Texas Sheet Cake

by Lana Stuart on October 23, 2009 · 25 comments

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas, ya’ll! Cattle…Cowboys…Cheerleaders…Sheet cake! Sheet cake? That’s right, sheet cake!

This is one of those oldie-but-goodie recipes. You know, the ones that everyone loves and no one knows the origin of? (And, yes, I do realize that I just ended that sentence in a preposition. Thank you.) This one was adapted from the recipe in Southern Living Magazine back in 2003, but it goes way farther back than that. I have nearly the same recipe in an old church cookbook from my hometown and I’ve even seen it made on the Food Network with no credit given to anyone for the recipe. Other than, of course, the person making it on that show.

Now I have no idea why it’s called a “Texas” sheet cake. I just know that it’s dadgum good wherever it came from. It’s also really easy. The cake layer is rich and chocolatey and the buttermilk in the batter gives it a little extra sumpin-sumpin. If that’s not enough, the warm cake right out of the oven is spread with a rich chocolately icing full of wonderful southern pecans. Golly, what more could you ask for? Maybe a glass of milk? Grab your can of cocoa and make yourself a little slice of heaven with this recipe!

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup shortening
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup water
½ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Icing (see below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

TxSheetcake_panprep

Grease and lightly flour a 15×10 inch jellyroll pan. Set aside.

TxSheetcake_sift

Sift together sugar and flour in a large bowl; set aside.

TxSheetcake_choccakebase

Combine butter and next 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until butter and shortening melt.

TxSheetcake_pourover

Remove from heat and pour over sugar mixture, stirring until dissolved. Cool slightly.

TxSheetcake_eggs&milk

Combine eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla.

TxSheetcake_combineall

Stir into the sugar and chocolate mixture.

TxSheetcake_pourinpan

Pour into prepared jellyroll pan. There’s BeeBop being my trusty pair of helping hands. It’s hard enough to cook with one hand and take photos with the other, but there’s just some things you can’t manage without an able assistant!

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Start making the icing when the cake has about 10 minutes left to cook.

TxSheetcake_baked

Spread warm cake with Chocolate Icing. And don’t worry about those dips and cracks. They all even out with the icing and no one will ever know they were there!

Chocolate Icing

½ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 16 oz. package powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

TxSheetcake_makeicing

Combine butter, cocoa and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until margarine melts. Then turn the heat up to medium and bring to a boil.

TxSheetcake_addsugarvanillanuts

Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and the sugar dissolves. Stir in pecans.

My sister, Miss P, makes this recipe and she cuts it into tiny little squares about 1 1/2 x 1/2 inches. Me, I make big old brownie size squares. About, oh, 4×4. Of course, I’ve never been known for restraint in the kitchen :-)

However, you slice it up, it serves a huge crowd of people. I made one for a neighborhood party last weekend and the large slices filled two plates with slices stacked three deep.

Enjoy!

Texas Sheet Cake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Texas Sheet Cake

A fabulous chocolate sheet cake. Always a hit at parties and gatherings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Chocolate Icing
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 16 oz. package powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease and lightly flour a 15x10 inch jellyroll pan. Set aside.
  3. Sift together sugar and flour in a large bowl; set aside. Combine butter and next 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until butter and shortening melt. Remove from heat and pour over sugar mixture, stirring until dissolved. Cool slightly.
  4. Stir in buttermilk and next 3 ingredients. Pour into prepared jellyroll pan.
  5. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Spread warm cake with Chocolate Icing.
  6. For the icing:
  7. Combine butter, cocoa and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until margarine melts. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla and pecans. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and sugar dissolves.

Notes

Recipe source: Southern Living Magazine, January 2003.

http://www.lanascooking.com/2009/10/23/texas-sheet-cake/

– Recipe from Southern Living, January 2003

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cookin' Canuck October 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm

This is a great classic recipe and I love the chocolate-pecan icing.

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2 The Duo Dishes October 23, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Dadgum good. ha! Love the affirmation. Maybe it’s called TX sheet cake cause it’s a huge pan of tasty lovin’. Let’s go with that, shall we?

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3 Barbara October 23, 2009 at 8:54 pm

I’m so glad you shared this recipe! The cake was so moist! I can’t wait to make it for my chocolate loving Niece (and I) this Thanksgiving.

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4 redkathy October 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I remember when… Your wonderful cake display sparked a delicious walk down memory lane, thanks!

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5 Miranda October 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

My mother use to make this. It was a family favorite. It looks amazing. It takes me back in time.

