No ranch-style barbecue or wild-game cookout is complete without this addicting chocolate-, coffee- and cinnamon-flavored cake. Every good Texas cook has their own variation on this cake, but this is one of the most popular. I added cream cheese and sour cream to the frosting to cut the sweetness a bit. I hope everyone enjoys it!

SERVES: 20 to 24

For the Sheet Cake
½ cup butter
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla extract
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t instant coffee granules
½ t salt (optional)
¾ cup pecan pieces- ( I had walnuts on hand , they were great)

For the Chocolate Cream Cheese & Cinnamon Frosting
4 cups – confectioners’ sugar
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cake 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 T sour cream
1 cup 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 t instant coffee granules
1 t ground cinnamon
½ cup pecan or walnut pieces – broken up small

Preheat an oven to 400°. Butter and flour a 9 x13 baking pan (glass if available)
To make the cake, in a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the cocoa. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and sugar. Add the cocoa mixture and, using an electric mixer or a spoon beat until well blended. Continue to beat while adding the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, instant coffee granules, and salt. When the mixture is well blended, stir in ¾ cup of the nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile for the frosting, in a bowl using an electric mixer or spoon, beat together the confectioner’s sugar, butter, cream cheese, sour cream cocoa and milk until well blended. Stir in the vanilla, instant coffee granules and cinnamon until thoroughly combined.

When the cake has cooled for 20 minutes, spread the frosting over the still warm cake. Then sprinkle the chopped up nuts over the entire cake.

Cut into small squares and serve warm or at room temperature. If you like, garnish with a dip of homemade vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream dusted with cinnamon.