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Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe & Video

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This Chocolate Sheet Cake has a rich chocolate flavor with a wonderfully soft and moist texture. It is very good on its own, but I really like it with a smooth and creamy Chocolate Frosting. While optional, you can garnish the top of the cake with chocolate sprinkles, candy sprinkles, chopped nuts, or grated chocolate.

When I took a 'Cake Bases, Creams, and Composition Class' at the San Francisco Baking Institute, this is one of the cakes we made. The chocolate cake gets its wonderful deep chocolate flavor from unsweetened cocoa powder, and you can use either natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-processed (alkalized).

One of the reasons for the cake's soft and tender texture is that the fat is in liquid form (a flavorless oil). The added benefit of using oil, instead of butter, is that it keeps the cake soft even when refrigerated. As far as the type of oil to use, you can use vegetable, canola, corn, or safflower. Buttermilk is also used in this cake batter which also contributes to the cake's tenderness. Buttermilk has a thick creamy texture with a tangy buttery taste. You can buy it or make a good substitute. Stir 1 3/4 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice into 1 3/4 cups (420 ml/grams) of whole or reduced fat milk. Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before using.

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Chocolate Sheet Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake pan. Then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined.

Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract. On low speed, add 1/3 of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until the mixture is a thick smooth paste. Add another 1/3 of the wet ingredients and mix, on low speed, until the batter is nice and smooth. At this point, scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl. Finally, add the rest of the wet ingredients and beat until incorporated and you have a smooth batter (the batter will be fairly thin).

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 27 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 - 3 minutes). Spread the frosting on the top of the cake with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. If desired, garnish the cake with chocolate or candy sprinkles, shaved chocolate, or chopped nuts.

Makes 18 - 24 servings.

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Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe:

1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar

1 3/4 cups (225 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking soda

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine kosher salt

3 large eggs (150 grams out of shell), at room temperature

1 3/4 cups (420 ml/grams) buttermilk, at room temperature

1/2 cup (120 ml/grams) corn, vegetable, safflower or canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:

4 1/2 ounces (130 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (180 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

Garnish: (optional)

Chopped nuts, chocolate sprinkles, candy sprinkles, or shaved chocolate

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