Southern Thanksgiving Traditions: Let Them Eat Cake!

Nov 13 2012

by Nealey Dozier

Southern Recipe Posted by Nealey Dozier.

Thanksgiving is considered by some to be the universal day of pie. Our family is no exception, with both grandmothers’ famous Chocolate Fudge and Browned Butter Pecan competing toe-to-toe for the annual seal of approval. But that was then and this is now. The day this sultry Texas beauty queen arrived in Alabama, it gave all those other pies a run for their crowns.

I personally believe nothing offers ‘thanks’ quite like a towering homemade confection: bonus points if it captures the flavors of youth in each and every bite! For my family’s youngest Turkey Day tradition, I took our beloved Texas sheet cake recipe and gave it a total “body” makeover. No longer does this once-retro dessert have to hide out at the covered dish supper in shame; now it is worthy of a bedazzled pedestal of its very own (pageant sash not included).

It’s been five years since that decadent chocolate cake first arrived on our holiday table. I have a funny feeling it will continue to show up for many more, because this cake’s beauty is more than just skin deep. And as for all those pies, maybe they’ll have better luck as leftovers…


Source: Nealey Dozier of Dixie Caviar, originally for The Kitchn
Serves: 12 to 16

For the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon Kahlua liquor (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

For the ganache
12 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the frosting
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 cup chopped pecans

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with shortening and lightly flour the pan (or use Baker’s Joy).

Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Combine butter, cocoa powder, and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sour cream, eggs, baking soda, and Kahlua and beat until smooth. Add melted chocolate to sour cream mixture and stir until combined. Lastly, add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until just combined.

Divide cake batter evenly into pans. Bake for 20 – 23 minutes, moving the pans around halfway through cooking, until cake is set. Allow cake to cool in pans for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

To ice the cake, spread 1/2 cup chocolate ganache between each cake layer (excluding the top) and spread remaining ganache on the sides of the cake. Pour chocolate frosting slowly over the top of cake, gently spreading to edges.

For the ganache: Microwave chocolate and whipping cream in a glass bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted and stir until smooth. Gradually add butter, cube by cube, whisking constantly. Cool, stirring often, until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

For the frosting: In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and milk and cook over low heat until butter is completely melted. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil (it may look separated, but that’s okay).

Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar, Kahlua, and chopped pecans. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Immediately pour the frosting over the cake while still warm.

Enjoy this southern recipe in this collection of our southern cuisine – let’s gather the best southern food ideas for The Southern Coterie cookbook.


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