Texas Sheet Cake

Here’s another of Mom’s recipe box favorites.  My Texas relatives have made this recipe for years, and there is a good possibility that every Sauce and Sensibility reader already has their own version of this recipe.  But I’ll forget about this cake—and every couple of years, I remember it, and I make it, and the whole family gobbles it up and asks me to make it more often.  And then I forget about it again for a couple of years.  But this is a delicious and reliable cake.  The only difference between my version and that of my Texas relatives is that they used to make this with a combination of one stick of butter and a half cup of Crisco.  I make mine with two sticks of butter.  Either way, it is a chocolate delight that, by the way, tastes better and better as it sits on the counter, so feel free to make it in advance.

Texas Sheet Cake

16 to 20 servings

Ingredients for the Cake:

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 sticks butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup strongly brewed coffee (decaf is fine), cooled
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients for the Frosting:

1 stick butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  To make the cake, start with a large mixing bowl and sift together the flour and sugar.  In a saucepan, place two sticks of butter, the cocoa powder and the water and bring to a boil, stirring.  Pour the mixture over the flour and sugar and mix well.  Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla and combine well.  Pour the batter into a greased 17” jellyroll pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

About five minutes before the cake is done, make the frosting: place the butter, cocoa powder and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar, vanilla and the nuts, if using.  Stir to combine well.

Leaving the cake in the pan, pour the frosting over the hot cake and spread it to the edges.  Leave it alone and cover it when it cools.  Cut into squares and serve.

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10 Responses to Texas Sheet Cake

  1. Memoria says:

    Noooo, I just found a good recipe for Texas sheet cake, now I’m going to have to try this one out haha. It looks fantastic.

  2. Susan says:

    Thank you Memoria, let me know how it turns out for you.

  3. Priscilla Cockerell says:

    Hi, Susan. I was delighted to see this Texas Sheet Cake Recipe. I’ve also seen it called Texas Brownies, although the consistency is strictly cake-like. It has been a family staple of ours, too. My recipe is slightly different. I use one stick of butter instead of two. And, rather than a cup of water I use a cup of strongly brewed coffee. The coffee does not impart a mocha flavor but instead intensifies the richness and flavor of the chocolate. And – if you don’t want to buy buttermilk just for this recipe – you can make it by adding 1 tbs. of vinegar to one cup of sweet milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Voila! Buttermilk! (Cut measurements in half for the sheet cake.) My frosting recipe is exactly like yours.

  4. Susan says:

    Thanks Priscilla for all of those ideas. I’m going to try it your way–the reduction in the butter is an appeal–and so is the idea of the richness of coffee instead of the water. I like the buttermilk tip–but don’t tell my kids–they’ve got me keeping buttermilk in the house all the time because they love buttermilk pancakes!

  5. Paula says:

    it must be so delicious!

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  7. Susan says:

    I’m so glad this worked out for you–thanks for entertaining your family with one of our family’s favorites.

  8. Betty says:

    I was raised in Texas ,now been living inFla. for 35plus years ,and i can tell you that Texas sheet cake is the most delicious cake you could ever want.It is one of my husband’s favorite.
    It is rich but ohhhh.so good.next time you make it try adding a cup of cold coffee instead of water in the cake .It just does a little something extra for it…….Been making this cake for many years….

  9. Susan says:

    Thank you for writing Betty–interesting that you are the second person that has suggested this–and, I was reading through my Aunt’s recipe notebook, and her recipe calls for a cup of hot coffee. I think I’m going to make a change…

  10. Connie says:

    What is a stick of butter. We don’t have that measure in Canada.

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