I’m a teacher. It’s one of those kinds of jobs where word travels fast. Especially word regarding any kind of dessert sitting in the front office for everyone to share. And even more especially, word of sheet cake. OMG there is sheet cake sitting in the front office. I’m just as guilty as my co-workers of relentlessly spreading dessert gossip. “Mary, there’s sheet cake in the front office. I’ll bring forks, you let everyone else know.” Telephone, telegraph, tell a teacher. But I’m also sometimes guilty of hiding such gossip. “OMG there’s sheet cake in the front office. What if everyone else eats it before I get there? I better not tell anyone. Yet.”
Sheet cake. I love sheet cake. I really love it, with an embarrassing exuberance.
So the other day, when I was perusing a cookbook that my in-laws gave to me (I don’t think they were trying to tell me anything, really. “She’s nice enough, but R has been looking peaked lately. Maybe she’s not feeding him.” No, I don’t think that’s what was going on. Note to self: Ask R to really gush about me the next time he sees them.) and I found a recipe for Tiny Texas Sheet Cakes, I nearly died. It combines my two favorite things. No, not Texas and sheet cake, but tiny and sheet cake. I love tiny desserts. I love sheet cake. Wow.
The original recipe was for two tiny sheet cakes, but I cut it down to only make one. And, get this, I made it in the TOASTER OVEN! The exciting new toaster oven that I bought at the Family Thrift Store for a mere $3.68. A deal, right? My life is going to be very, very changed by these, the toaster oven and the recipe. I can feel it. The cut-down version of the recipe makes enough batter to fill one mini loaf pan. I used one of those foil ones that I had hanging around from forever ago, when I literally could NOT STOP making pumpkin bread. But right after I put it in the oven, I realized that one of my vintage Pyrex dishes would work just as well and would be, well, cuter. Can you imagine? A tiny sheet cake baked in a vintage Pyrex dish? Swoon!
The end result is just enough for two people, or one person who REALLY LOVES SHEET CAKE. Because I want R to say nice things about me to his parents, I shared mine with him.
Tiny Chocolate Sheet Cake (adapted from The Taste of Home Cookbook)
2 Tbs butter, cubed
2 Tbs water
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (I thought this was a strange ingredient at first, but I loved the result)
Dash of salt
1 Tbs beaten egg
1 Tbs milk (not having any regular milk, I used almond milk)
Frosting (I diverged a lot here from the original recipe, due to icing consistency issues and the fact that the original called for cocoa powder, but I just wanted vanilla icing)
1 Tbs butter
3 tsp milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven (or toaster oven!) to 350. Butter and flour a mini loaf pan (approx 5 x 3 x 2).
In a saucepan, bring butter, water, and cocoa to a boil. Immediately remove from heat. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add butter mixture to dry ingredients, then add egg and milk. Mix well.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
To make icing, melt butter and add milk. Whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla.
Ice cakes, and decorate, if desired. Share with a loved one, or secretly hoard the entire thing.