Texas sheet cake is an ultra moist buttermilk chocolate sheet cake that’s topped with a simple chocolate frosting. Easy to make and feeds a crowd! 

An overhead view of a slice of Texas sheet cake on a white plate. A bite has been cut off.

I have a soft spot for chocolate cake, especially chocolate layer cakes. But as much as I love layer cakes, I don’t always have time to let the individual cake layers cool before applying a crumb coat and then stacking the cake — and on and on. 

My solution: Texas sheet cake! There’s no stacking of cake layers involved, and the frosting is poured over the cake while it’s still warm. 

I opted to make a classic Texas chocolate sheet cake this time, but you can certainly sprinkle the top with chopped pecans. They add even more flavor and texture to this simple but delicious cake!

An overhead view of the ingredients needed to make a chocolate sheet cake.

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

For best results, I recommend using full-fat ingredients in this recipe. Here’s an overview of a few key ingredients you will need for this cake:

  • Cocoa powder: Since this cake recipe uses baking soda, make sure to unsweetened natural cocoa powder. It’s more acidic and exactly what the baking soda needs in order for this cake to rise properly. 
  • Buttermilk: I made this Texas sheet cake with buttermilk to ensure it remains moist. If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute in about 5 minutes. 
  • Sour cream: Along with the buttermilk, the sour cream helps to keep this cake incredibly moist. If you don’t have any on hand, you can replace it with an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt.
  • Pecans: These are completely optional and I prefer to leave them off of this cake. However, if you love pecans you can add up to 1 cup of chopped pecans.

How to Make Texas Sheet Cake

It doesn’t get much simpler than this sheet cake recipe. The batter gets whisked together in mere minutes, and the Texas sheet cake frosting just needs to cook for a few moments more on the stove. 

  • Prepare the sheet pan: Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. I also recommend greasing the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray to ensure an easier cleanup. 
  • Boil part of the mixture: Combine the butter, cocoa powder, and water in a saucepan and place it over medium heat, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.
  • Combine the dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. 
  • Combine the remaining wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. 

Texas sheet cake batter whisked together in a glass mixing bowl.

  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry: Pour the slightly cooled cocoa mixture and the buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan: Be sure to smooth it out into an even layer.
  • Bake the sheet cake: The cake needs to bake for about 20 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

An overhead view of a Texas sheet cake. The cake has been sliced and a slice has been removed.

As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, you can begin working on the frosting. The frosting is boiled and poured over the cake while it’s still warm, so you can prepare it right away! 

  • Sift the confectioners’ sugar: You’ll first need to sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl to remove any lumps.
  • Heat the remaining frosting ingredients: Add the milk, butter, and cocoa powder to a large saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat just until it comes to a boil. 
  • Add the confectioners’ sugar: As soon as the cocoa mixture is removed from the heat, stir in the sifted confectioners’ sugar. 
  • Pour the frosting over the cake: The cake will still be warm at this point, but that’s what you want! The frosting will also start to set really fast, so make sure to work quickly.
  • Let the cake cool completely: The frosting needs time to set up, so you must let the cake cool completely on your counter before slicing and serving it. 

A slice of Texas sheet cake being removed from the pan.

What Size Sheet Pan Should I Use? 

You’ll want to use a half-sheet pan that’s about 17×12 inches to make this recipe. 

Can This Recipe Be Made Without a Sheet Pan? 

You can also bake this chocolate sheet cake in a 9×13-inch pan, but you’ll need to increase the bake time. Baking the cake in a 9×13-inch pan rather than a sheet pan will result in a thicker cake with a denser layer of frosting on top.

Does Texas Sheet Cake Need to Be Refrigerated?

It’s fine to cover this cake tightly with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature. However, the chocolate sheet cake will last longer if covered and stored in the fridge.  

A front view of a piece of Texas chocolate sheet cake with a bite missing on a small white plate.

Baking Tips

  • I highly recommend lining your sheet pan with parchment paper and spraying it with non-stick spray. This makes slicing and serving the sheet cake much easier. 
  • The frosting will start to set pretty fast. Once you mix in the confectioners’ sugar, immediately pour it over the cake, and spread it as quickly as possible. I like to use an angled spatula for this step, but the back of a spoon works just fine too.
  • Whenever I use pecans, I prefer to just sprinkle them over the frosting once I’ve spread it around. However, you can also mix them into the frosting, then pour it on top. Just keep in mind that if you do this the pecans will soften some over time.

More Easy Chocolate Cake Recipes! 

Recipe Video

A slice of Texas sheet cake on a white speckled plate. A bite has been taken out of the slice and a fork rests on the side of the plate.

Texas Sheet Cake

Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Texas sheet cake is an ultra moist buttermilk chocolate sheet cake that's topped with a simple boiled chocolate frosting. Easy to make and feeds a crowd! 

Ingredients

Servings: 24 slices

For the Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into small cubes (2 sticks; 230 grams)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (22 grams)
  • ¾ cup water (180 ml)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled (250 grams)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk at room temperature (120 ml)
  • ¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt at room temperature (60 grams)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • 3 cups confectioners sugar (360 grams)
  • cup whole milk (80 ml)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cut into small cubes (1 stick; 115 grams)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (22 grams)

Optional Topping

  • 1 cup chopped pecans (120 grams)

Instructions
 

  • To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a half-sheet pan (17” x 12”) with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Combine the butter, cocoa powder, and water in a medium saucepan and place it over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Once the mixture is boiling, remove it from the heat and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture and chocolate mixture over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it around into one even layer.
  • Bake in the center rack of the oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the frosting.
  • To make the frosting: Sift the confectioners sugar into a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Combine the milk, butter, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, whisking often, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the sifted confectioners sugar.
  • Immediately pour the frosting over the warm cake and spread it around with an angled spatula or the back of a spoon. The frosting will start to set fast, so make sure to work quickly!
  • If decorating with pecans, sprinkle the pecans over the frosting.
  • Allow to cool completely before serving.

Notes

Storage Instructions: This cake may be covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
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