the sheet cake to bake all the way through. After 15 minutes, it was watery in the middle so I lowered the heat and baked it longer. After pouring the hot icing on it, below is what happened.... hopefully it will still taste good..."

I think I should start by saying that I think that Alison's use of another pan was completely reasonable in my book. Why do you ask? Because until five minutes before I started typing this, I had never heard of a jelly roll pan. But, do you know what's wonderful? The internet. 

I'll share my findings for those of you who didn't know what a jelly roll pan is either (don't worry, I'm not judging you). Thanks to What's Cooking America, we now know that a jelly roll pan is:
  • A wide, flat pan similar to a cookie sheet or baking sheet with sides. The sides are 1-inch (2.54 cm) deep.
  • The most all-purpose size to have is a 12½ x 17½ by 1 inch Jelly Roll Pan.
  • These pans were intended for baking the sheet cake or sponge cake used in making jelly rolls. Jelly roll pans are handy for many other uses such as for roasting vegetables and baking cookies.
Given the dimensions dimensions of the most "all-purpose" size jelly roll pan, I can understand why Alison had to adjust the time and the temperature for baking of the cake. 

But, whoa, once Alison poured in the icing, this sheet cake evolved into a lava cake! I have no idea how to prevent a delicious chocolate swamp from forming in the middle of a sheet cake. I turn to you, Faithful Pinstrosity readers-- do you have any thoughts on this?

I have to tip my hat to Alison, because this is how she rated her pinstrosity: As for the "GCT Scale: I'd say maybe a 3: brown. I'm still gonna eat it :)"

Good for you Alison, ever the optimist. I definitely would have eaten it too! As a matter of fact, I'm a little sad that, as I type this, there is no heaping pile of sheet cake goodness waiting in my kitchen downstairs. 

Alison was nice enough to send us an update about how the cake tasted. Good news! She says "It was actually really good! And it seemed to be cooked all the way through, thank goodness. Though the frosting was seeped through in the middle... "

Still think this is a GCT Level 3? I'd say that with Alison's taste test, it has graduated to a Level 2. Tell us what you think!

Well, lovely readers, that's all for this post! I've missed you!
Cheers and keep being awesome,


  1. Pan size absolutely makes a difference. It sank in the middle because it didn't cook all the way, or at the same rate as the edges. You really need to bake this in the prescribed pan.
    If you're going to bake this in a 9x13 instead, you want to use a metal not glass pan, and not use all the batter. The idea is to get the same thickness cake as you would with a jelly roll pan.
    You wouldn't expect something to cook the same in a saucepot as it would in a 13" frying pan, it's the same idea here.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Given the change in pan and that collapsed cake, I'd say it just never got fully baked in the middle. That recipe is designed to be baked in a shallow pan, so you'd have to adjust the baking time and temperature from the beginning, otherwise you'll get burnt edges and uncooked middle. Since most people don't have jelly roll pans, I would instead recommend splitting this batter into two 9x13 pans for a better chance of success.

  3. I used to have this issue with brownies (Betty Crocker out of a box)...but it was when I messed with the recipe (adding chocolate chips or peanut butter chips). The middle wouldn't get quite done. It has to do with the amount of liquid (or things that become liquid when heated - like chocolate chips)...I just went with it and ate it anyway :)

  4. My advice: Don't pour hot icing on a hot cake. It's no surprise the frosting seeped right through. Think about how liquidy cold frosting is when it goes on even a somewhat warm cake.

    1. This style sheet cake is meant to have hot icing poured over the warm cake, it's more of a fudge glaze. It's meant to end up a thin fudge layer with a slightly gooey transition to the cake. That said, a sheet cake cools a lot more in the time it takes to make the icing than the double height of a 9x13" pan though, so the cake wouldn't be quite the right temperature in this pan.

  5. Best advice for sheet cakes? Buy half sheet pans from a restaurant supply store. 13x18x1, heavy steel. They're tough and good for a billion things. Sheet pans also come in quarter and full sheet; quarter are super useful at 9x13, but a full sheet (18x26) won't fit in most home ovens (unless you're lucky enough to have a huge, professional sized oven. Additionally, you can get pre-cut parchment papers to fit these standard sizes, or spend the extra money for Silpats, to help make cleanup a breeze. You can even buy extender pieces for baking a deeper cake in the more shallow pan (so you can make a 2" half sheet cake, for instance, if you were serving a crowd and didn't want to make two 1" cakes to stack.)

  6. I've made this recipe without trouble, but you have to use the right size pan. Pouring the icing over hot cake makes it spread nicely and it ends up smooth and shiny. Yum!

  7. Ive made this cake a hundred times but sometimes it falls and tastes like a dense flour mess. Does anyone know why? Most of the time it raises and is wonderful but imagine the disappointment when it turns out not edible. Also a big waste since I use real butter.

  8. I have an excellent recipe for a Texas Sheet cake that is different from this one. It is important to make sure you use the pan a recipe calls for so you can insure the cake is baked evenly. Also, I wait about 10 minutes after I take the cake out of the over to pour the icing on. You want it to be warm so it can be more of a glaze but not so hot the icing melts into the cake. :)

  9. I am very jealous of people who manage to not have a jelly roll pan (or reasonable facsimile). They're what's sold as cookie sheets here, so everyone has them. You folks clearly all have proper cookie sheets. I'm stuck with sides.

  10. Christine-I have both and I prefer a cookie sheet with sides! I always use parchment paper and the sides keep me from having a huge pile of burning cookie and paper stuck to the bottom of my oven when the parchment slides off the sheet!


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