I don’t make my mom’s famous Nacogdoches Cake very often. Don’t get me wrong, this sheet cake is one of my all-time favorites! But any time I thought about making it at home, I would usually talk myself out it because I was certain it would never taste as good as hers. (My mom has a secret magical power that makes everything taste better, and that power does not appear to have been passed down to me.)
But a little while ago, I decided it was high time to give this cake another try. When I was mixing it up, it occurred to me that I’d never seen Nacogdoches Cake in a bakery, or even heard anyone else talk about it other than my immediate family. It also occurred to me that I had no clue what the word “Nacogdoches” meant! So I did what any good blogger would do, and I turned to the internet. It turns out that Nacogdoches Cake is actually just another name for Texas Sheet Cake. (And here I thought I’d never had Texas Sheet Cake before!) My mom’s version of this popular sheet cake is named specifically after Nacogdoches, Texas for some inexplicable reason. Just one of those mysterious and quirky family traditions, I guess!
So how does Nacogdoches Cake differ from a REGULAR chocolate cake? The main difference between the two is that you cook the icing, then ice the cake while it is still hot. This makes for a fudge-y and tender cake that practically melts in your mouth! I don’t know if it’s a common practice, but my Mom always put chopped walnuts in her icing. I’m fine with walnuts, but I much prefer almonds, so that’s what I used here. (You could use any nut you like, though.)
All this cake talk is making me hungry! So let’s get started, shall we?
My Mom’s Nacogdoches Chocolate Sheet Cake
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup butter (or 2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter (or 1 stick)
- 4 Tbsp cocoa
- 6 Tbsp milk
- 16 oz powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Mix together the flour, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, whisk the 2 eggs and set aside.
Add the butter, shortening, cocoa powder, water, vanilla, and buttermilk to a saucepan, and place it on your stovetop over medium heat. Stir until the ingredients are all melted together, and the mixture has just started to boil.
Combine the melted mixture with the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir, then add the 2 eggs and mix until combined.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured sheet pan. Bake at 400º for 12-20 minutes. (The cook time will vary depending on the depth of your cake pan, so it’s better to just keep an eye on it.)
While cake is baking, add the butter, cocoa, and milk to a saucepan. Place on your stovetop and bring to a boil.
Turn heat down to low, then add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk or beat until the icing is very smooth, then stir in 1/2 cup of chopped, roasted almonds.
Pour the finished icing onto the hot cake.
Spread the icing quickly, but be gentle! Let cool, then cut and serve!