Texas Sheet Cake

In April of 2005 I was living in College Station, Texas going to Texas A&M.  My roommates and I took the Houston Chronicle, and I pulled this recipe from the newspaper and stashed it away in my recipe box one day in late April of 2005.  I found it this weekend…roughly 4 years later.  


I am not sure why this is called Texas sheet cake…but I am proud that it is!  I did find a little information about the history of this cake, but nothing saying it actually originated in the Lone Star state.  This excerpt is from TheFoodTimeline.org.

Question: Where does Texas Sheet Cake get its name? 
A) From the super-chocolatey taste, as big as Texas. 
B) From the fact that the taste is so intense, people can eat only a small piece – meaning one cake will serve a Texas-size crowd. 
C) From its overall richness – a big taste in a big cake from a state that was super sizing things long before fast-food places were. 
D) All of the above. 
The answer, if you’ve ever tasted the famous cake, has got to be D. Texas Sheet Cake is chocolate through and through, rich and decadent. As for whether it originally came from Texas, I couldn’t find a definite answer. But Lone Star cooks were smart to get their state’s name on something that tastes so good.
— “A chocolate cake from the land of the super-sized,” Ann Burger, The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), January 28, 2001, G, Pg. 6

This cake is so moist and chocolatey.  The cake itself is sweet, light and moist.  The fudgy frosting is spread on to the cake while it is still warm, so some of the frosting melts a little into the cake.  The sprinkle of toasted pecans on top are not only a good textural contrast, but add some Texas (or at least Southern) flavor.  A cold glass of milk or scoop of vanilla ice cream are great accompaniments.

Texas Sheet Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Grease and flour a 9×13, 10×15, or 2 9-inch round pans.  Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  3. Combine water, butter, oil, cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the cocoa mixture over the flour mixture and stir together just until smooth.
  5. In a small bowl whisk eggs, buttermilk and vanilla then add to batter and stir together.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
  7. Baking Times: 9×13 – 25 minutes, 10×15 – 20 minutes, 9-inch rounds – 25 minutes.  Check cakes about 5 minutes before baking is completed to avoid over baking.
  8. Let cake cool for 5-10 minutes, then frost with chocolate frosting and sprinkle with chopped, toasted pecans.


Chocolate Frosting


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  1. Cream butter and cocoa in a large bowl.
  2. Add the milk and beat until smooth.
  3. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions scraping down sides of bowl between additions.
  4. Add vanilla and beat well.