Texas Sheet Cake

Okay, so do you remember how months ago, I asked if I should post the Fauxtisserie Chicken or Texas Sheet Cake? Heck, most of you probably weren’t even around back then! Anyway, today’s your day; I’ve had this baby sitting on my computer for months now. Now…I have a little secret for y’all. I’m doing the South Beach Diet. Don’t worry, I have no intention of posting anything less than extraordinarily delicious–in fact, I may go in the opposite direction. I find that when I’m dieting, I think a lot about food; the last time I dieted hard-core was when I started this whole obsession with cooking, so have no fear. And sweets are the forbidden fruit, so you may be seeing a lot of those in the very near future!

In my home growing up, Texas Sheet Cake was the “Oh, crap, I have a baby shower/birthday party/church function to attend and I’m supposed to bring a dessert” default. Which is ironic because none of us are from Texas. But it’s a good thing the cake is so dang good–it definitely compensates for the fact that someone’s special day was forgotten. There are other chocolate sheet cake recipes out there, but the one absolutely ESSENTIAL addition to this recipe is the cinnamon–don’t even think about leaving it out. Chocolate and cinnamon, you ask? Just do it. You won’t be sorry. Well, your hips might be–and when I say “your” hips, I mean it–I just had a snack of celery sticks and lowfat cheese. It was not Texas Sheet Cake no matter HOW hard I closed my eyes.
Texas Sheet Cake
½ c. real butter
½ c. shortening
2 1-oz. squares unsweetened baking chocolate
½ c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. butter
2 1-oz. squares baking chocolate
1 lb. powdered sugar
½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 11 x 17 jelly roll pan (you can also use a 9×13 pan, but you may die of sugar shock–there’s something to be said for spreading the love in this recipe).

2. Combine ½ c. butter, ½ c. shortening, 2 oz. chocolate, and water in a small saucepan. Heat until chocolate is melted.
3. In a separate small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, buttermilk, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla. Combine with chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture and mix very well. Pour into pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until a pick comes out clean. Five minutes before cake is done, make frosting.


Combine milk, chocolate, and butter in a large (or medium-large) saucepan. Heat until bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. If desired, add 1 c. nuts (optional, preferably chopped walnuts or pecans). While icing is still warm, pour over cake.



  1. When you said “Texas” sheet cake, I was envisioning, I don’t know, a yellow cake in the shape of Texas with a weird kind of frosting on top. I didn’t realize it meant chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! Life would only be better right now if I had one sitting in front of me with a fork in my hand!

  2. We had a similar go to cake in my family! Our Texas cake was made with cocoa, but it was baked in a sheet pan, and the frosting was similar. It was always a crowd pleaser!

  3. yum, that looks really good. I can’t resist a good chocolate cake. I usually just make mine from a box so this will be fun to try.

  4. I’m really good at phase *1* of southbeach, but that’s about as long as I can take of life without unrefined carbs, lol. Good luck!

    The cake sounds great- I love Texas sheet cake!

  5. Texas sheet cake was my mom’s default dessert when I was growing up, too! I love it, and I’m diabetic, so I might just have to “make this for my family” and steal a bite or two.

  6. Mmmm this looks WONDERFUL. I don’t think I have ever met a Texas sheet cake that I didn’t like- or any cake that I didn’t like, really!

    Good luck with the SB diet. The first time I tried it, I lost about 40 lbs the semester I was home, it was great! That happened because i followed it religiously. Now the best I can do is about 4 days on phase one before I eat a donut 🙁 If only I would just stick with the changes I made when I was on it!
    (BTW, I reccomend it to anyone that has the desire to really change their eating habits! And that doesn’t mean that you will never be able to try this awesome cake, either 🙂

  7. I'm looking to make a 2 layer square cake for my son's 2nd birthday. Would this be doable with the cake recipe? If not, do you have any layer chocolate cake recipes?
    Love your blog!!

  8. I love Texas Sheet Cake! I've been wanting to make it for ages, but didn't know where to find a recipe (except Google, and didn't want to make a bad one) So glad you linked back to it.

  9. Our family has always made this for get-togethers or giving out with candies at Christmas time. We always liked crushed peanuts on top. Everybody loved it.

  10. I’m from Texas (still live here, don’t plan on going no where else either) and my Mom makes a amazing sheet cake that sounds alot like this one… except she doesn’t use crisco.
    I can’t wait to get your book… I keep meaning too!

  11. I am a native Texan and grew up eating this cake! My grandmother Yancey would add chopped pecans to the frosting. I never could wait for the cake to cool before cutting into it had to have a piece while it was still hot! Yum! Thank you for posting and bring back memories!

  12. Can you clarify your recipe please does it say 21 oz squares baking chocolate ?
    2 1 oz squares or baking chocolate ?!!! Ie 2 oz!
    Many thanks x

  13. Just wondering, is there a difference in flavor or texture with unsweetened vs. cocoa powder? Can they be interchanged?

    1. They *can* be interchanged, but you have to rehydrate the powder with oil and water and I can’t remember exactly what the proportions are–check the packaging or google it. 🙂

    2. Just in case anyone else has a “I-need-this-cake-and-I-need-this-now moment” and then discovers they also do not have chocolate baking squares:
      1 oz unsweetened baking square = 3 tbls cocoa powder + 1 tbls fat (butter, shortening or oil)

  14. Just need clarification about the chocolate baking squares…should they be unsweetened or semi-sweet baking chocolate? Thank you for your assistance.

  15. This cake is so easy, turns out great every time, and is incredibly good! As with any chocolate cake I make (from mix or scratch), I substitute coffee for the water. You don’t taste the coffee in the cake, but it enhances the chocolate flavor. I keep a small bottle of instant coffee grounds in my pantry for times that I don’t have brewed coffee in the coffee pot.

  16. I doubled the recipe and made two sheet pans, one to take to a pot luck and the other for my family. I cut the one I kept and put it in the freezer for my kids’ lunches. Used cocoa power and it tured out great! (3 Tbsp cocoa plus 1 Tbsp butter = 1 oz unsweetened chocolate).

  17. Not most seasoned baker over here… I made this recipe but used milk chocolate baking bar Ghirardelli The batter turned out very light in color. Is the milk chocolate the problem? I ended up adding cocoa powder and some sugar to try to help fix it but I have no clue what’s going to happen. Can I get some insight? Shoot!!

    1. Yeah, the milk chocolate is the problem—it has added fat and sugar. You’ll definitely want to use the unsweetened chocolate next time. How did it turn out?

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