The Best Texas Sheet Cake

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This Texas Sheet Cake recipe has been around for at least 40+ years. I see almost the exact same recipe in old cookbooks, new cookbooks, and on Pinterest. Well, who doesn’t love chocolate cake, right? I decided to update this post so you can see how to make it for your own family to enjoy. The cake is made totally from scratch and is moist and tastes even better the next day. This makes it a perfect recipe for Sunday dinner desserts or for family reunions. In case you missed this post, Best Chocolate Cake Ever

One thing I wanted to do a few years ago was to test making the cake in a regular 9-inch by 13-inch pan, as in your favorite lasagna or cake pan. So, I started baking my Texas sheet cakes in a 9-inch by 13-inch lasagna pan that has a metal lid. It was just like the one my mom had when we would take a casserole to a church party years ago. My favorite pan.

Yes, you can still make it on a cookie sheet that is a jelly roll size that’s approximately 11-inches by 17-inches. But, a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan is hard to transport in the car. You cover it with plastic wrap or foil and the frosting never looks the same by the time you get to your party. UPDATE, I just found this awesome cake pan: Nordic Ware Cake Sheet with Lid

The Best Texas Sheet Cake

The Best Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

Ingredients – Texas Sheet Cake

  • All-Purpose Flour (I use bread flour!): All-purpose white flour has a lower protein content. Bread flour has more protein, which helps to hold the shape of the cake and adds more nutrients.
  • Sugar: Used to maintain moisture, creating a softer cake and adding sweetness and flavor.
  • Butter (the original recipe calls for margarine): Due to the fat content, butter helps to produce a softer cake and enriches the flavor; browns the cake batter while cooking. Due to the added salt in the recipe, salted or unsalted butter can be used, based on preference.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Finely ground dried cocoa solids. Adds a deep, rich chocolate flavor to the cake.
  • Water: Water helps to keep the Texas Sheet Cake moist.
  • Buttermilk: The remaining milk after the cream has been churned into butter. Helps baked goods to rise and to be light and fluffy.
  • Baking Soda: Adds carbon dioxide to the dough which helps to create a delicious soft and chewy Texas sheet cake.
  • Salt: Used to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients; helps to make the cake chewy and strengthens the protein in the cake; offsets the flavor of the sugar.
  • Large Eggs: Great source of protein, helps to bind the Texas sheet cake together, which creates a moist and soft cake. Increases browning during the cooking process. Adds a deliciously rich flavor and helps to extend the life of the cake.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds and enhances the flavors of butter, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and buttermilk.
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Ingredients – Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting

  • Butter: Due to the fat content, butter helps to produce a creamy frosting and enriches the flavor.
  • Buttermilk or Regular Milk: The remaining milk after the cream has been churned into butter. Adds creaminess and delicious flavor to the frosting.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa: Finely ground dried cocoa solids. Adds a deep, rich chocolate flavor to the frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar: Helps to create a smooth consistency; adds sweetness; preferred sugar in baked goods.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds and enhances the flavors of the butter, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and buttermilk.
  • Chopped Nuts (optional): Chop pecans, walnuts, or macadamia nuts, if desired.

Kitchen Items You May Need:

The Best Texas Sheet Cake

Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? It’s so moist and yummy, family and friends will ask you for the recipe if they don’t already have it. Just giving you a heads-up here. If you have a family reunion coming up, your family will love this recipe!

Step One – Preheat Oven, Grease Cooking Sheet, and Gather Ingredients.

Ingredients

Step Two – Boil Butter, Cocoa, and Water

Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. Bring the butter, cocoa, and water to a boil. Turn the stove off.

Cook the butter and cocoa

Step Three – Add Buttermilk, Baking Soda, Salt, Eggs, and Vanilla

Add the buttermilk, baking soda, salt, eggs, and vanilla to the pan with the boiling mixture.

World's Best Texas Sheet Cake

Step Four – Combine Flour and Sugar

Use a hand mixer to stir and combine the flour and sugar in the pan, and blend until the batter is smooth.

