Texas Sheet Cake is a tender chocolate cake with a pour-on fudgy frosting dotted with chopped pecans. It is baked in an extra-large baking pan called a half-sheet cookie pan and makes a one-inch layer cake. As soon as it comes out of the oven, you can pour on its delicious chocolate frosting and spread it with a spatula. It sounds easy to make–and it is! In fact, it is the easiest cake recipe I’ve ever made!
Vintage Texas Sheet Cake Recipe
I love to modernize antique and vintage recipes from old recipe books. For a recipe to be considered antique, it must be at least 100 years old, while vintage recipes must be at least 20 years old. This vintage recipe is easy to make, and you do not need a mixer to beat it. The best part is that its ingredient list relies on common pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand.
History of Texas Sheet Cake
No one knows where this chocolate sheet cake originated or how it got its name. Similar recipes have been published in Texas newspapers dating back to 1936 but have also appeared in newspapers outside of Texas. According to Southern Living, a cake recipe published in 1957 in a Dallas newspaper might have given the cake its name. The recipe included chocolate, buttermilk, and pecans. Additionally, it was popular, spreading across Texas and the South, becoming a staple at funerals because it could feed a crowd.
How Texas Sheet Cake Got its Name
There is also speculation that this cake got its name because, just like the state of Texas, it is extra-large, therefore a Texas-sized cake. Or did it get its name because of the pecans in the frosting, which are so plentiful in Texas? There are plenty of guesses, but no one seems to know the true origins of this cake. Many recipe books have similar cakes with different names: chocolate sheet cake, German chocolate cake, Texas cake, brownie cake, Mexican chocolate cake, etc. However, the common elements that all the recipes share are buttermilk, chocolate, baking the cake in a large jelly-roll pan, and a finished 1-inch tall cake.
A Single Layer Cake
This cake is baked in a single layer on a large 13 x 18-inch (approximately) sheet pan which is also called a half-sheet cookie pan. Spray the pan before starting to prevent the cake from sticking. Alternatively, you can also brush it with a thin layer of cooking oil or shortening.
No Mixer Needed for Texas Sheet Cake
Unlike many other cake recipes, this cake doesn’t require you to cream the butter and sugar together. Instead, melt the butter, add water to it, and dissolve the cocoa powder. Then pour it over the dry cake ingredients. Finally, stir in everything left on the ingredient list, and your cake is ready to add to the pan.
Heated Chocolate Frosting
The frosting is heated in a pan. Be sure to use a clean pan and not the one used for the cake ingredients because the butter left on the sides of the pan can scorch and get into the frosting.
It is not necessary to cook the frosting. Just melt the butter and stir in the cocoa powder and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until mixed well, and then pour it over the warm cake. Unlike most cake recipes, you do not have to cool this cake before adding the frosting.
Texas Sheet Cake is a Great Choice for Casual Entertaining
This decadent and filling cake is great for entertaining because you can get several servings out of just one layer. Cut the cake into 3- or 4-inch pieces to make these servings:
- 3-inch square slices make approximately 26 pieces
- 4-inch square slices make approximately 14 pieces
Other Chocolate Recipes You Might Like
- German Chocolate Cupcakes
- Terrarium Chocolate Cupcakes
- Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty Copycat
- Chocolate Crispy Cereal Treats
- Chocolate Tarts
- Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
- Hot Chocolate Bombs
- Spicy Hot Chocolate
- Chocolate Pecan Caramels