I received this recipe from an old Southern cook, a copy of a copy of a typed-up sheet from long ago, annotated with her notes (which included the word oleo instead of margarine). I've never seen another chocolate cake recipe like it, which instructs the cook to heat part of the cake batter on the stove, and pour the cooked icing over a hot cake. The result is a wonderfully rich (yet surprisingly light) chocolate sheet cake topped with a cooked chocolate and pecan frosting. This cake has an incredible homemade taste, yet is foolproof! Will make you forget Duncan Hines®!

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Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Cake:
Icing:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch pan.

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  • Mix 2 cups white sugar, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl.

  • Combine water, vegetable shortening, margarine, and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour liquid into flour mixture and stir well. Return saucepan to stove and set it aside.

  • Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk in a large liquid measuring cup and stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Pour egg mixture into cake batter and mix until fully combined. Transfer batter into the prepared pan.

  • Bake the cake in preheated oven until cake springs back when touched lightly with a finger or a tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

  • While cake is baking, prepare icing using reserved saucepan. Combine confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, butter, milk, vanilla, and pecans in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Pour icing over hot cake immediately after it comes out of the oven. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cook's Note:

You may substitute walnuts for the pecans, if you prefer.

Nutrition Facts

324.8 calories; protein 2.6g 5% DV; carbohydrates 45.1g 15% DV; fat 15.9g 25% DV; cholesterol 24.3mg 8% DV; sodium 185mg 7% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (26)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/13/2013
Leave it to the south to come up with cavity sweet, but crowd pleasing desserts! This is the poster recipe for that genre. Delicious! I did change the recipe, but only to fit my pantry. Here's what I did. Instead of 1 cup water, I replaced it with a cup of strong black coffee. Then I used all butter instead of shortening and margarine. I melted the butter in the coffee with 3 ounces of bitter chocolate instead of cocoa. Next for the liquid ingredients, I substituted plain yogurt for the buttermilk. Now for the icing: I once again replaced the cocoa with 3 ounces of bitter chocolate which I melted with the butter before adding the confectioners sugar. I cut the confectioners sugar down to 3 cups and used sour cream instead of milk. Finally, I toasted the pecans and spread them on half of the warm cake. That way I could offer the non-nut (blasphemy) side to those who do not like nuts. Then poured the hot icing over all. This cake is too die for! Or at least to blow your diet for!!!! Read More
(20)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
12/21/2012
This is a fun recipe. The best part is pouring the chocolate pecan topping over the cake and watching it ooze into it. I used whole wheat flour and the cake itself was very heavy. Moist but heavy. Was it the flour? I do know that everyone liked the topping. Read More
(3)
29 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 27
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
10/26/2012
I didn't change a single thing and it was fabulous! Light & fluffy texture, with dark DARK chocolatey goodness. Sooooo Yummmmy! I no longer shall rely on boxes. This was soooo easy and sooooo gooood! It was HUGE! It fluffed up way over the 9X13 pan! Marvelous! Didn't even wait til it was cool to dig in & cake stayed high and proud. This will be my new go-to favorite choc cake! Read More
(21)
Rating: 5 stars
07/13/2013
Leave it to the south to come up with cavity sweet, but crowd pleasing desserts! This is the poster recipe for that genre. Delicious! I did change the recipe, but only to fit my pantry. Here's what I did. Instead of 1 cup water, I replaced it with a cup of strong black coffee. Then I used all butter instead of shortening and margarine. I melted the butter in the coffee with 3 ounces of bitter chocolate instead of cocoa. Next for the liquid ingredients, I substituted plain yogurt for the buttermilk. Now for the icing: I once again replaced the cocoa with 3 ounces of bitter chocolate which I melted with the butter before adding the confectioners sugar. I cut the confectioners sugar down to 3 cups and used sour cream instead of milk. Finally, I toasted the pecans and spread them on half of the warm cake. That way I could offer the non-nut (blasphemy) side to those who do not like nuts. Then poured the hot icing over all. This cake is too die for! Or at least to blow your diet for!!!! Read More
(20)
Rating: 5 stars
12/13/2013
This cake was simply fabulous. I made it for a family dinner and there wasn't a piece left and I was passing out recipes for this cake left and right. I just don't understand people who call desserts too sweet - desserts are sweet! I used real butter instead of margarine. Read More
(15)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/28/2014
Death by chocolate...mmm!! I replaced the shortening with butter because I didn't have any shortening and it was still great. Next time I will poke holes in the cake before pouring the frosting on because a lot of it went to the sides due to the cake rising in the middle. I think the frosting will be distributed more evenly that way. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
05/23/2013
I followed the direction to a tee also. We get together on Monday evenings with friends and play cards. We all take turns making some sort of snack/eats and a dessert. I brought this cake up for everyone to try and they Loved it. I also had my fair share. This cake will definitely take care of a sweet tooth! I am going to bake another for this Memorial weekend. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!! Glen. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
02/03/2017
This recipe is almost identical to a recipe that has been in my family for many years. It is easy and delicious! The only real difference is that we use a 11" x 18" jellyroll pan, and it bakes in about 15 minutes. Read More
(3)
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Rating: 3 stars
12/21/2012
This is a fun recipe. The best part is pouring the chocolate pecan topping over the cake and watching it ooze into it. I used whole wheat flour and the cake itself was very heavy. Moist but heavy. Was it the flour? I do know that everyone liked the topping. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
12/31/2015
This version requires a bit of work, but if one follows the recipe EXACTLY the result is well worth the effort. I served this cake for dessert at a dinner party, and my guests devoured it! If you grew up in the South, especially Texas, you will remember this "sheet" cake as the one served at almost every church potluck. I know some of the recipes on this site call for the addition of cinnamon to the batter, but my grandmother never added that spice to this particular cake. I might try the cinnamon version someday, but really, why mess with perfection? Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
09/23/2016
I had this recipe back in the sixties and had misplaced it. So glad to find this as no other recipe can match it. I believe my recipe called for cinnamon so I added about 1/2 t. to the cake batter. I also cut back about 1/2 cup of sugar in my cake batter. It is still delightfully sweet with that wonderful chocolate icing. (I also toast my pecans for all my deserts and desert breads. So delicious.) I served this to guests recently and they all wanted the recipe The ultimate compliment. One reviewer on this site asked if the substitution of wholewheat flour for white made it heavy and the answer is yes. This is one recipe I wouldn't make any substitutions with. Read More
(2)