Texas Sheet Cake is a Southern classic dessert with an easy rich chocolate cake base baked in a sheet pan with a sweet chocolate frosting and crunchy walnuts.
TEXAS SHEET CAKE
A Texas Sheet Cake is a classic Southern dessert recipe right up there with Red Velvet Cake, Key Lime Pie, and Peach Cobbler. Full of rich chocolate flavor, this giant Texan cake is perfect for block parties, summer barbecues, and potlucks.
This Texas Sheet Cake recipe is made with simple pantry items like unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, and sour cream. The frosting is even more cocoa powder, milk, and lots of powdered sugar. Some recipes use buttermilk but sour cream gives the same tang without having to get a special ingredient.
This party sized chocolate cake is great for making ahead. You can freeze a frosted, baked Texas Sheet Cake for up to 3 months. Wrap the cooled sheet pan tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Remove the covering when thawing (at room temperature) so moisture doesn’t collect.
A Texas Sheet Cake is the best potluck dessert! It travels well in the car, feeds a lot of people, and can be out at room temperature all day. If you are serving at home, try a warm cake slice with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream for a tasty summer time dessert.
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What is different about this cake?
What makes a Texas Sheet Cake different from other chocolate cakes is that it’s baked on a large sheet pan or jelly roll pan. This creates a thin cake about as thick as brownie. It bakes quickly, just 20 minutes, decorating is super easy since you don’t have to worry about layering or removing the cake from the pan to frost.
The trick to a Texas Sheet Cake isn’t just the size of the pan, it’s pouring that frosting at exactly the right time. If the cake is too hot, the glaze seeps in too much and you don’t get a thick layer of chocolatey goodness. If the cake is too cool, it doesn’t seep in at all and your cake isn’t as moist.
Texas Sheet Cake looks like a Fudge Iced Brownie but don’t be fooled, this moist chocolate treat is all cake! You’ll still want to serve it with a fork and small plates, at least the first day. Kept at room temperature, the cake will get more firm but the frosting layer keeps it from drying out for at least 3 days.
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VARIATIONS ON TEXAS SHEET CAKE
- White Cake: To make a White Texas Sheet Cake, leave out the unsweetened cocoa powder and use almond extract in the cake batter and the frosting instead of vanilla extract.
- Baking Pan: If you want a thicker cake, bake in a 13×9 inch baking pan for 28-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean with moist crumbs.
- Brown Sugar: To make a richer cake, substitute 1 cup white sugar with 1 cup brown sugar.
- Chocolate Chips: For more chocolatey goodness, stir in a ½ cup dark chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips into your cake batter. Try peanut butter chips for a tasty peanut butter chocolate combo.
- Toppings: Instead of walnuts, sprinkle your cake with toasted pecans, chopped almonds, shredded coconut, or simply dust with powdered sugar.
- Buttermilk: Substitute the sour cream with ½ cup buttermilk and 1 extra tablespoon butter for a more authentic Texan chocolate cake.
- Coffee: Bring out more chocolate flavor by adding 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or substitute black coffee for the water.
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HOW TO STORE TEXAS SHEET CAKE
- Serve: Cover your sheet pan with plastic wrap and keep Texas Sheet Cake at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Store: A Texas Sheet Cake can be refrigerated, covered tightly, for 1 week. Bring to room temperature to serve.
- Freeze: Wrap cooled cake tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw uncovered on the counter.
Chocolate Cake Batter
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10x15 inch sheet pan or jelly roll pan.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat in the sour cream and eggs. Set aside.
- Melt the butter on low in a saucepan, add the water and 5 tablespoons cocoa. Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat.
- Allow to cool slightly, then stir cocoa mixture into the egg mixture, mixing until blended.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Frost cake while warm and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- In a large saucepan, combine the milk, 5 tablespoons cocoa and ½ cup butter. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, mixing until blended. Pour frosting over warm cake. Top with walnuts.