All-Time Favorite Sheet Cakes & Slab Pies: Easy to Make, Easy to Serve

All-Time Favorite Sheet Cakes & Slab Pies: Easy to Make, Easy to Serve

by Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough

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Overview

Sheet cakes and slab pies have long been a staple at holidays, family reunions, and potlucks everywhere. Now authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are reinventing these American originals with their new book All-Time Favorite Sheet Cakes & Slab Pies. And why not? Slab pies are the perfect flavor trifecta of flaky crust, jammy filling, and crumbly topping, while sheet cakes ensure that every bite of cake has a thick layer of frosting—satisfying even the most voracious sweet-tooth. Best of all, these delightful sweets are simple to make and can serve a crowd with ease.

Whether you're looking for a timeless classic like Blueberry Buckle or craving something simply indulgent like the Bacon-Peanut Butter Cake with Maple Buttercream, with over 100 recipes inside you’ll find the perfect dessert for every occasion. In addition to the cakes and pies there are also recipes for cheesecakes, Danish, coffee cakes, and more. With some simple ingredients and a trusty sheet pan, you'll soon be whipping up scrumptious pies and cakes—all of them easy to make, fun to serve, and wonderful to eat.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250117588
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/24/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 230,347
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

BRUCE WEINSTEIN and MARK SCARBROUGH have written a shelf of cookbooks together. They also write a column called "Sundays in the Kitchen with Bruce and Mark" on weightwatchers.com, have an award-winning food related pod-cast, and contribute to many of the big food magazines. They are the authors of A La Mode, Turbo Blender Baking, and All-Time Favorite Sheet Cakes & Slab Pies.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

CLASSIC SHEET CAKES

Mostly Chocolate

A lot of people know about the Texas sheet cake: a chocolate cake, usually with a fudgy frosting, sometimes studded with pecans. It's terrific, no doubt. But there's so much more! Here are our chocolate concoctions to match that popular favorite as well as lots of classics like rich vanilla cakes, buttermilk cakes, and even a few surprises like a sheet cake version of jam thumbprint cookies.

The Crumb

It means the way the cake's structure manifests, not on the plate, but on the fork. It means the cake breaks into tidbits, like airy morsels. They should be neither so damp that they glom together nor so dry that they shard apart. They should be moist enough to have some give when gently pressed (the crumb's "elasticity"). With the exceptions of sponge cakes and a few cookie-cake hybrids, a particularly satisfying and dense crumb only happens when you beat the various ingredients in the proper way. Here's how.

Beat the cool butter and sugar together for a long while. Only cool butter can trap enough air to build a proper structure. Take it out of the fridge, then gather the other ingredients together. By the time you're ready, it'll be about 50°F, perfect for these batters. And truth be told, you almost can't overdo beating it with the sugar. Don't walk the dog, but keep the machine running until the mixture in the bowl is luxurious, almost fluffy. You want to incorporate lots of air.

Once you add the flour, ease up considerably and beat the mixture as little as possible (unless otherwise indicated). If you stretch the glutens, you'll end up with a tough cake. Only get the flour evenly moistened and uniformly distributed; the batter may still be a tad grainy.

We sometimes call for an admittedly unusual technique. Old-school recipes often ask you to beat in the flour and a liquid (like milk) in alternating amounts — say, a third of the flour, then half the milk, then half the remaining flour, and so on. In many of our recipes, we've nixed this folderol: Turn off the mixer, pour the flour mixture evenly over what's in the bowl, then beat at low speed while you pour in the liquid in a slow, steady stream. We found we got airier, lighter sheet cakes with this nonstandard method.

What Goes on Top of That Crumb

Here's what's what. A glaze is a thin, often translucent syrup poured over the top of the cake. In most cases, it is not spreadable — or certainly not for very long as it begins to cool. Work quickly with the courage of your convictions.

A frosting, by contrast, is spreadable, even moundable. There's an old distinction between icings and frostings: the former are made with milk; the latter, with butter. We have simply called many of the spreadable, moundable concoctions "frostings." They are often made with cream cheese, butter, shortening, or some combination thereof.

Then there are the buttercreams. In essence, there are two types. An American buttercream is made with confectioners' sugar and butter, usually with an added flavor. It's a sturdy, fairly simple affair. We sometimes make a nonstandard variation, replacing some of the butter with cream cheese because we like the snap it brings to the dessert.

