Texas Sheet Cake

UPDATE! There is an updated (and improved!) version of this recipe now available here: Texas Sheet Cake [March 2012]


I have been making this chocolate sheet cake recipe for about a year now and I have never been disappointed. I do wonder, though, how it managed to make its way into Cooking Light with the amount of butter and sugar that is in this recipe. No matter though, I do not discriminate! This is a very straightforward recipe to put together and to be quite honest – the icing makes this cake completely worth it. It is so intensely chocolatey and sugary that I often eat too much before putting it on the cake and need to wait before I have my first bite of cake 😉

I would also like to plug a kitchen product here – the Pampered Chef large rectangular bar pan (10×15). This piece of stoneware has served me well since I bought it – I have made classic Italian bread on it, as well as roasted potatoes that were perfectly crisp. I admit, however, that I was a little nervous about how it would fare with a baked good. I was more than pleasantly surprised! I lightly buttered the pan and had no sticking issue, and I must say that the cake turned out much more moist in the stoneware than it had in the non-stick pan I had been using. This is definitely a piece I would recommend adding to your collection!

Texas Sheet Cake

(Source: Cooking Light)
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used 1%)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup fat-free milk (again, I used 1%)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans (I omitted these)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F.

To prepare the cake, coat a 15 x 10 jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Set prepared pan aside.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients (2 cups flour through salt) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Combine water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; pour into flour mixture. Beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add buttermilk , 1 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake at 375 F for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Place on wire rack.

To prepare the icing, combine 6 tablespoons butter, milk, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in powdered sugar, pecans, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Spread over hot cake. Cool completely on wire rack.

Note: You can also make this recipe in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake at 375 F for 22 minutes.


18 Responses to “Texas Sheet Cake”

  1. Kayte on March 11, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    yummy! i think i will also try to 13×9 pan. looks great!


  2. Krashed24 on March 12, 2007 at 6:02 am

    I agree, this is a wonderful yummy cake. Looks good.


  3. Betty on August 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I love your site.I have been making this cake for years,more than i care to remember.I got the recipe from Texas where i grew up.Have been making for my husband ,It’s his favorite cake,However my recipe has cinnamon,and a cup of butter,or half crisco,and half butter ,and i add one cup of cold coffee,instead of water in the batter,also i do add nuts to the frosting,This must be a really old passed around cake,If you like chocolate you will love this cake……..


    • Lori O. on March 15th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      This is the recipe I know of as a true Texas Sheet Cake. Has to have cinnamon in cake batter and pecans in the frosting. YUMMMMMMY!


  4. Brad on June 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I found that the frosting did not need 3 cups of powdered sugar.


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  6. Shelly on November 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Love my bar pan. It also cooks brownies quicker so you can eat them faster. ;P


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  9. Carol Jean Hertkorn on March 17, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    This is another of our family’s favorite cakes. I make it 1 1/2 times the recipe, 3 cups flour, 3 cups sugar etc and bake it in a deep 9×13 pan, It is almost like fudge, very moist and never lasts long.


  10. Colene M. on March 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I think this version of the recipe got into Cooking Light because it has about 1/2 the butter for both frosting and cake than the regular Texas Sheet Cake recipes usually have. There are several variations out there, and I am slowly trying them all until I figure out which version I like best. I followed this recipe for the cake part, but chickened out on the frosting, I went with another version that had another 1 3/4 c. butter and 6 T. milk. It was a good combination, cake not so moist, but frosting more than making up for it. I poked holes in the cake and let the frosting soak in, which would have been a sloppy mess in more moist version.


  11. Denise on July 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Looks very moist and delicious. I will be trying this cake this week.


  12. Denise on August 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I Have made the Texas Sheet Cake twice and my whole family loves it. It reminds me of a really good brownie. So delicious. I have baked it in a 13×9 and also a jelly roll pan. Both have worked well.


  13. Kerry on January 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Do you know how many calories there are in this recipe and how many squares to cut?


    • Michelle on January 28th, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      Hi Kerry, I do not know how many calories there are in this recipe. You can cut it into as many as squares as you’d like; it usually makes about 10 to 12 servings for me.


  14. Jessica on October 15, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Hi, I made another recipe for a Texas Sheet Cake and completely screwed up the frosting. It was not at all spreadable and I basically had to pick it up with my fingers and place it on the cake. I was planning on trying your recipe for the frosting but the cake is now cool because I made it last night. Do you think it would be okay to put the frosting on the cooled cake or will this completely mess it up? I wish I had used your recipe for the frosting previously because all of your recipes are always amazing but I was dumb and used another recipe I had printed out previously.


    • Michelle on October 15th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Hi Jessica, For Texas Sheet Cake, you really should pour the hot frosting over a hot cake, but I think it should still work okay to pour it on a cooled cake, just be prepared to need to spread it around a bit.


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