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Best Ever Family Reunion Chocolate Sheet Cake

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Best Ever Family Reunion Chocolate Sheet Cake
by Libbie Summers

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup rendered leaf lard (can substitute vegetable shortening)

4 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder

1 cup water, boiling

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

Bacon Pecan Icing (recipe follows)

Bacon Pecan Icing:

yields 3 ¼ cups

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained well and finely diced

14 (1 3/4 sticks) tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

4 tablespoons high quality unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Prepare a 15 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 2 baking pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat add butter and leaf lard. Allow to melt. Whisk in cocoa and boiling water. Allow to boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and pour over flour mixture. Stir just until combined. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to cocoa mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake until set (approximately 15 minutes). Frost while warm.

Directions for Bacon Pecan Icing:

In the bowl of a standing mixer using a whisk attachment, add butter, cocoa, buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add confectioners sugar one cup at a time mixing thoroughly after each addition. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in pecans and bacon. Frost warm cake. Allow to set up for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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