Best Texas sheet cake recipe! This easy, one-bowl 30 minute recipe makes a rich chocolate sheet cake topped with fudgy chocolate icing.
I don’t know where the original recipe for this cake came from, but my grandma made this cake when I was growing up, and it’s a family favorite.
And, really, what’s not to love with this cake! It’s moist, chocolaty, and delicious.
It’s also quick and easy to make. The cake is ready – start to finish – in just 30 minutes. All of which makes it a pretty perfect dessert!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter: I use salted butter. If you’re using unsalted butter, increase the salt in the cake to 3/4 teaspoon and add a couple of pinches of salt to the icing.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: I haven’t tried using Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe.
- Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a homemade buttermilk substitute.
- Greek yogurt: Full-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream will also work.
- Powdered sugar: To ensure the smoothest frosting, sift the powdered sugar to break up any lumps.
- Nuts: The nuts are optional. You can also use walnuts if you would prefer to use walnuts instead of pecans.
How to make Texas sheet cake
Step 1: Begin by melting the butter in a large saucepan.
Tip >> I use a large saucepan so that I can mix the cake right in that saucepan.
Step 2: Once the butter has melted, stir in the water and cocoa powder. Bring it to a boil, whisking regularly.
Step 3: Once it’s at a boil, stir in the buttermilk. Remove the pan from the heat.
Step 4: Stir in the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
Step 5: Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the flour mixture just until combined. The batter will be thin.
Step 6: Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake.
Step 7: While the cake is baking, prepare the icing. Combine the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk in a large saucepan.
Step 8: Bring to a boil, whisking regularly. Remove from heat.
Step 9: Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
Step 10: Pour the icing over the hot cake.
Step 11: Sprinkle with nuts, if using. Let the cake sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set up.
- If you use a large saucepan, you can mix up the cake batter in that saucepan.
- You’ll need a jelly roll pan to bake the cake. A jelly roll pan is a rimmed baking sheet that’s about 11×15-inches.
- Parchment paper doesn’t work very well with this cake. The parchment paper can leave a greasy residue with the cake.
- If your icing isn’t as thick as you would like, add additional powdered sugar.
- If your icing is too thick, add an extra splash or two of buttermilk.
I’ve made this recipe for many (many) years. Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe to make it super moist and tasty while also cutting a full stick of butter from the recipe.
I’ve also cut a cup of sugar from the original recipe and made a few other adjustments. The cake is still plenty sweet, and we’ve never missed the extra butter or sugar.
It will keep for up to 3 days when properly stored.
You can! The cake works well halved, and you can bake it in a 9×13-inch rimmed baking sheet.
The cake is best stored in the pan at room temperature. I don’t recommend storing the cake in an airtight container.
I only cover the cut portions of the cake with plastic wrap because the frosting can get gooey if covered.
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Texas Sheet Cake
- Rimmed baking sheet
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk¹
- 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt²
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup buttermilk³
- 3 cups powdered sugar4
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup chopped pecans optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet (I use a 15×11-inch rimmed cookie sheet) with edges.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan.
- Once butter has melted, stir in water and cocoa powder; bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil, add buttermilk, and stir to combine.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and stir until well-combined.
- Stir in sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- While the cake is baking prepare the icing.
- For the icing, combine the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk. Bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat, and add the powdered sugar, vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour icing over hot cake and spread evenly over cake.
- Stir to combine.
- Pour icing over hot cake and spread evenly over cake.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts over icing, if using.
- Let the cake sit for at least 30 minutes for the frosting to set up.
- Low-fat or full-fat ok.
- 2% or full-fat Greek yogurt ok. Can also sub an equal amount of buttermilk in place of the Greek yogurt.
- Low-fat or full-fat ok.
- The frosting should be on the thicker side. Add additional powdered sugar as needed.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
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Originally published 1/29/12.
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Comments & Reviews
Absolutely the best cake and frosting ever!! That is per my picky husband and everyone else agrees. The instructions were easy to follow and this a great pantry recipe. We also love your Mayonnaise Cake. Thanks for all your great recipes.
Thank you so much! This is one of my family’s favorites! =)
Mario Kart Champ says
This is amazingggggggggggg!
Mary Ann says
I just left a review for your taco casserole and had to come leave a review for our dessert tonight…this Texas sheet cake. It was a win, win. Dinner was delicious and the cake was moist, sweet and so good warm. Love that it was so easy.
Thank you! It’s a family favorite!
Best chocolate cake EVER! The texture and sweetness are just perfect!
Thank you so much! That’s so nice of you to say!
I’m all for cutting some of the butter and sugar when the cake maintains it’s moist, delicious taste. Bravo! You did it. We love this cake.
Thanks! I’m so glad that you liked it! =) Thanks for commenting!
Wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing it.
Thank you so much! =)
Stan Lease says
Can you substitute splenda for the granulated sugar? If so substitute difference. What about substituting coffee for the water?
I haven’t tried subbing splenda for the granulated sugar, so I’m afraid I’m not much help as far as that goes. I don’t see why you couldn’t use coffee in place of the water. Traditionally, the cake has a fairly mild chocolate flavor, and the coffee would just enhance the chocolate flavor.
Thanks for the tip on subbing Greek yogurt.. I love this cake and make it for most events. But I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Have you ever tried reducing the sugar? I think 2 cups of sugar in a cake is way too much. Think I will try that too. Thank you again!
I’m glad you found that to be helpful! I have reduced it by about 1/4 cup in the cake and frosting (so not much) without having any issues. When I’ve tried to reduce the sugar in the icing by more, it didn’t set right.
deb schlee says
I have been looking at this using greek yogurt for baking this delicious sheet a cake
Thank you for sharing this since I am diabetic …..great now I can try firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m glad that the substitution helped!! I have several recipes that use Greek yogurt, so please let me know if you’d like me to help you find some of the others, and I’d be happy to help you out. =)
YOU CAN ALSO SUBSTITUTE GREEK YOGURT FOR BUTTERMILK. I NEVER HAVE BUTTERMILK AT MY HOUSE.
Thanks! Yes, I use a combo of Greek yogurt and milk or soured milk for buttermilk all the time.