A French buttercream is a more elaborate confection: egg yolks are beaten first with a cooked sugar syrup until cool, and then with lots and lots of butter. We'll offer you tips and tricks when you get to these. They're temperamental. Take care.

Still Want a Layer Cake?

Use a 3- to 4-inch cookie or biscuit cutter to cut the cooled cake into small rounds. Or use a nonstick-safe knife to cut the cake into small squares (or even more elaborate shapes) right in the pan. Gently lift these out and stack them on top of each other, frosting a little between the layers and then all over the tops and sides to create individual three- or four-tier layer cakes.

Finally ...

Buy a box of toothpicks. You're going to need them. Or even splurge for a metal cake tester. Timing is a mere suggestion in baking. Always go by the visual cues: a few moist crumbs on the toothpick or tester, for example. A great cake deserves the best care.

CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM AND PRETZELS

Never make our basic chocolate sheet cake when you're home alone! It's irresistible: topped with salty pretzels, laced with caramel sauce, set over a superrich buttercream made with caramel sauce, with a light, almost delicate chocolate cake underneath. It's as if a fine, fancy layer cake batter morphed into a big ol' sheet cake that will stand up to the incredible caramel/chocolate/pretzel fandango on top.

For the cake

19 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons) cool unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, plus additional for the sheet pan
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and lightly flour the inside of a 13 n 18-inch lipped sheet pan.

2. Whisk the cocoa powder into the water in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until uniform.

3. Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars in a large bowl at medium speed until light, velvety, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the egg white. Scrape down the inside of the bowl, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth and uniform.

4. With the mixer at low speed, beat in half the flour mixture. Pour in half the cocoa mixture and beat until smooth. Now beat in the remaining flour mixture, followed by the rest of the cocoa mixture. Make sure there are no dry specks of flour down at the bottom of the bowl, then use an offset spatula to spread the thick batter evenly into the prepared pan.

5. Bake until set and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

For the buttercream

19 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1. Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and ¾ cup of the caramel sauce in a clean, dry large bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla.

2. With the mixer at low speed, beat in 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in 1 additional cup until smooth. Continue beating, adding more confectioners' sugar in ¼-cup increments, until the frosting is smooth and spreadable but thick enough to hold its shape on the side of a spatula. Using an offset spatula, spread and smooth the frosting over the cooled cake. Set aside at room temperature to firm up, about 20 minutes.

3. To serve, sprinkle the top of the cake with the crushed pretzels, then drizzle with the remaining ½ cup caramel sauce.

TESTER NOTES

Choose a jarred caramel sauce without a lot of chemical flavor enhancements. Better yet, look for a jarred butterscotch caramel sauce, like an ice cream topping.

ONE-BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE-COCONUT BUTTERCREAM

Don't let the simplicity fool you! This is one seriously moist and fudgy cake. True, there's no mixer involved, even for the frosting. But you will have to apply some elbow grease to that whisk. The frosting is a fairly standard American buttercream, just a sweetened, buttery confection, given a little grainy texture with the shredded coconut. Together, the results are dense and chewy, a great last-minute sheet cake when you don't have time for fancier fare.

For the cake

1½ cups canola or vegetable oil, plus additional for the sheet pan
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil the inside of a 13 × 18-inch lipped sheet pan.

2. Whisk the sugar and oil in a large bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the eggs until well combined, then whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla.

3. Whisk in the cocoa powder until uniform, then whisk in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt all at once until there are no undissolved bits of flour in the still-grainy batter. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

4. Bake until firm and set, and until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack until room temperature, about 1½ hours.

For the buttercream

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1. Whisk the melted butter and coconut in a clean, dry, large bowl; then whisk in the cocoa powder until uniform.

2. Whisk in the milk and vanilla until smooth, then add 3 cups of the confectioners' sugar. Whisk until incorporated, adding more confectioners' sugar in 2-tablespoon increments until the frosting is thick and spreadable. Using an offset spatula, spread and smooth the frosting over the cooled cake.

TESTER NOTES

Use only powdery unsweetened shredded coconut for the right consistency in the frosting. If you have unsweetened coconut flakes, process about 1½ cups in the food processor until they're the consistency of powdered laundry detergent.

CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE WITH PECANCARAMEL FROSTING

This one's actually a white cake with chocolate chips, fairly straightforward all 'round, with a little brown sugar and buttermilk to give it an unexpected depth of flavor. The frosting is superthick and sweet. Follow the instructions carefully. It's sort of like a layer of candy on top of the cake, a coconut-free riff on the stuff used between the layers of a traditional German chocolate cake.

For the cake

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cool unsalted butter, cut into small chunks,
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and lightly flour the inside of a 13 × 18-inch lipped sheet pan.

2. Whisk 3 cups of the flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until uniform. Toss the remaining ½ cup flour with the chocolate chips in a small bowl.

3. Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars in a large bowl at medium speed until creamy, light, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the egg yolks one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

4. Turn off the mixer and pour the flour mixture evenly on top of the batter. Beat at low speed while slowly pouring in the buttermilk; continue beating until there are no bits of dry flour in the batter.

5. Scrape down and remove the beaters or paddle. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the coated chocolate chips and any residual flour in the bowl until well distributed. Using an offset spatula, scrape and spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

6. Bake until firm and set, and until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack until room temperature, about 2 hours.

For the frosting

2 ¼ cups granulated white sugar
1. Whisk the sugar, butter, evaporated milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until the butter melts. Continue cooking, whisking frequently, until bubbling. Then continue cooking, whisking nonstop, until thick and lightly caramel colored, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the pecan pieces and set aside for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until somewhat cool but still spreadable. Mound the mixture down the center of the cooled cake, then use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer.

TESTER NOTES

Cool the frosting just until it won't singe the cake. But take care: if it gets too cool, you won't be able to spread it.

BROWNIE CAKE WITH DARK CHOCOLATE GLAZE

This sheet cake's got more butter and chocolate than we've ever used in a single recipe. (After developing over ten thousand recipes, that's saying something!) The whole thing's an absurd extravagance, designed almost to collapse under its own weight. The results are like a giant, dense, chewy brownie with a rich chocolate glaze. We felt a traditional frosting just went too far (although you may disagree and can search among other frostings in this book for one that suits your taste). We added pecans as a topping, if only to cut the richness.

For the cake

44 tablespoons (5½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, plus additional for the sheet pan
1. Put the butter and both kinds of chocolate in a large saucepan set over very low heat. Stir until about three-quarters melted, then turn the heat off and continue stirring until smooth. Set the pan off the element or burner and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

2. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and lightly flour the inside of a 13 × 18-inch lipped sheet pan.

3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until uniform.

4. Scrape the cooled chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat in the eggs at medium speed one at a time.

5. Beat in the egg white and vanilla until smooth. Then beat in both sugars until very luxurious and uniform, about 3 minutes.

6. Stop the mixer, scrape down the inside of the bowl, and add the flour mixture. Beat at very low speed just until there's no dry flour in the bowl, particularly at the bottom. Using an offset spatula, spread the thick batter evenly into the prepared pan.

7. Bake until set to the touch and slightly puffed, and until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

For the glaze

9 tablespoons water
1. Bring the water and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium heat, stirring several times at the beginning. Boil for 1 minute undisturbed. Remove from the heat.

2. Put the chocolate in a large heat-safe bowl; pour the hot sugar syrup on top. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Stir in 3 cups of the confectioners' sugar until dissolved, then stir in another ¼ cup. Keep stirring in more confectioners' sugar in 2-tablespoon increments until you have a thick, dark, spreadable glaze, not a frosting. Cool for 5 minutes, then use an offset spatula to spread and smooth this glaze over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the top with chopped pecans before serving.

TESTER NOTES

For more flavor, toast the pecan pieces or halves on a large sheet pan in a 300°F oven for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned and aromatic. Cool to room temperature before chopping and using.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "All-Time Favorite Sheet Cakes & Slab Pies"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chocolate Sheet Cakes and Other Classics

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream and Pretzels 15

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Coconut Buttercream 16

Chocolate Chip Cake with Pecan-Caramel Frosting 19

Brownie Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze 20

Boston Cream Cake 23

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Marshmallow Frosting 24

Co’-Cola Cake with Maraschino Cherry Frosting 27

Chocolate Double-Malted Cake 28

Chocolate–Peanut Butter Cake with Gluten-Free Fudgy Cake with Vegan Chocolate Frosting 31

Vanilla Cake with Confetti Frosting 32

Chocolate Whipped Cream 34

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Blackberry–Sour Cream Frosting 36

