I am pretty much in charge of all the baking at the restaurant. We have a few staples like creme brulee and our white chocolate bread pudding which are prepared from my husband's recipes by the kitchen staff, but anything else is up to me to make. With the restaurant opening for dinner, the number of desserts sold in a day of course has gone up. Which is great for me as I very much enjoy baking, but last Friday, at 4pm (we open at 5pm) I realized the pastry case was rather empty- and that was not something I was excited about! I was a little stressed with the transition to dinner and we already had a few reservations so I knew it was probably going to be a busy night. I had to prepare something I could from start to finish have ready in less than an hour- Yikes!! So, to my rescue came this cake.
In hindsight I should have just made some chocolate mousse or something I didn't have to bake, but in freak-out mode (yes, I freak out now and then) all that came to mind with was my very easy, tried and true, chocolate cake- this was not the time to experiment. This cake has been one of my staples for a while now, you don't even have to have a mixer to make it and I know the recipe like the back of my hand. This time, because of the time constraint I had to keep it simple, so I just iced the cake and put berries around it. Other times (when I have more than 5 minutes) I have made a strawberry or raspberry coulis to puddle underneath or made it into a layer cake and topped it with a nice ganache. Because the icing is rather sweet, berries complement the cake well and balance the sweetness out. I can attest it was very good... right after I took the photo this piece was instantly devoured! (yes, by me)
I made the cake in a 9"x 13" pan and cut it into squares, but if you prefer a layer cake use two 8" pans. Reduce the baking time to 20 minutes or until it barely pulls away from the side of the pan. I always use a mixer, as I am not the strong-muscularly type, but if you choose, you can beat it all by hand. The cake is best stored at room temperature so it doesn't dry out.
Chocolate Sheet Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 lb. unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 lb. unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Godiva liqueur (you can substitute Grand Marnier or Framboise)
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F
1. In large mixing bowl combine sugar, salt, and flour and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water, cocoa, butter, and oil to a boil. Add to the flour mixture and combine over medium speed or by hand.
3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well and pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
Icing: In a medium saucepan over low heat melt butter, cocoa and milk. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and add powdered sugar. Blend well with a whisk until sugar dissolves then add vanilla and Liqueur. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes then spread icing on top.