Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake

Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake - this is the old classic recipe and it's so good!!

Texas Sheet cake – it’s so inexpensive, so delicious and best of all, so easy and manageable. This is the recipe you want when your child’s school has a picnic, when you’re invited to a potluck or family reunion, when a bake sale is happening!

Texas Sheet Cake
Texas Sheet Cake

It’s a ridiculously good cake, full of chocolate flavor and perfect for eating out of hand! You probably know it: Texas Sheet Cake is the cake with the crinkly icing. That’s because the icing is drizzled over the warm cake.

It really has three layers: the chocolate cake, the center, which is a thin layer that’s almost fudgy and then the icing. Num. Awhile back, Cook’s Illustrated put out a recipe that “fixed” the Texas Sheet Cake and eliminated that fudginess. For shame!

Texas Sheet Cake

I tried it (and of course it WAS good) but we like this tried and true recipe better! I’m pretty sure this was a Paula Dean recipe, although I think this is one of those recipes that has been passed so long no one knows where it came from, originally. Aren’t they the best?

Remember awhile back when I posted the recipe for Banana Sheet Cake? I mentioned I was hesitant to post a recipe on my frugal blog that required one to have a “specialty” pan, and then listed all the reasons why it might make good sense to go and buy one!

Texas Sheet Cake is one of those reasons!

Texas Sheet Cake
Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, 2 sticks, cut in several pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease a Sheet Pan (I use a 10 1/2 by 15 inches, but an 18 x 12 x 1 pan will work, also) with butter, oil, or cooking spray.

In a medium-sized saucepan, add cocoa. Slowly add water, whisking as you add. Make sure to get into the corners. Place over medium high heat and then add the two sticks of butter, stirring as mixture comes to a boil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix  together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the cocoa/butter mixture all at once and stir in. Whisk together eggs and sour cream. Add to bowl and gently stir together.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes depending on size of pan. Do not over bake; cake will continue to cook for a moment or two out of pan.

Chocolate Icing:

    • 4 tablespoons cocoa
    • 6 tablespoons milk
    • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) cut into several pieces
    • 1 pound powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla

About 10 minutes before cake is done, begin to prepare the icing. In a large saucepan, add cocoa. Slowly whisk in the milk. Turn on the heat to medium high, then stir in the cut butter and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat & off the heat, stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. The icing should be thin enough to pour – if not whisk in another tablespoon milk.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle the warm frosting mixture over the top. Let cool on a rack until frosting sets up before serving. This cake takes about two hours to completely cool – if you can wait that long!

You may wish to add a cop of chopped pecans, sprinkled across the icing or quickly mark off where slices will be and add a pecan or Candied Pecan to the center of each slice.


Based on 24 servings: calories 302; Total Fat 13 g 21 %; Saturated Fat 8 g 41 %; Monounsaturated Fat 4 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 51 mg 17 %; Sodium 220 mg 9 %; Potassium 62 mg 2 %; Total Carbohydrate 45 g 15 %; Dietary Fiber 1 g 4 %; Sugars 36 g; Protein 2 g 5 %; Vitamin A 8 %; Vitamin C 0 %; Calcium 2 %; Iron 5 %


19 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake”


    I’ve been DYING to look for some chocolate dessert that I can make in the understocked kitchen of my boyfriend’s apartment!
    And he lived in Texas for like 8 years, so this is PERFECT.

    Pictures are gorg, as always. I think what really gets me is that thin crinkly frosting top. <3

    1. Thanks so much! If he’s home-sick for his Texas years, I think he might propose if you make this – be careful! LOL! Vanilla ice-cream never hurt on this either!

      1. He’s from new england, and now he’s in the nyc metropolitan area with me. 😛 you know how it is with men, college was their glory days. he’s counting THE DAYS until his company sends him back to houston for work for 2 weeks!!!

    1. LOL! Make lots of friends and bake the cake – or bake the cake TO make lots of friends! haha! I don’t think it would be a good one to freeze…It’s just a down home, humble recipe.

      1. I remember making a wonderful rolled cake filled with whipped cream and cherries and giving it away the same day after eating one slice and saving a second for the next day. Luckily the man who cuts my grass was over and I could give him the rest to share with his family. I’m a generous person but I have my limits … so I don’t make those kinds of recipes TOO often. 🙂

        1. I can relate! These sheet pans are perfect for those kinds of rolled cakes! Once after a party with a lot of left overs I took a tray of goodies around to the neighbors! haha! It was for my daughter’s 16th birthday, so none of the kids were interested in taking anything home.

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