Somehow, Texas claimed the sheet cake as its own in the mid-20th century, perhaps because of the pecans, an ingredient that grows in abundance throughout the Lone Star State. The defining element is its shape--and, of course, the icing, which has to be heated and poured on the warm, just-out-of-the-oven cake. The result is a rich, chocolaty treat that's iconic in Texas.
1 1/2 cups spicy, fruity cola soft drink (such as Dr Pepper)
Preheat oven to 350°. Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often. Remove from heat.
Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add soft drink mixture, and whisk until blended. Whisk in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour batter into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 17 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Bake at 350° for 18 to 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Prepare Fudge Icing, and pour over warm cake. Sprinkle with pecans. Cool completely in pan (about 1 hour).
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