This Texas Sheet Cake Recipe is the best! Baked in a half sheet pan, it feeds a crowd and is perfect for a potluck! A large, thin cake, slightly chewy and a little dense, the perfect amount of chocolate, with a warm gooey chocolate frosting poured over the warm cake!
If you are into chocolate desserts, you won’t want to miss these chocolate lovers favorites; like Death By Chocolate Cake (easier than it looks), One Pan Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake or pretend to be all healthy with this Chocolate Zucchini Cake.
What is a Texas Sheet Cake?
Chocolate sheet cakes are not fussy. The batter comes together so quickly, it bakes in just 20 minutes, you make the frosting while it bakes and pour over the warm cake.
It’s chocolate-y, but not overly so, allowing the slight tang of the buttermilk to shine through. While it’s dense, it’s also rich and has a slight chewy factor. The easy, cooked chocolate frosting pours on while warm, then sets with a little crust that makes your taste buds scream for more.
Texas Sheet Cake Pioneer Woman
I have been making this Texas Sheet Cake recipe for years, in fact, it’s from one of my favorite cookbook authors and bloggers, the Pioneer Woman. It’s an oldie but such a goodie!
I have definitely made some tweaks to make it work for high altitude, but have no fear you sea level dwellers, I have the original amounts as well.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.
Why is it called Texas Sheet Cake?
Where’d it get its name? Legend has it, because it’s huge, like the state of Texas. Others say it’s because it’s dark and rich, like the oil that flows from the ground in Texas. Still others say it’s because it’s loaded with Texas-y ingredients like buttermilk and pecans or to the fact that the recipe is similar to one submitted to the Dallas Morning News in 1957 that subsequently swept the country. (Source)
Regardless of what you call it, Giant Chocolate Sheet Cake or Texas Sheet Cake or the “Get-in-my-mouth-now” cake — I don’t really care, but you and your loved ones will care very much when they sink their teeth into this rich, slightly chewy, chocolatey cake.
HIGH ALTITUDE AND SEA LEVEL sheet cake INGREDIENTS
- all-purpose flour | I use organic unbleached all purpose flour
- granulated sugar | I use all natural cane sugar, but you can replace it with white sugar
- light brown sugar | this is my addition, to add a bit more of a molasses taste and a bit more chewiness
- cocoa powder | use whatever kind you have, I love Rodelle’s Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
- butter | the real deal please, my mantra “If it’s soft coming out of the fridge, it’s not real butter” no oil blends
- boiling water | does a little sciencey magic thing with the cocoa
- buttermilk | No buttermilk? No problem, see my handy substitutions chart for this and many other baking ingredients substitutions.
- baking soda
- vanilla extract | I always put a little extra in and homemade vanilla is the BEST!
Cooked Chocolate Frosting Ingredients
Texas sheet cake frosting is the bomb, you don’t even need to wash your pan from the cake! Simply toss your ingredients into the same pan, melt, stir, whisk until smooth!
- butter | see above so there isn’t any gnashing of teeth happening 🙂
- cocoa powder | same kind you used in the cake
- milk| but you can also substitute half and half or heavy cream as well
- vanilla | the best flavor in the world, nothing “plain” about it!
- powdered sugar | also called confectioners sugar, the powdery white sugar!
- mini chocolate chips | optional, but they add a nice touch
- chopped pecans | optional again, my son has tree nut allergies, sadly I cannot use them, but they are yummy!
What Size Pan is used to make the Best Texas Sheet Cake?
A full sheet pan is 18″ x 26″ which is enormous and most of us don’t have ovens large enough to fit one. So technically speaking, what we are using is a half sheet pan which is 18″ x 13″, also called a baking sheet, but what I commonly use as a cookie sheet and have like four of in my kitchen.
A 10×15 inch jelly roll pan or a 9×13 baking pan will both work. You will need to adjust the baking times since both pans are smaller and will take longer for the cake to bake through. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched or there are only fine crumbs on a toothpick when inserted.
How Many Servings Does It Make?
- 13″ x 18″ baking sheet or half sheet pan and are cutting the cake into 2×2″ slices, you will have 59 slices
- 2 x 3″ slices will yield about 39 servings
- Slicing into 3 x 3″ slices you will get about 24 servings! Slice it anyway you like it!
