I am so in love with sheet cake.
The problem with layer cakes is that beauty often takes the place of function. They have to be gorgeous, so we pile on way too much frosting or fondant and then decorate the whole shebang. A sheet cake, however, is the perfect ratio of cake to frosting (or in this case, icing). The cake is the star, not its good looks.
And it definitely doesn’t hurt that this one is topped with chopped Thin Mints. America’s favorite Girl Scout cookie is ready for her moment in the sun!
When I was a kid, sheet cakes meant birthdays. My mom is not the most enthusiastic baker, so she would take a Duncan Hines cake mix (the brand is known as “Uncle Duncan” in my family), put it into a sheet cake pan, and cover it with ready-made frosting. She also bought those sugar letters you get in the cake aisle and put them on our cakes.
I loved it. While the grown-up me tends to make fancy layer cakes for birthdays, I’ve never lost that soft spot for a sheet cake in a pan. They’re simplicity itself.
The problem with a chocolate cake is that it’s simply too addictive. I like to put the cake in the fridge once it cools and then once it’s chilled, everyone attacks it. Open season on cake! Did you ever see that Sex and the City episode where Miranda bakes a chocolate cake? She spends the entire episode eating way more of it than she wants to, and the whole thing ends with her dumping the cake in the trash and covering it with dish soap.
I always feel sad when Miranda destroys the cake, but I understand it. A layer cake is too decadent to munch on for any length of time. But you can cut sliver after sliver off a sheet cake and never get tired of it.
If you’re a regular reader here on JAB, you know that mint is not my favorite. But I can’t resist baking with Thin Mints for everyone else. They get so excited when they realize that not only is there a baked good in sight, but that it also contains one of their favorite limited-edition GS cookies.
This cake is very simple. It’s my favorite chocolate cake base (thanks, back of the Hershey cocoa container!) covered with an equally easy icing and chopped Thin Mints. I think the most labor-intensive part of this baking experience was chopping the Thin Mints. Be sure you dump even the crumbled insides of the Thin Mints on the cake, by the way. It really adds to you topping.
When all is said and done, we always come back to the desserts we loved as children. I am a sheet cake devotee and don’t plan on changing that love anytime soon. Thanks for the birthday cakes, Mommy!
2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons water, divided
1 sleeve (1/2 package) Thin Mints, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and eggs, mixing until smooth.
- Fold in the boiling water carefully.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool completely. When the cake is cool, prepare the glaze. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan with the butter and 2 tablespoons of water. When it's melted, take the pot off the heat and stir in the powdered sugar. Add the remaining tablespoons of water and stir until smooth.
- Allow the glaze to thicken for about 15 minutes. When it's a little thicker, pour the glaze over the cake. Immediately sprinkle the chopped Thin Mints on top Let the glaze set.
- Cut into squares and serve.