Marble Sheet Cake with Mocha Icing
Adapted from Southern Living http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-marble-sheet-cake
Yesterday was my husband, Jon’s, birthday and my sons and I decided to surprise him by making him his favorite birthday cake: marble sheet cake with chocolate frosting. For so many years we would always order it from a grocery store or Costco. And they were pretty good. One of the best sheet cakes was from Hanley’s, a bakery that was in West Roxbury, Massachusetts that is sadly long gone. They also had the absolute best half moons in the world and I have searched the internet for the recipe. Sadly, it has become my White Whale (along with the hot and sour soup recipe from Chef Chang’s, which is also long gone).
So I thought this year we would be adventurous and make a cake from scratch. This was my first time making a homemade sheet cake and I have to admit that I was reluctant because, honestly, I didn’t want it to suck. When I was shopping for the ingredients I stopped by the boxed cake mix and frosting in a can aisle a couple of times and was tempted to just go that route.
But I’m so glad that I didn’t. Baking with my boys and knowing we were creating something special for Jon was a great feeling. And watching my sons decorate the cake together put a huge smile on my face.
We were all smiles when we surprised Jon with his cake. It came out so beautifully and it tasted delicious. Especially the icing. The icing reminded us a little of the chocolate side of Hanley’s half moons and that is always a good thing.
The cake itself was really flavorful, but I wish I took it out of the oven a little sooner. I baked it for 28 minutes and I should have taken it out five minutes before that. It was still good and it’s something to remember for next time. Because there definitely will be a next time.
This will be the 27th time in my life that I’ve wished Jon a happy birthday and celebrated with him. It’s kind of hard to believe when I put it that way. That’s a lot of years – and I know that we will be celebrating many more of his birthdays together.
After spending nearly half my life with Jon there are some moments in those years that don’t feel quite so celebratory. I’ve learned from being married for over twenty-two years that not every day is going to be a good day. We have definitely had our share of ups and downs. We’re always happy to celebrate the ups of course, but it’s the downs that are the true test. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m glad that we love and respect each other so much that we work on picking ourselves up, learning from our mistakes, and encouraging each other to be better. There are moments that are harder than others, but at the end of the day I cannot picture my life without Jon.
He makes me incredibly happy and is my biggest supporter. You might not be reading this if it wasn’t for his encouragement to start The Tasty Page. He has taught me so much about strength, perseverance, picking yourself up when you’ve been kicked down and coming out stronger from it, how to be humble, and how to forgive.
Happy Birthday, Jon!
Now, let’s have another slice of cake!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. half-and-half
- Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer 4 to 5 minutes or until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with half-and-half, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape bowl as needed.
- Spoon 1 1/4 cups batter into a 2-qt. bowl, and stir in cocoa, 3 Tbsp. hot water, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until well blended.
- Spread remaining vanilla batter into a greased and floured 15- x 10-inch sheet pan. Spoon chocolate batter onto vanilla batter in pan; gently swirl with a knife or small spatula.
- Bake at 325° for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Spread top of cake with Mocha Frosting.
- Whisk together sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl.
- In a small measuring cup, combine coffee and vanilla.
- Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar mixture alternately with coffee mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Beat in half-and-half, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until smooth and mixture has reached desired consistency.