Do I need to refrigerate my sheet cake?
If not eating within 2-3 days, then yes, I would recommend refrigerating, but be sure to cover well with plastic wrap. I have yet to have much, if any of this delectable cake leftover after a gathering. In fact, I made it for the 4th of July potluck and people came back for seconds and thirds! It’s that yummy!
- Half Sheet Pan or Baking Sheet (as mentioned above, you can also use a jelly roll pan or 9×13″ pan as well, just bake it longer)
- Mixing Bowl | This is my favorite mixing bowl, it’s great for dry goods as well as batters as it has a cover and a spout for pouring, plus handy measuring marks on the side.
- Measuring Spoons | these are my new favorites, I love that they stack and nest, love that they have a round and narrow side for easily fitting into spice bottles and they are magnetic as well!
- Silicone Spatula | I love these Tovolo silicone wood handled spatulas, sturdy wood handles, BPA free silicone, plus how cute that they have state inspired designs!
- Off Set Spatula | Ideal for spreading the batter in the pan as well as th frosting over the warm cake!
- Whisk | A solid stainless steel whisk is the best for whipping your frosting into smooth, creamy, deliciousness!
- Serving Spatula | I love this mini spatula for getting into tight fitting cake pan corners, lifting out the perfect slice of cake or brownie.
Can you Make Texas Sheet Cake Ahead of Time?
While the beauty of this cake is eating it warm from the oven, it still tastes great the next day — just be sure to cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep on the counter.
If you want to serve it warm heat your oven to 200 degrees F and pop the cake (icing and all) into the oven for about 15 minutes.
More Chocolate Dessert Recipes You Will LOVE!
- Rich Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Triple Chocolate Cake (or Death By Chocolate Cake)
- Basic Fudge Brownies with Lunch Lady Frosting
- Espresso Brownie Bites with Kahlua Buttercream
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (ultra chocolatey)
- Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake (a Nothing Bundt Cakes Copycat)
- Brownie Cookie Sandwiches with Chocolate Chip Frosting
- Chocolate Bread Pudding (make for a breakfast treat or holiday dessert)
- Milk Stout Chocolate Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting
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For the Cake
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (2 ½ cups high altitude)
- 1 cup granulated sugar | I use all natural cane sugar (2 tablespoons less for high altitude)
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed (2 tablespoons less for high altitude)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4-6 tablespoons cocoa powder (heaping if darker cake desired) regular unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch Processed Cocoa powder
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk* (see notes for buttermilk substitutions)
- 2 whole eggs, beaten (high altitude add 1 egg yolk, beaten)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 1 ¾ sticks butter
- 4-5 tablespoons cocoa powder (heaping and more for darker chocolate)
- 6 tablespoons milk (cream or half and half may be used too)
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
For the Texas Sheet Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F (375°F for high altitude).
- In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, brown sugar and salt.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter then add cocoa powder, stirring together until mixed. Add boiling water and allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then remove from heat.
- Pour over flour mixture, mixing lightly to cool.
- In a 1 cup measuring cup, pour in buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour into butter/cocoa/flour mixture, whisking until just combined and only a few lumps remain.
- Pour into sprayed half sheet pan (13 x 18") and bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes until it springs back lightly when touched. See notes for baking in different sized pans. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before pouring on frosting.
- About 10 minutes into baking time, start making the frosting.
- Using the same saucepan you made the cake batter in, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in cocoa powder to combine, remove from heat. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk stirring together until combined, then whisk until smooth.
- If desired, add pecans to the frosting directly, mixing to combine or sprinkle over the top of cake after frosting.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes on cooling rack, whisk frosting one more time, adding a bit of milk if it's too thick, it should be pourable and still warm. Pour warm frosting over warm cake, spreading with spatula until covered.
- Serve warm or room temperature with or without a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
Store leftover cake in airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. May be refrigerated up to 7 days.
*Buttermilk Substitutes | Mix one tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice into a scant 1 cup milk, stir and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before using. You may also substitute sour cream for buttermilk, or even try plain Greek yogurt.
No half sheet pan? Cake may be baked in a 13x9" or 10x15" jelly roll pan. They will need to bake longer about 23-25 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched or when toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs. Do not overbake!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 146mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 2g
The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.