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The Pioneer Woman showed home cooks how to make a delectable chocolate dessert. Here’s how to make Ree Drummond’s chocolate sheet cake with vanilla bean frosting.

Ree Drummond’s chocolate sheet cake with vanilla bean frosting

Ree Drummond gives a cooking demonstration on the Today show with Maria Shriver and Hoda Kotb.
Ree Drummond, Maria Shriver and Hoda Kotb | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“I think when I think of a Drummond family favorite recipe, chocolate sheet cake has to be at the top of the food chain,” says Drummond. She says she’s going to put a little bit of a spin on the regular sheet cake she’s made for years. Her chocolate sheet cake with vanilla bean frosting is a new take on an old recipe. “How amazing does that sound?” she asks her audience during The Pioneer Woman show.

Drummond starts by mixing the dry ingredients, which include two cups of flour, two cups of sugar, and a pinch of salt. “Alex, Paige, and I could all make this cake in our sleep, blindfolded,” says Drummond. “It’s just one of those things. We’ve made it so many times it’s a total no-brainer for us.”

Next, Drummond has a second mixture in a pan containing two sticks of butter, and four heaping tablespoons of cocoa. She then adds one cup of hot water. Drummond says she turns up the heat just enough so that the mixture starts to bubble. Once the mixture bubbles, she turns the heat off. Drummond lets the mix sit while she mixes the wet ingredients, which include ½ cup of buttermilk, two eggs, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and one teaspoon of baking soda.

Drummond has a little trick you can use if you don’t have buttermilk. “If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, the trick I always do is measure just a little under the amount of buttermilk you need of regular milk, and then add a splash of regular white vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes, and then you’ll have instant buttermilk,” says Drummond.

Preparing the chocolate sheet cake

Next, Drummond adds the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients. “One thing Nan taught me, and Nan’s the one that shared this recipe with me, is stir this mixture just a little bit to cool the chocolate, because otherwise you’ll scramble the eggs,” says Drummond. “And scrambled egg chocolate sheet cake does not sound good, even though there’s chocolate involved.”

After the chocolate and dry ingredients are mixed, Drummond adds the buttermilk. She advises home cooks to stir the mixture for about two minutes. Then she adds about a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Drummond says Alex jokes that she could eat the mixture with a spoon because it’s so good.

If you’re concerned about having large chocolate chunks in your cake, don’t worry. “You won’t have chunks of chocolate in the cake as much as just a little bit more chocolatey richness,” says Drummond. She then pours the mixture in a sheet pan. She reminds home cooks to push the mixture into the corners of the sheet pan so that it spreads evenly. Drummond bakes the sheet cake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Preparing the vanilla bean frosting

For the vanilla bean frosting, Drummond adds two sticks of butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla bean to a bowl. “It’s basically the caviar from one vanilla bean,” says Drummond. Using an electric mixer on a low setting, Drummond mixes the ingredients for about 30 seconds. Then she spreads the frosting on top of the sheet cake. You can find the complete ingredients list and directions here.

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