World's Best Texas Sheet Cake

Step Five – Pour into Greased Cooking Sheet

Scoop or pour into your greased cooking sheet.

Bring the mixture to a boil

Step Six – Spread Batter in Pan and Bake cake at 350°F = 176°C

Spread evenly in your sheet cake pan. Baking time: jelly roll pan or sheet cake pan, 20-25 minutes (when a toothpick comes out clean). Baking time: 9-inch by 13-inch pan,  35-40 minutes (when a toothpick comes out clean).

Batter in greased pan

Step Seven – Baked to Perfection!

Baked to perfection! Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack before frosting.

World's Best Texas Sheet Cake

Step Eight – Make the Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting

Make the frosting in the recipe card below. Grab a medium saucepan and melt the butter, add the cocoa and the milk. Bring to a boil. Stir or whisk constantly, and add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and nuts (optional). I make this frosting while the cake is baking and then spread it on the semi-cooled cake. The frosting tastes like fudge, oh my goodness.

World's Best Texas Sheet Cake

Finish Product

World's Best Texas Sheet Cake

The Best Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

5 from 8 votes
World's Best Texas Sheet Cake
The Best Texas Sheet Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Author: Linda Loosli
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour (I use bread flour)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter (the original recipe calls for margarine)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 5 tablespoons buttermilk or regular milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to (350°F) = (176°C) degrees. Grease the pan of choice below. Combine the dry ingredients flour and sugar in a bowl. Bring the butter, cocoa, and water to a boil. Turn the stove off. Add the buttermilk, baking soda, salt, eggs, and vanilla extract to the pan with the boiling mixture. Use a hand mixer or electric mixer to combine the flour and sugar in the pan, blend until smooth. Pour into a greased sheet cake pan.

  2. Baking time: jelly roll/cookie sheet, 20-25 minutes (when a toothpick comes out clean)

  3. Baking time: 9-inch by 13-inch pan,  35-40 minutes (when a toothpick comes out clean)

Frosting
  1. Grab a medium saucepan and melt the butter, add the cocoa and the milk. Bring to a boil stir or whisk constantly, add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and nuts. I make this frosting while the cake is baking and then spread it on the semi-cooled cake.

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How do I store the Texas sheet cake?

I store the leftover cake in the sheet cake pan on the kitchen counter at room temperature with a lid on it as shown above. I’ve used foil and plastic wrap too, but as I mentioned, sometimes they stick. The trick really is to use an airtight container! You are welcome to store the cake in the refrigerator, but the cake will tend to harden or dry out a bit compared to being left on the counter.

Can I make this Texas sheet cake gluten-free?

Yes, I have family members who have gluten issues and they use the 1:1 flour from King Arthur. It works great! King Arthur Measure for Measure

Does the cake do better in the refrigerator?

This Texas sheet cake doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and as mentioned above, will do well on your counter at room temperature. I’ve had mine out for several days. Store it in an airtight container and that will help lengthen the time it should stay good.

Can I freeze the Texas sheet cake?

Sure you can. I’d suggest cutting the cake into small serving-size pieces that you can place in a Tupperware type of container. That will protect the cake from getting crushed while in the freezer. The cake should be good to eat after 2-3 months in the freezer.

Is this cake ever called a Texas Stealth cake?

Some people have referred to the cake using that name, but they are the same cake using the same ingredients.

Where did this Texas sheet cake get its name?

It’s rumored that when the cake first came out it was highlighted in a Texas newspaper. Others have taken the adage that “everything is bigger in Texas” and applied it to the cake due to its typically large size.

Where does the term “sheet” come from in the name?

The pan used to bake the cake is referred to as a sheet cake pan. Basically, a sheet cake is any cake that’s usually made in an oversized rectangular pan. Some still call them jelly roll pans.

When did this particular Texas sheet cake become popular?

