My Texas Sheet Cake is the stuff sweet dreams are made of – a thick, fudgy icing fused to the top of a moist cake masterpiece. You’ll be doing the two-step after just one bite of this quick but oh, so rich dessert.

A slice of Texas Sheet Cake on a blue plate

This ain’t your average sheet cake, y’all. It’s like a brownie . . . but better! A Texas chocolate sheet cake is thin – barely the height of its fudgy cousin (some even call this cake Texas Sheet Cake brownies), but it packs all the punch of a serious slice of chocolate cake.

And the best part? The recipe for Texas Sheet Cake is super simple! The ingredients for it are all likely lurking in your pantry right now, and I wouldn’t blame you at all if you skipped right to the recipe at this point! LOL!

We’re not sure who to thank for creating the very first Texas Sheet Cake. Maybe it was someone who actually lived in the Lone Star State or maybe someone just dreaming of bluebonnets and brisket.

WHY IS TEXAS SHEET CAKE CALLED TEXAS SHEET CAKE?

Though we can’t pinpoint the original Texas Sheet Cake recipe, its name likely comes from the cake’s enormous size. It also typically includes buttermilk and pecans, two Texas favorites, and some would argue it has just as much oil in it!

“Sheet cake” is a bakers’ term used simply to describe a flat, rectangle-shaped cake. They come in full, half, and quarter sizes, so they’re easily adjustable to fit the size of the crowd you’re serving. Like most cakes, sheet cakes are frosted and provide a simple way to serve a lot of people without the fussy cutting required for a round, layered cake.

Texas Sheet Cake batter poured into the sheet pan

HOW MANY SERVINGS ARE IN A FULL SHEET CAKE?

A full sheet cake serves approximately 70 to 80 people, with a half sheet cake serving 35 to 40. A full Texas Sheet Cake is roughly the length and width of a half sheet cake, but it serves only about half as many due to the height difference.

By the way, a quarter sheet cake is roughly the size of a 9” x 13” pan, so you’ll see some recipes that are cooked in everyone’s favorite casserole dish called a “sheet cake” too (like my to-die-for Strawberry Sheet Cake). They all tower above the Texas Sheet Cake, though.

A slice of Texas Sheet Cake on a blue plate

WHAT MAKES IT A TEXAS SHEET CAKE?

The true hallmark of a Texas Sheet Cake is its short stature, but required ingredients include chocolate (though there is a white Texas Sheet Cake with no chocolate), as well as buttermilk or sour cream, lots of butter or margarine, a fudge-like icing, and usually pecans.

Some cooks believe it’s not a true Texas Sheet Cake without coconut, while others say tradition demands a Texas Sheet Cake cinnamon infused version, like a Mexican hot chocolate, with a noticeable hit of that warm spice in the cake. The truth is no one’s turning down a piece of this cake regardless of what your mama, or your mama’s mama, put in it.

Some still swear by making a Texas Sheet Cake buttermilk version (the Texas Sheet Cake Pioneer Woman makes, for example), but, like many others, my recipe swaps out the buttermilk for sour cream.

Sour cream has more fat, which means more moisture, but it still produces a light, tender crumb. It also does this without sacrificing the lovely tangy quality buttermilk brings to a cake since it has its own acidity.

So, what else is in this cake? Butter, lots of butter (unless you follow the Texas Sheet Cake Southern Living recipe which uses oil), and the basic ingredients you’d find in a chocolate cake – sugar, cocoa powder, plus flour and some leavening.

 

I do like to bump up the chocolate flavor a bit with a cup of brewed coffee too, a trick I use in some of my own, more traditional chocolate cakes. If you don’t have any brewed coffee leftover from your morning pot, you can easily make what you need for this recipe using instant coffee.

Unlike most chocolate cakes, though, there’s no need to make sure everything’s at room temperature or dirty up every dish in your kitchen. The batter comes together on the stovetop in one pot, then gets dumped into the pan for baking.

