I know for many, their kids are already out of school. Luckies! My kids have just one more day, and we are all so excited. I can’t wait for schedule-free, unstructured summer days. I think I need it just as badly as the kids do. I know that I don’t have a job out of the house like many moms, but I feel just as stressed and pulled in so many directions. Having some care-free days with my kids is just what the self proclaimed doctor (aka me) ordered.
Last weekend we spent our Sunday getting the garden planted. So now I have a summer of weeding and (hopefully) harvesting ahead of me. Something I always look forward to. I find it extremely satisfying to harvest the vegetables and either use them directly for dinner that night, or preserve them and enjoy the fruits of my labor all winter long. I look forward to sharing some seasonal dishes with you all, as the fruits and vegetables of the summer ripen. I am slightly envious of all the people already sharing those beautiful strawberry dishes. That is one of my all-time favorite fruits to come into season. Alas, we still have at least a couple of weeks before our harvest season is upon us. In the meantime, allow me to share this super simple, but killer sheet cake.
A couple of weeks ago the family requested cake when I asked what dessert I should make for the week. I generally make cookies or bars/brownies. Anything that is easy to transport and pack in lunches. So, when they requested cake, I thought, say what? How can I pack a big ol’ piece of cake easily into a lunch box? That’s when I thought sheet cake! Light bulb! I never ever make sheet cake. Like ever. But never say never, right? Half the family wanted chocolate and the other half wanted white cake. So, I went half and half and made white cake with a thick and creamy chocolate frosting. I didn’t hear a single peep of unhappiness.
This cake is super light and fluffy. It’s the stuff of dreams here. The frosting is so chocolately and creamy, but not the kind of frosting that you either want to run laps around the house, or take a nap after eating. It’s just right. This is a really easy cake to make, and it’s perfect to slice into small squares and take with you. Or eat while hiding in the kitchen so the kids don’t see you. Wait, what? Never..! This cake barely lasted a few days in my house, and I am sure it will be a hit in yours. Break free from the sometimes overwhelming layer cake for a minute and whip this up. It’ll be your new go-to.
Recipe for the cake adapted from Lily’s Café Cookbook, Revised Edition by Kyra Alex, and frosting adapted from Everyday Annie
For the cake
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 5 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream
- To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan, knocking out excess flour. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the milk. Set aside while you mix the other ingredients. In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until light and lemon colored on medium-high speed, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk/butter mixture and the vanilla extract. Mix on medium-high for another 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, slowly add the flour to the mixture, mixing just until completely incorporated
- Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Pour in the melted chocolate and then the sour cream. Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and blended. Frost the cake immediately, as the frosting will stiffen as it sets. Sprinkle the cake with sprinkles if desired. Slice, serve or refrigerate up to 6 days.