It seemed to catch on sometime in the 1950s, primarily in the Southern States. At first, they called it a Sweet Chocolate Cake, and others referred to it as German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake as it was named after a brand of chocolate cake mix. I got my recipe from my mom’s older cookbook.

Is there an ice cream named after this cake?

Yes, there is. Blue Bell came out with Texas Sheet Cake Ice Cream a while back. I’ve never had it, but it has to be delicious.

Do you love chocolate as much as I do? Check out these other chocolate recipes!

Final Word

I hope you try making the World’s Best Texas Sheet Cake! I think you will love it! It’s even better the next day. Be ready to pass out the recipe, people love it because it’s homemade, I swear! Who doesn’t love homemade desserts, right? It’s all about teaching our kids and grandkids to cook from scratch, and this is a perfect recipe to make. May God Bless this world, Linda

31 thoughts on “The Best Texas Sheet Cake

  • June 25, 2017 at 7:24 am
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    If your don’t want the plastic wrap to cling to your icing here’s a tip. Use mini marshmallows on a toothpicks to create “tent poles” for the plastic wrap. The toothpicks holes wont be large enough to be noticed.

    Reply
  • June 25, 2017 at 8:27 am
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    The cake calls for flour. Any idea whether one can use gluten free flour to make this cake? My wife is allergic to wheat.

    Reply
    • June 25, 2017 at 9:18 am
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      Hi Harry, I would research how to trade white flour for another flour. I know a lot of people would love to know that answer. I wish I could help you! Linda

      Reply
  • June 25, 2017 at 8:55 am
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    I have loved this recipe for many many years. One year in school we had to do a report and I
    did this cake. Had to show my work then we got to eat it. What a great day in school. I recently
    made it for a friend of mine and she couldn’t believe I could mix it and bake it and ice it in less
    than a hour. She said it reminded her of her mothers she made the family as they were going up. I
    had a lot left for me to eat so I cut a big chunk of it and took it to my work and gave it to a co-worker.
    Don’t think it lasted long after she found out what it was.
    I do like to add pecans to mine too.

    Reply
    • June 25, 2017 at 9:20 am
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      Hi, June, I think I’m going to have a Piece for breakfast! It’s so yummy the next day! I think I have made it so many years without pecans because we couldn’t afford them. I better step up my game! Hugs! Linda

      Reply
      • October 5, 2021 at 1:38 pm
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        5 stars
        This cake would be great with walnuts, Cashews or peanuts also. The allergy to every nut I mentioned is talking. I know my husband would like it with pecans.

        Reply
        • October 5, 2021 at 2:44 pm
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          Hi Jackie, oh my gosh, it would really be good with pecans, right??? Thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend, Linda

          Reply
  • June 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm
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    Oh, my goodness! I have been making this recipe since I was 16 years old after my Great Grandmother told me she had been making it since she was married. My Great Grandmother passed away in 1962 at the age of 102. So, this has been around more than 30 years. It truly is the most moist cake I have ever had and everyone in Texas is very familiar with it.

    Love your emails — always learn something or reminds me of something I think I had forgotten.

    Reply
    • June 27, 2017 at 9:32 am
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      Hi Micki, oh how I love hearing this! You great grandmother lived to be 102 years! Wow, that’s awesome! Isn’t awesome to rekindle some of our old family recipes? They bring us all such joy! Have a great day! Linda

      Reply
    • October 5, 2021 at 1:47 pm
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      5 stars
      I make a lot of my husbands and my families old recipes. I wish I had gotten the directions written down but everyone in my husbands family always cooked with a pinch of this or a dash of that or it was Just add enough flour or whatever ingredient they were talking about. I can make the items I just don’t know the measurements. Some of the recipes went back as far as Pa’s Relatives Frank and Jessie James Grandparents and Parents.

      Reply
  • April 10, 2018 at 9:52 am
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    We’ve made this cake for over 35 years. We love it. Our old recipe had sour cream in it. Was way to dry. Buttermilk definitely keeps it moist and even more yummy.