Just make sure you’ve beaten your eggs a bit before adding them to the batter. Over-mixing once the flour has been incorporated can make your cake tough, and the eggs will be hard to incorporate if they’re not mixed ahead of time.

The Texas Sheet Cake pan size is a classic jellyroll pan, roughly 10” x 15” x 1”.

You may call this a “cookie sheet” too since it usually pulls double duty in most kitchens (and it’s equally good at making Texas Sheet Cake cookies, by the way, which is a cookied-up version of this recipe). Using a thin pan means this cake will cook up super fast, so it’s a perfect option for last-minute company or potlucks, just like my sweet-and-scrumptious Caramel Apple Sheet Cake that’s cooked in the same type of pan.

A slice of Texas Sheet Cake on a blue plate with fork on the side

HOW LONG DO YOU BAKE A TEXAS SHEET CAKE?

A Texas Sheet Cake needs to bake about 20 minutes, just until the toothpick test produces a clean result. The warm icing will need to be added while the cake’s still warm too so the two can mingle where they meet in the middle.

And the icing’s just as easy to put together as the cake, all in one pot (though you may appreciate a little help from an electric mixer). The icing adds such a lovely texture to this cake – it’s like a soft fudge that’s so creamy it melts in your mouth. You can also copy other recipes like the Pioneer Woman Texas Sheet Cake and add a generous cup of pecans on top of the icing or stir them into the icing itself to add a little crunch.

The only tip for the icing is that you’ll need to work quickly so it’s still spreadable enough to coat every nook and cranny of your cake. I also like to add some instant coffee here too.

Just so you know, adding the coffee doesn’t translate to a “coffee” taste in the cake. What it does do, however, is enhance the flavor of the chocolate and boosts the chocolaty-ness. I’m thinking that’s a real word, right?

The only thing that’s left is the daunting task of waiting on the cake to cool down enough for eating (or not, if you don’t mind a chocolatey mess on your hands).

My family loves this cake – I mean, what’s NOT to love, and it’s definitely been requested as an alternative to a traditional birthday cake.

Special occasions? Check. Last-minute dessert? Yep. Something to snuggle with on the couch for a late night of binge-watching Netflix? Darn tootin’! Whether it’s from deep in the heart of Texas or some inspired kitchen far, far away, all you need to enjoy this Texas Sheet Cake is a fork and a face to stuff it in.

A slice of Texas Sheet Cake on a blue plate

RECIPE NOTES FOR TEXAS SHEET CAKE:

Time isn’t on your side – Be sure to have your icing ingredients set out and ready to go. This icing gets a thick, fudgy consistency as it cools, so you’ll need to work quickly to spread it on the cake after you’ve stirred in the confectioner’s sugar. I like to mix the sugar into the icing with a handheld electric mixer because it makes quick work of the job plus it requires less of an arm workout!

Peanut butter, anyone? – This cake is pretty customizable. You can stir some flavored chips into the cake batter – chocolate, vanilla, or peanut butter, or you can replace the cocoa powder in the icing with ½ to ¾ cup of creamy peanut butter for a Texas-sized twist on a Reese’s cup. Just keep in mind you may need to adjust the amount of milk and/or powdered sugar to get the right consistency.

A slice of Texas Sheet Cake on a blue plate
5 from 2 votes
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Texas Sheet Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 People
Author Kathleen

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Brewed Coffee
  • 5 Tablespoons Cocoa
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 2 Large Eggs Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Icing:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Cocoa
  • 2 3/4 Cups Confectioners Sugar

Instructions

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10X15 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

  2. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add coffee, and 5 teaspoons cocoa,  and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, flour, baking soda and salt and mix until smooth. Add sour cream and stir until combined, then mix in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.

  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Icing:

  1. In a large saucepan melt 1/2 cup butter. Stir in milk, cocoa, instant coffee granules and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth (I use a handheld electric mixer). 

  2. Pour icing over warm cake. Cool completely on a wire baking rack.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Originally Posted on Centsless Meals