Texas Sheet Cake

A chocolate sheet cake the size of Texas! This thin cake is blanketed with a warm, pourable frosting and topped with pecans. It's definitely a crowd-pleaser!

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 36 servings


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (8.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk, whole or 2 percent
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (4.5 ounces)

Special equipment:


1 Preheat the oven and prep the pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or butter a half-sheet pan (13x18 inches) and line the bottom with parchment.

2 Combine the dry ingredients: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

3 Make the batter: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter, water, and cocoa powder. Whisk until melted and smooth, and then bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from the heat.

Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the hot cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients until combined. Beat in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, followed by the baking soda, until combined.

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake melt the butter Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

4 Bake the cake: Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool briefly, about 5 to 10 minutes, while you make the frosting.

Texas Sheet Cake Recipe pour the batter

5 Frost the cake: As soon as the cake is done baking and on the cooling rack, combine the butter, cocoa, and milk for the frosting together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Beat in the powdered sugar with an electric mixer or by hand.

Pour the hot frosting over the still-warm cake and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with chopped pecans or other topping.

Allow to set, then serve immediately or cool completely and cover to serve later. You can also wrap the cake well in foil or plastic wrap and freeze.

Texas Sheet Cake Frosting combine the frosting ingredients  Best Texas Sheet Cake beat in the confectioners sugar Easy Texas Sheet Cake pour on the frosting

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  • Irma J Giddeon

    Love this recipe, have used it for many, many years. We called it yum yum chocolate cake bake in the day!


  • Sherry

    I’ve tried multiple recipes over the years… This one was served at our neighborhood block party and very well received. This recipe created a cake that was light and fluffy topped with a just-gooey-enough icing and crunchy pecans. My new favorite version of an old favorite recipe.


  • Linda

    Cake was not deep chocolate and the frosting was too fudgy and grainy although I beat it thoroughly with an electric mixer. I was really disappointed.


  • sonya

    I have been making this cake for over 50 years. This is a family favorite and frequently requested by friends. Your recipe is exactly how I make mine.

  • Karen

    I made it for a community event, it’s all gone!


  • Ivona

    I’ve been making this for years as well…Like one of the previous posters, I also add some cinnamon to the batter, and, often, a little bit of cayenne pepper as well (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp, just enough to leave a tingle on my tongue if I taste the dry ingredients).

  • Shirley

    I’ve made a recipe similar to this and it was fantastic. Mine used 3/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup butter. It used sour cream rather than buttermilk and extra egg yolks. But pretty much the same recipe. I fixed it for a wake I catered and it was really a hit. I also took it to a pot luck reunion and again it was a hit. You won’t regret making this. Just know that you may have to share it with neighbors, friends and relatives as it makes a large cake and it is rich but oh so yummy.

  • Margaret

    I use chocolate chips as the frosting and when melted spead with an offset knife
    and sprinkle with the pecans. Always a hit with the family and potlucks. Yum yum yum!!!

  • Barbara

    Try adding 1tsp cinnamon to the batter. I never tried adding to frosting, too. Was baking this cake 45 years ago

  • Marta Rivera

    Of course I had to make it! I’m deep in the heart of Texas! It was a hit amongst the 20-odd Soldiers we served it to here in Fort Hood.


  • Victoria

    Um, I’ve never made this cake before but it sounds AMAZING!

    • Nikki

      Better with butter milk I make the same exact recipe without the salt instead of milk I do buttermilk

      • Sequoia

        Me too!

  • Susan

    I’m a 5th generation Texan and yes, this is the real deal. It is at every summer family reunion and neighborhood bbq. If you are lucky, another family brings homemade vanilla ice cream.


  • Kathleen

    I’ve been making a variation of this for a million years, but the last time I made it, I used half milk and half bourbon in the frosting. It was an excellent life decision.

  • Karol

    Try adding a heaping tsp of cinnamon to the cake and the icing. Then it will be a REAL Texas sheet cake!