Texas Sheet Cake

This chocolatey, rich, Texas Sheet Cake is a decadent combination of chocolate sheet cake topped with an irresistible chocolate and pecan icing. It is a southern treat that will become a regular bake on your dessert rotation.

A individual serving of cake on a white plate.

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This Texas Sheet Cake is a southern classic that never gets old. It’s one of those recipes that everyone loves but no one knows where it came from.

This is my personal adaptation of a recipe from Southern Living Magazine back in 2003, but the original recipe goes back much further than that! I’ve seen many different variations in old southern cookbooks, but this one has been a winner in my family!

You may be wondering, “Why is it called a Texas sheet cake? Is it from Texas?” To be honest, no one really knows, but it has become a southern tradition and it is absolutely delicious! Did I mention that it is also super easy to make? You can’t top that!

This delicious dessert features a layer that is rich and chocolatey with a lovely tangy flavor from the buttermilk. As if that wasn’t tasty enough, once it’s out of the oven, it’s covered with a rich, chocolatey icing that is full of southern pecans for the perfect amount of crunch. It’s absolutely irresistible! Just add a glass of milk and you have the perfect dessert.

Cake squares cut on a baking sheet with a spatula to the side.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • It is super simple to make!
  • It is chocolatey and delicious.
  • The pecans in the icing give it a nice crunch.
  • A little piece goes a long way!

🥣 Tools You’ll Need


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🛒 Ingredient Notes


  • Shortening My favorite shortening will always be Crisco. It’s dependable and always available.
  • Unsweetened CocoaHershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is available everywhere. Other brands work just as well. Choose your favorite.
  • Buttermilk Adds a very pleasant and unmistakable “tang” to the batter. It’s a very nice contrast to the sweet chocolate icing.
  • Powdered Sugar Also called confectioner’s sugar or 10X sugar. Dixie Crystals is what I choose for my baking.
  • Pecans One of our many Georgia agricultural products and my favorite nut for baking. If nuts are a problem, simply leave them out.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …

“My mother used to make this. It was a family favorite. It takes me back in time..”
— Miranda

🥄 How to Make Texas Sheet Cake


Make the Chocolate Sheet Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Grease and lightly flour a 15×10 inch jellyroll pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift together sugar and flour in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Combine butter, shortening, cocoa, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until butter and shortening melt.

👉 PRO TIP: You may be wondering why the recipe uses both butter and shortening. Why not just one or the other? The reason is that when you combine the two different fats, you get a little of the best features of each. Butter gives that wonderful rich, daily flavor while shortening keeps the cake from being too flat.

  1. Remove from heat and pour over sugar and flour mixture, stirring until dissolved. Cool slightly.
  2. Stir in eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Pour into the prepared jellyroll pan.
  4. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.
  5. Start making the icing when the cake has about 10 minutes left to bake.

Make the Icing

  1. Combine butter, cocoa and milk in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until margarine melts.
  3. Then turn the heat up to medium and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla.
  5. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and the sugar dissolves.
  6. Stir in pecans. Mix well.
  7. Pour and spread icing over the top of the sheet cake.
Individual servings of cake on white plates.

When my sister makes this recipe, she cuts it into tiny little squares about 1.5 x 1.5 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 recently and the large slices filled two plates with slices stacked three deep.

🍚 Storing Leftovers


This cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge (recommended) for up to 5 days. Make sure that it is completely covered and stored in an air-tight container. It also freezes very well in a tightly sealed container for up to three months.

A individual serving of cake on a white plate.

❓ Questions About Classic Texas Sheet Cake


What makes Texas Sheet Cake different from any regular chocolate cake?

It’s all about the icing! The topping for this cake has an almost fudge-like texture and is crammed full of pecans for a delicious nutty flavor and crunchy texture. It’s just amazing!

Can I make this the day before I want to serve it?

Sure! I typically make it the same day I plan to serve it. However, it keeps really well and is a great option for a make-ahead dessert.

Does this really make 20 servings?

I do actually get 20 servings from this recipe, but it all depends on how you cut it! It makes quite a large cake and it’s very rich so a smaller serving size is adequate.

Don’t forget to come back and tell me how your Texas Sheet Cake turned out!

Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

A individual serving of cake on a white plate.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake is a southern treat that combines a cocoa sheet cake with a chocolate and pecan icing for a decadent dessert! It's always a hit at parties and gatherings.
5 from 9 votes
Print It Rate It Save Text It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 394kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

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 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Icing

  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • cup milk
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

Make the Cake Layer:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Grease and lightly flour a 15×10 inch jellyroll pan. Set aside.
  • Sift together sugar and flour in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Combine butter, shortening, cocoa, and water 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 and flour mixture, stirring until dissolved. Cool slightly.
  • Stir in eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Pour into the prepared jellyroll pan.
  • Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.
  • Start making the icing when the cake has about 10 minutes left to bake.

Make the Chocolate Icing:

  • 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.
  • 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. Mix well.
  • Pour and spread icing over the top of the sheet cake.

Notes

  • Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to 5 days. Also freezes very well in a tightly sealed container for up to three months.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 394kcal | Carbohydrates 55g | Protein 3g | Fat 19g | Saturated Fat 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat 3g | Monounsaturated Fat 7g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 42mg | Sodium 144mg | Potassium 93mg | Fiber 2g | Sugar 43g | Vitamin A 327IU | Vitamin C 0.1mg | Calcium 26mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on October 23, 2009. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

Texas Sheet Cake is a rich chocolate sheet cake spread with a delicious chocolate and pecan icing. https://www.lanascooking.com/texas-sheet-cake/

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Recipe Rating




35 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is pretty much identical to mine. I put 2 cups chopped pecans in the icing though. I made it this weekend for my sister’s bday. It was delicious but the crumb was very crumbly. Not dry just crumbly. What causes this?

    1. Hard to say without being in the kitchen with you, but some of the most common reasons why cakes crumble is due to overbaking, overmixing, and inaccurate measuring of ingredients.

  2. Mary Pitman says:

    yes the cinnamon in the recipe is scrumptuous!!!!!

  3. Mary Pitman says:

    5 stars
    I rate this one a 5 star, I’ve made it several times and it is just so so yummy

  4. My mother used to call it “sheath cake.” I looked it up and that was totally a thing in the 50s -60s. I like a little cinnamon the cake batter. It gives a special flavor but you don’t think cinnamon. Some recipes do call for it.

  5. Shirley Stein says:

    Love good southern or down to earth everyday recipes.

  6. Truly, named for Texas, because everything is’ Big in Texas’. I am a southerner with deep roots. We also, call recipe ‘Funeral Cake’ due to the fact, when providing meals for funeral gatherings it serves a large crowd. Call it what you like…it is most delish.

  7. Bonnie P. says:

    I was just trying to decide what kind of cake to make for a get
    together this weekend. I love this cake though I haven’t made it in some time. I will make on Saturday!

  8. 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 !!!!!

  9. 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′).

  10. 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.

  11. 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….

  12. Betty Smith says:

    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!

  13. Try adding a tsp of cinnamon

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

  14. 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!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

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

  15. 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.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      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!

  16. 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.

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

      1. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. hungry dog says:

    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!

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

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

  25. 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.

  26. The Duo Dishes says:

    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?

  27. Cookin' Canuck says:

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