    Reply
    • April 10, 2018 at 10:43 am
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      Hi, Judy, I know this cake has been around for years!! I made one yesterday and put it on Instagram. God grief, 1/3 of the cake is gone and only two people live here! LOL! Linda

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 7:19 am
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    The recipe I have is called the Best Chocolate Cake Ever, and is almost the same, except it has 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in it. SO GOOD!! I love all your recipes and tips. Keep up the Good Work. THANKS Carol

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:14 am
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      Hi Carol, WHAT??? I have got to try 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in my next chocolate cake recipe!! Thanks for the great tip! Cinnamon is yummy! Linda

      Reply
  • May 23, 2021 at 3:37 pm
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    5 stars
    Hi Linda! This is our favorite chocolate cake recipe! We make it for all of our birthday get togethers! Love it!❤️ It’s sooo moist and delicious! Thank you again for sharing the best step by step recipes!❤️❤️

    Reply
    • May 23, 2021 at 4:48 pm
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      Hi Camille, oh I’m so glad your family loves this chocolate cake! Thank you for your kind words, Linda

      Reply
  • May 23, 2021 at 4:03 pm
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    5 stars
    My teenagers made this last night. It is delicious! They also commented how easy your recipes are because of your instructions. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • May 23, 2021 at 4:45 pm
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      Hi Alli, oh, I love hearing this! I’m so glad your kids love the recipe! Linda

      Reply
  • April 11, 2022 at 10:51 pm
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    5 stars
    My husband will love this although I will make the small one for Father’s day and his Birthday. He would want to eat it all and as a diabetic that would be a no no. I had a recipe for a chocolate brownie cake that uses a chocolate cake mix and a brownie mix (I will use Duncan Heinz) and you can use chocolate chips or do what I am going to do get a couple bags of Hershey kisses half just chocolate and half a mix of chocolate and white chocolate and mix them in the cake mix. You use the the same amount of ingredients for it and it makes a great cake.

    Reply
    • April 12, 2022 at 5:59 am
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      Hi Jackie, thank you for the 5 stars, my friend. Oh, my gosh, that chocolate brownie cake sounds so good! WOW! Linda

      Reply
  • October 16, 2022 at 7:40 am
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    5 stars
    Linda,
    Your recipe calls for “1 cup chopped nuts optional”. If you want it to be a true TEXAS sheet cake, it should say “1 cup chopped PECANS mandatory”. That would make it a six star recipe. LOL!!!

    Reply
    • October 16, 2022 at 9:06 am
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      Hi Harry, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend!! Oh my gosh, the nuts would be mandatory!! Now I know, I love it!! You’re the best, you always make me smile! Linda

      Reply
  • October 16, 2022 at 7:45 am
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    Can you use Cake Flour in this Recipe instead of Flour?

    Reply
    • October 16, 2022 at 9:13 am
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      Hi Cristy, cake flour has 7-8% protein compared to 10-12% protein in all-purpose flour. Cake flour will make it lighter. I would guess, and (I’m guessing only) you would need more cake flour in the recipe. You would have to experiment. This is a flat cake, not a layer cake. All you can do is try it. I never buy cake flour. Years ago I did then realized it wasn’t necessary for my recipes. Linda

      Reply
  • October 16, 2022 at 10:01 am
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    5 stars
    Linda,

    I’m going to make this as it sounds fantastic. Well, I’ll probably talk Jane into making it as she’s the baker in our family.

    We usually prefer cream cheese or vanilla icing on chocolate cakes, but I want to try this exactly per the recipe–or maybe make it half with chocolate icing and half with cream cheese icing. Call it Yin and Yang cake.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2022 at 12:17 pm
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    I have 2 sheet pans the same size, so if I need a “lid,” I turn the empty one upside down and secure them together with bungie cords. It works better than trying to cover them with foil or wrap!

    Reply
    • October 16, 2022 at 3:23 pm
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      Hi Marilyn, I used to do the same thing until I found that plastic cover. Great reminder, thank you, Linda

      Reply

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