Buttermilk Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting 37

M&M White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and GORP 38

Bacon–Peanut Butter Cake with Maple Buttercream 40

Scottish Oat Cake with Sour Cream Frosting 42

Jam Thumbprint Cake 45

Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream 47

Snickerdoodle Cake with Spiced Buttercream 48

Brown Sugar Cake with Pumpkin Buttercream 50

Fruit and Nut Sheet Cakes

Blueberry Buckle 57

Strawberry Shortcake 58

Apple Cake with Toasted Walnuts 61

Lemonade Cake with Lemon Curd Whipped Cream 62

Orange Cake with Marmalade Buttercream 64

Pineapple Cake with Banana Buttercream 66

Coconut Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream 69

Banana Cake with Cocoa Buttercream 70

Fig and Date Cake with Coffee Buttercream 73

Gluten-Free Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Caramel Glaze 74

Lemon Ricotta Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries 76

Pecan Cake with Caramel-Coconut Frosting 78

Macaroon Cake with Raspberry Buttercream 81

Pine Nut Cake with Lemon Buttercream 82

Almond-Cornmeal Cake with Orange Glaze 85

Spiced Walnut Cake 86

Hazelnut Cake with Vanilla French Buttercream 88

Coffee Cakes and Cheesecakes

Cranberry-Orange Coffee Cake with Ginger Crunch 95

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Crumble 96

Banana–Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake with Coconut Crumble 97

Gluten-Free Banana Coffee Cake with Coconut Meringue 99

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake with Almond-Butter Crunch 100

Cinnamon Roll Cake 103

Classic Cheesecake 105

Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cheesecake 106

No-Bake Cherry-Chocolate Cheesecake 107

Raspberry-Glazed Cheesecake with an Oreo Crust 108

Chocolate–Chocolate Chip Cheesecake 111

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Lemon Glaze 112

Banana Pudding Cheesecake 113

Key Lime Cheesecake with Oat Crumble 115

Pear and Ginger Cheesecake 116

Three Simple Crusts: Graham Cracker Crust, Vanilla Cookie Crust, Animal Cracker Crust 116

Classic Slab Pies

The Giant Jam Slab 123

The Giant Fig Slab 124

Spiced Peach Pie with Amaretti Crunch 126

Apple Pie with Gingerbread Crumble 128

Apple-Cranberry Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble 129

Cherry Pie with Pecan Crunch 130

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie 132

Strawberry Pie with Peanut Butter Crumble 133

Strawberries and Cream Pie with Honey Crumble 135

Blueberry-Orange Pie 137

Mixed-Berry Pie 138

Nectarine-Blueberry Pie with Walnut Crunch 139

Pear Pie with Bread-Crumb Crunch 140

Raspberry-Almond Cobbler Pie 142

Lemon Buttermilk Pie 143

Three Pie Crusts: Shortening-Butter Crust, All-Butter Crust, Sour Cream Crust 144

Lemon Meringue Pie 145

Three Pie Crusts: Shortening-Butter Crust, All-Butter Crust, Sour Cream Crust 144

Chocolate Slab Pies and Other Favorites

French Silk Chocolate Pie 155

Chocolate Walnut Pie 156

Chocolate Custard Pie 157

Run for the Roses Pie 158

Chocolate and Coffee Icebox Pie 160

Jack and Coke Fudge Pie 161

Browned Butter Chess Pie 163

Coconut Custard Pie 164

Burnt Sugar Pie 165

Coffee Cream Icebox Pie 167

Buttered Rum Icebox Pie 168

Pumpkin Crunch Pie 171

Sweet Potato Pie 172

Brandied Date and Pecan Pie 174

Holiday Dried Fruit Pie 176

Sheet Strudel, Danish, Shortbread, and More

Apple Strudel 183

Peach Melba Turnover 184

Rice Pudding Pie 185

Midwestern Slab Pudding 187

New England Cranberry Pie 189

Almond-Hazelnut Dacquoise with Chocolate French Buttercream 191

Coconut Shortbread with Coconut Lime Curd 192

Cherry-Almond Danish 194

Chocolate and Goat Cheese Danish 196

Cheese Danish 197

Almond Phyllo Rolls 199

Spiced Pistachio Phyllo Cake 200

Galaktoboureko 201

Acknowledgments 203

Index 205

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