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6 Linda October 23, 2009 at 10:48 pm

I haven’t made this in years but it’s time to try it again. Pecans sound like a good idea, my recipe never called for it.

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7 Neena October 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm

OOh this looks good. Polly would love all of this chocolate and nuts. So would Bud without the nuts. However you serve it, it has to be wonderful.

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8 Rosemary October 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Makes me drool!!!! Thanks for the memory.
From your chocoholic friend, Rosie

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9 hungry dog October 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Definitely a classic. I could go for a piece right now! What is it about buttermilk–it’s really one of the best things to happen to a cake!

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10 shannon July 31, 2010 at 12:36 pm

after stumbling upon your site, i was hoping you would shed some light on the origins of the recipe. this recipe came down to me from my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. i have no idea how old it really is but i know that my family has been making it for a LONG time. it’s our favorite…thanks for sharing!

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11 Barb-OK December 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I saw your sheet cake linked from somewhere else, so I just had to peek. Just a little trivia from someone that has been making this cake for 40+ years and having lived in Texas for 30 years. The original had 1 teaspoon cinnamon in the cake batter and made the cake IMO. The 9 X 13 baking pan was referred to as a sheet pan (back in the dark ages). The cake was made in it originally. Time changes a lot of things doesn’t it? LOL! I still make the cake from time to time in my 9 X 13 sheet pan!
Dropping your oven temp to 350 deg. will help prevent the cracked finish. If you are using a dark pan, drop the temp to another 25 deg.

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12 Dorothy April 7, 2012 at 1:37 am

I have an old Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, copyright 1959, 1972 which has this recipe. It is called “Cinnamon/Chocolate Cake”. If anyone has this cookbook, it is on page 356.

It has some slight differences–it calls for 1 tsp of cinnamon; more flour, but it’s for SIFTED flour so it would be about the same amount of the unsifted this calls for; and 3/4 cup of shortening and no butter. The baking directions are the same at 400 for 20 min and in a jelly roll pan.

The icing is made the same way but the FJ recipe says to cool the cake before pouring on the icing.

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13 Dorothy April 7, 2012 at 1:41 am

I don’t know where Farm Journal got the recipe or when it came to be called Texas Sheet Cake.

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14 Lana April 7, 2012 at 7:47 am

I’ve had this recipe for a very long time, too, Dorothy and have no idea what the original source of it was. It’s in almost every community and church cookbook I have. Thanks for pointing out the differences in my version and the Farm Journal one.

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15 Judy June 24, 2013 at 7:52 pm

When my Aunt Darlene first made this so long ago, the cake and the icing called for a little cinnamon to be added. It really gives depth of flavour to the recipe.

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16 Lana Stuart June 25, 2013 at 8:41 am

Yes, I’ve had it with the cinnamon as well. You’re right it does add to the flavor, but I think it’s still delicious either way!

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17 Linda July 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm

When I make this cake I add 1/2 cup sour cream to both the cake and the frosting, makes it even tastier. Great cake!! Addictive too!

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18 Lana Stuart July 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

That sounds like a great addition, Linda. I’m definitely going to try it next time!

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19 Kim October 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Try adding a tsp of cinnamon

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20 Peppy January 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

I have had it with cinnamon and it’s just the right touch to the delicious cake that I first had in the 70s

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21 Betty Smith December 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I too have made this cake forever. I use a straw, poke holes in the cake and pour the warm icing over the hot cake and let the icing ooze into the holes. YUMMMM!

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22 Marie January 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

Like so many others, my Mother made this for years and passed recipe on to me (I’m now 81 y/o) and her recipe called for the cinnamon also – made on 9×13 sheet pan….always was my birthday cake – recently, a lady in my Sunday School class had this recipe also and made it for my birthday…slurp – slurp – oh yes, born and raised in Texas….

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23 Dulce February 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I lost my recipe for this cake so thanks for sharing. It brings back memories. Made this cake todayand it was delicious. I made it in a 9 x 13 glass cake pan, baked it at 350° for 20 minutes and it turned out just fine.

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24 Cathy February 2, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Please someone tell me how to adjust this recipe for high altitude. Used to make this when I lived in Oklahoma. Love it, but it exploded in my oven when I made it here in Colorado (7600′).

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25 Susan February 3, 2014 at 7:07 am

I’ve made this often. Everyone loves this. My recipe calls for buttermilk in the frosting too. My recipe is called Buttermilk Brownies. But no matter what you call it , it is delicious !!!!!

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