Sheet cake. Simple, honest and ‘un-flopable’. Not surprisingly, this Milk-soak chocolate sheet cake is one the 5 most requested cakes in the Bibbykitchen. Coming a close second is this Luxe chocolate cake, which clearly requires more commitment and so only gets made for really special celebrations. This sheet cake however, is the kind of chocolate cake where things can get a little out of control. Let’s take a moment. It starts off as a basic chocolate sheet cake but then comes the sweetened-milk soaking syrup, gang chocolate ganache frosting toasty hazelnuts. Think of it as a Mexican milk cake but hit with the serious chocolate stick.
Sheet cakes are a doddle to make and clearly don’t require deft icing or piping skills. The only skill you will need is some crafty knife work, where cutting yourself a decent enough wedge to save you coming back for more, is all you’ll need. Life-changing deliciousness, I tell you.
Sheet cakes are just about the easiest way to feed a crowd. They also travel well which makes them a handy dessert to take along for those bring and share gatherings. Think uncles, aunts, distant cousins removed and so on, not forgetting hungry people, teenagers and cake lovers. Finicky details are out the window and it’s all about taste.
The sponge is light and airy, but once soaked with the milky syrup, becomes rich and sticky. No dry anything here. For the ganache frosting I’ve used a combination of milk and 70% dark chocolate. The milk chocolate is for sweetness and the dark, for notes of deeply roasted cocoa beans. To give the frosting a glossy sheen, I add liquid glucose, but you can substitute this with honey or golden syrup. As Nutella knows, chocolate and hazelnuts were made for each other, so we’ll tag along and finish this best milk-soaked chocolate sheet cake with a scattering of the same. #bestmilksoakchocolatesheetcakeever!
Milk-soaked chocolate sheet cake
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 2/3 cup (160ml) flavourless vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup castor sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (230g) all-purpose or cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- generous pinch of salt
- 400g tin evaporated (Ideal) milk
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 200g milk chocolate
- 200 dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 1/3 cup (80ml) cream
- 1 tablespoon liquid glucose or honey
- 100g toasted hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line and grease a 32 x 22cm rectangular baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa and boiling water to form a thin, smooth paste.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla and castor sugar. Add the cocoa paste to the egg mixture and beat until combined.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well combined. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until cooked through. Always check for doneness before removing the cake from the oven.
- While the cake is baking, make the milk soak sauce. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring up to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes and then set aside. Ladle the hot milk syrup over the cake. Set aside to cool.
- To make the chocolate ganache frosting, melt the milk and dark chocolate, cream and glucose together in a heat-proof bowl. I usually do this in the microwave. Whisk until smooth. Spread over the cooled cake and top with toasted hazelnuts.