Easy Texas sheet cake recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft chocolate cake is paired with warm poured chocolate icing or glaze that slightly hardens when set. Made in a jelly roll pan or half sheet pan.
This is a great treat to bring to your next potluck! It truly is a crowd favorite! Don't have much time before you need to head out the door? No problem. This recipe has you covered. From start to finish, it will be done in 30 minutes. If you love this chocolate delight, you would also want to check out my Moist Triple Chocolate Cake (From Scratch) and Chocolate Raspberry Cake (With Cake Mix).
How to make Texas sheet cake recipe from scratch?
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt- And keep aside.
- Add butter, water, and cocoa powder in saucepan- And bring to a boil.
- Mix wet and dry mixtures- Until combined.
- Add remaining ingredients- This includes buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract.
- Pour batter- In prepared pan.
- Bake- Until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Prepare icing- By cooking milk, butter, cocoa powder in a saucepan.
- Remove from heat- And mix in mix in vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
- Spread icing-On on top of warm cake.
- Cool- Until icing is set.
What makes Texas cake different? Why is it called that? How did it get its name?
This cake is different than a regular chocolate cake because it is baked in a sheet pan like brownies. It's also paired with a very unique cooked icing. It gets its name, mainly because that is where it first originated. Some also speculate that because this sheet cake is huge, it matches the phrase that "everything is bigger in Texas."
Grandma’s Texas sheet cake frosting
It is also called poured chocolate icing or warm glaze. It's made by simmering milk, butter, and cocoa powder in a nonstick saucepan. Then you take the pan off the heat and whisk in vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Be sure to sift the powdered sugar so that your frosting is smooth and not lumpy. Make sure to pour warm icing on warm cake so that it dries and sets slightly hard.
Variations for classic old fashioned Texas chocolate sheet cake with buttermilk
Buttermilk substitute- You can make homemade buttermilk by mixing 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 cup whole milk. Then let it sit for 5 minutes. You can also substitute with full fat sour cream.
Replace water with brewed coffee- This intensifies the chocolate flavor.
Try a different frosting- Chocolate Ganache Frosting would be a great alternative to frost the top of this cake. Some other great ones to try are Peanut Butter Frosting, German Chocolate Cake Frosting (Coconut Pecan Frosting) or this Cinnamon Roll Icing.
Top with fruit- Add some fresh fruits such as sliced strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.
Add nuts- Chopped pecans, walnuts, or peanuts would make a great addition in the icing.
Add zests and extracts- Only vanilla extract was used in this recipe but try other flavors for a twist.
Tips and techniques
Use full fat ingredients- For a better richer treat with a more fluffy texture, because the fat mixed with sugar creates more air in the cake.
You must use use baking soda- Not baking powder, because it has has more power to make your cake rise and fluff up.
You must sift powdered sugar- Because it prevents unwanted lumps.
Don’t over-mix cake batter- Because otherwise your cake won't be as fluffy and may collapse!
Ice a warm cake- Don’t let it cool down! Although this isn't usually my suggestion, for this recipe you want the cake warm, because it allows some of the icing to be absorbed into the cake. This creates a wonderfully gooey texture.
What cake pan/ size to use?- Use an 18x13 half sheet pan.
Can I use sour cream? Yes, you can replace the buttermilk with sour cream.
How long does it take icing to set?- Allow the frosting to set for 20-30 minutes. If you prefer firmer icing, allow the frosted cake to continue cooling for 1-2 hours or you can chill in the fridge for 45 minutes- 1 hour.
Use unsalted butter- Because it prevents the cake from becoming too salty.
How to keep cake from sticking to pan? Make sure you are generously greasing and flouring it. Some people prefer lining with parchment paper.
Refrigerator- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
Freezer- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for up to 1 month. Before serving, thaw in the fridge overnight.
More Chocolate cake recipes
- Vegan Chocolate Cake (Eggless Cake)
- German Chocolate Cake (With Cake Mix)
- Chocolate Cake Roll (With Cake Mix)
- Chocolate Marshmallow Cake (Heart Cake)
- Chocolate Pound Cake (With Cake Mix)
- Chocolate Brownie Cake
- Chocolate Coffee Cake
- Chocolate Caramel Cake
- Chocolate Molten Lava Cake (Crockpot)
- Easy Black Forest Cake (With Cake Mix)
- Chocolate Bundt Cake (From Scratch)
- Depression Cake (Wacky Cake)
- Easy Chocolate Oreo Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Popcorn Cake
Texas Sheet Cake (From Scratch)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and keep aside.
- Place a nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add butter, water, cocoa powder.
- Mix and bring to a boil. There should be no lumps and mixture should be smooth.
- Add this chocolate mixture in the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until partially combined.
- Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
- Pour batter in a greased and floured half sheet pan (Dimensions: 18x13) and spread it evenly with a spatula.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- When the cake is halfway through baking, prepare the frosting/ glaze.
- Place a nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add milk, butter, cocoa powder.
- Mix and bring to a simmer. The mixture should be smooth.
- Remove from heat and mix in vanilla extract, powdered sugar until glaze is smooth.
- Stir in chopped pecans, if you like. I didn't add them.
- Remove cake from pan and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Then, pour the hot icing on on top of the warm cake and spread it evenly with a spatula.
- Allow the frosting to set for 20-30 and then cut slices and enjoy. It will be slightly warm and ooey gooey. If you prefer your icing to set firmer, let the frosted cake continue cooling further at room temperature for 1-2 hours or you can chill in the fridge for 45 minutes- 1 hour.
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.