Baking and stuff, Texas Chocolate Slab Cake

What to bring? What to bring? The question asked every Christmas!


We’re building up to the Christmas season here. At this time of year, we all come together to eat dinner with one another. I am blessed to have an amazing family who the Teen and I delight in spending the day with.

The food will be spectacular as everyone brings their contribution. There will be the usual amount of desserts – about 10! My cousin’s husband particularly enjoys chocolate cake. Last year, I made my Chocolate Fudge cake which kept him happy for a few days. He likes to microwave it, douse it in custard and devour! The Teen thinks that is too much effort and eats her’s unadorned.

This year, I am making a Texas Chocolate Slab Cake. Years ago, I saw my pal, Brid, make this. I never got to sample it as the cat decided that the warm cake was a perfect place to sleep as the tray lay cooling on top of the refrigerator. I left with the recipe but no idea of the taste as I declined a piece of fur covered chocolate cake.

Eventually, I tried this recipe and it wowed on a number of levels. It is a big cake – and I mean BIG! I cut it into about 15 good sized portions. It is a deceptively rich cake so it has a hint of decadence. It is a surprisingly moist cake, tasting even better the next day. And, with the different processes, I actually had time to complete the washing-up while, for example, the butter and milk mixture was melting! What a welcome occasion, to finish a cake and not have to face into a sink full of pots and bowls – Bliss!


Texas Chocolate Slab Cake


4 fluid ounces buttermilk
2 large eggs
1lb castor sugar
1lb plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter or margarine
2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or sunflower)
8 fluid ounces water
6 tablespoons cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

4 ounces unsalted butter
6 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
1lb icing sugar, sifted
8 ounces toasted pecan nuts, chopped (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees (non-fan assisted)
2. Grease a deep tin or line with baking parchment/greaseproof paper (about 9” x 12”)
3. Into a large bowl, place sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and mix together until fully combined.
4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients
5. Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together and leave aside*
6. In a saucepan, gently melt the butter, oil and water. Bring up to boiling point but do not let boil
7. Remove from the heat. Using a small whisk, mix in the cocoa powder until completely combined
8. Add in the vanilla essence
9. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly
10. Add in the milk and egg mix and stir well.
11. Pour this into the pan
12. Bake at the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes
13. When the cake is nearly ready, make the frosting as it cannot be allowed to set. (Test the cake to make sure it is nearly baked before making the icing)
14. In a saucepan, melt the butter and milk. Bring up to boiling point but do not let boil
15. Remove from heat and using a small whisk, mix in the cocoa powder until completely combined
16. Whisk in icing sugar gently to make sure there are no lumps. As it thickens, use a wooden spoon. If it thickens too quickly, return to the heat and stir continuously (gently) until it becomes less thick. If necessary, add a little milk to thin it out
17. Mix icing until it is shiny
18. Remove sponge from oven. It is cooked when pierced with a skewer and it comes away clean
19. Pierce the sponge all over
20. Quickly spread the icing all over the hot sponge, using a spatula to ensure it is evenly distributed
21. If including pecan nuts, sprinkle over the cake at this point
22. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before slicing (but it is rather decadent when still a little warm!)**
23. It is perfect to make the day before.

* A small hand-held whisk should be used. An electric whisk should not be used, especially for the hot liquids.

** If being this naughty, suggest some unsweetened whipped cream or a quenelle of vanilla ice cream.