Home Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

by elyn_ryn

Moist chocolate cake with a pour-on fudgy frosting dotted with chopped pecans. Texas Sheet Cake is not only for chocolate lovers but also for anyone who loves a moist cake with an irresistible frosting. This cake is baked in an extra-large baking pan and makes a one-inch layer cake. The poured-on frosting is added to the warm cake and spread out with a spatula. It sounds easy to make–and it is! In fact, it is the easiest cake recipe I’ve ever made!

Vintage 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 very easy to make. You do not need a mixer to make it and it uses pantry ingredients that 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 and was popular, spreading across Texas and the South, becoming a staple at funerals because it could feed a crowd.

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. 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. It is an easy cake to make with pantry staples most people have on hand. You do not need a mixer to make this cake, and the frosting is made in a pan while the cake cooks and then poured over the hot cake as soon as it comes out of the oven—breaking all traditional cake-making rules.

A Single Layer Cake

This cake is baked in a single layer on a large sheet pan. Spray the pan before starting so the cake doesn’t stick.

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. 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.

Leave the cake uncovered as it cools so condensation doesn’t drip back onto the frosting.

Great Choice for Casual Entertaining

Texas sheet cake served at a July 4th party.

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
Print Recipe
Texas Sheet Cake
An easy-to-make chocolate cake with pour-on chocolate frosting and pecans
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Cake
Frosting
Equipment
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Cake
Frosting
Equipment
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray the pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add the flour, granulated sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl; set aside.
  3. Use a medium-sized saucepan to heat the butter, water, and cocoa until it boils. Then remove it from the heat and pour it over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir until the mixture is well-mixed. Add the buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla, and eggs. Stir until blended well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake.
Frosting
  1. Use a large, clean saucepan to make the frosting. Melt the butter over medium heat and add the cocoa powder and salt. Stir to mix.
  2. Remove from the heat and add half and half, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix well. Add the pecans and stir. Pour the frosting over the warm cake and then spread it with a spatula.
Recipe Notes

The frosting can be made without the pecans and will still be delicious.

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