Live cooking with Gena Bell

A classic Texas Sheet Cake is a chocolate cake smothered in chocolate pecan frosting, and if you hadn’t guessed, it’s big and bold, like you would think things are in Texas.  Most sheet cakes are baked in sheet pans of course, however using an iron-skillet seems much more rustic and gratifying.  This soft crumbed cake is slathered in fudgy frosting, that you quickly mix up in a saucepan, and top with toasted pecans.  For a homemade cake, it’s the easiest thing you can bake, that tastes this chocolaty good.  I made a short video to show how simple it is to make, and to get those mouths a waterin’, so you will bake one at home.

A suggest you watch the video a couple of times to get the gist of it, and then proceed with the written directions.  I’d call this a beginner level cake, that tastes like a pro made it because it’s rich, abundant, and lusciously good.  I guess they do, do things bigger in Texas.



2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided

3/4 cups unsalted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk


1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup half & half

1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cups pecans for topping

(Serves 12)

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, set aside.
  2. To make cake – Combine 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove and stir until smooth, set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine both sugars and eggs.  Mix on high for 4 minutes.  Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, mix on low for 1 minute, then add buttermilk and remaining chocolate chips. Mix on low for 1 minute.  Add melted butter mixture and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and smooth out on top.  Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly puffed evenly.  Toast pecans in oven.
  5. While the cake is baking make frosting.  In a small saucepan, add all frosting ingredients, except vanilla extract.  Place saucepan over medium heat until boiling and cook frosting for 4 minutes, while continuously stirring.  Pour hot frosting into a large measuring cup, or bowl with spout.  Add vanilla extract and stir, set aside. Let cool while cake continues to bake.
  6. Remove cake and let rest for 5 minutes, before pouring frosting over top.  Smooth frosting over surface with a rubber spatula or knife.  Chop pecans and sprinkle over top of cake.  Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if desired.  Enjoy!






Quick breads are the best one-bowl treat to make because you simply stir the ingredients together and bake.  Zucchini Bread is always a favorite, but this time I decided to make it with whole wheat flour and chocolate chips for a sweet and slightly earthy taste.  Here’s a video on how to prepare this Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread – Enjoy!


2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

(Makes 1 Loaf)

Many cultures have a recipe for Barbecue Pork.  In American cooking, we tend to prepare pork roasted in the oven, braised in a slow cooker or barbecued on a grill.  I enjoy pork prepared a variety of ways, but especially on the grill with a light and tangy barbecue sauce.

Apple season is definitely a fun fall tradition and nothing pairs nicer with pork, than apples.  For a unique twist, I thought I would grill the apples along side the pork with a quick sear and a brush of sauce.  The flavors are mesmerizing together because of the contrasting tastes of juicy pork and warm fruit.

This recipe is super simple to prepare and makes an easy weeknight dinner, but also great on the weekends, when you may have a little more time to stop and enjoy the outdoors, while the weather is still gorgeous.  Either way, I think you will love this recipe.  I hope the video helps guide you through the cooking process!


1 pound pork tenderloin

1 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 apples

Barbecue Sauce

½ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup ketchup

1 ½ teaspoons garlic chili sauce

pinch of salt & pepper

(Serves 4)

To Prepare:

  1. Mix the dry herb ingredients into a small bowl and sprinkle over the pork loin. Let rest while making the barbecue sauce.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add all the barbecue sauce ingredients. Heat for 4 minutes, while occasionally stirring.  Remove from heat.
  3. Heat grill to 400 degrees.
  4. Place pork Tenderloin on the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Flip over and baste with the BBQ sauce and cook for another 10 minutes.  Baste with the sauce 2 more times or until the thermometer reads 140 degrees.  Grill the apples for 4 minutes, turning once.  Baste apples with barbecue sauce.
  5. Remove pork and apples from the grill and let rest for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Slice pork and serve with grilled apples. Enjoy!


I’m not ready to let summer go just yet, so I thought I would create one last seasonal dessert including strawberries.  Strawberries have been super sweet this season and they are still readily available in most markets, so here is a delicious recipe for Strawberry Shortcake.  I created a 1 minute video to go with the recipe to make it easier to bake along with me.  Click on the Continue Reading Link below to view the video and enjoy your Strawberry Shortcake!


2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, diced
1 cup heavy cream
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Whipped Cream
1 ½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(Serves 6-8)
To Prepare:
1. Preheat the oven 375 degrees. In a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low for 30 seconds.
2. Add the diced butter and mix on low for 1 minute.
3. Then, add the heavy cream and mix on low, just until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.
4. Remove the bowl and dump the dough out. Form into a round disc and cut into wedges, about 8.
5. Place the wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden on top. Remove and cool.
7. Hull and slice the strawberries into quarters and place them in a bowl with the sugar and lemon juice.
8. Macerate or slightly mash the berries, until juicy.
9. In a stand mixer, whip cream until frothy and then, add powdered sugar and vanilla.
10. Whip again until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.
11. Assemble shortcakes, by slicing each cake in half and placing a large spoonful of berries and a dollop of whipped cream on one half. Place the other half on top. Enjoy!

Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Corn Puree and Roasted Tomatoes


Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Grilled Stripe Bass with Chimichurri

Salmon in Phyllo with Ratatouille

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

Arugula Stuffed Tomatoes

Flank Steak with Fresh Herbs and Lime

Grilled Caesar Salad