New Castle News

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August 18, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Chocolate or white, both are a delight

NEW CASTLE — Sometimes the names of recipes are misleading. Or confusing. I never understood why a certain dessert was called Texas Sheet cake.

After pondering for a little while, I came to the conclusion that maybe the name comes from the fact that the state is enormous and the cake is larger than the standard one-layer variety. It does serve a lot of people and is great for those larger get-togethers.

Following some online research, I discovered that the origin is still hazy, but concurs somewhat with my conclusion and the title could stem from its popularity within the state.

Apparently in Texas, it’s a mainstay at barbecues, potluck dinners, birthday parties, picnics, bake sales or any event in which a portable sweet that can feed a lot of people, is needed.

There has been speculation that a long time ago, a Texan sugar or flour company printed a sheet-cake recipe on a package and added the word “Texas” to make it more appealing. However, that statement has never been proven as actually true.

My family, including aunts and cousins, was obsessed with Texas sheet cake back in the 1980s and ‘90s. For nearly every family event, there was at least one Texas sheet cake on the goodies table.

In a clan of chocoholics, the cake always produced smiles — except for one cousin, who for whatever reason, doesn’t like chocolate. I still find it mind boggling that such a fact is even possible but she decided at a certain point, we should include an Alaskan sheet cake. It’s the same concept with white cake, and both use sour cream. I actually liked it a lot.

I hadn’t thought about either cake in quite some time — mainly because I haven’t had to make desserts for any large gatherings.

But I was reminded about them when a friend wrote in to say she has recently been on a sweet kick and made the Texas sheet cake recipe included today four times until she used up all the sour cream.

Then she had to purchase more sour cream in order to make the white version.

“Either one is so moist and so delicious that you cannot quit eating it until it is all gone,” she said. “The nuts enhance the flavor buds.”

Today’s contributor also had lost the recipe for a long time but following a conversation with a co-worker, discovered it again.

“I am hooked on it.”

I’m still trying to work around everybody’s busy summer events to schedule a party on the back deck.

And it’s almost a given one of these two — if not both — will be the stars of the show.

What are your favorite cakes for serving guests or at family reunions? Share them here.

White Texas Sheet Cake

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