Texas Sheet Cake With Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting

Classic Texas-style sheet cake

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
237 Calories
11g Fat
34g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 237
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 168mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 2g
Calcium 27mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a classic chocolate buttermilk Texas sheet cake with a chocolate buttermilk frosting. Finish this cake with a sprinkling of chopped pecans or leave them out.

If you don't have buttermilk, there are several ways you can substitute. See the buttermilk substitutes below the recipe.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (see below for substitutes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Frosting: 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, or as needed
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, about 3 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Prepare the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 10- by 15-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan); set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  4. In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa, and water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

  5. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven about 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  7. Spread the warm chocolate frosting (below) over the warm cake, spreading evenly. Place cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly before cutting.

Make the Frosting

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, and buttermilk. Blend well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

  3. Sift confectioners' sugar and add it to the cocoa and buttermilk mixture along with vanilla. Beat until smooth, adding more buttermilk or confectioners' sugar, as needed.

  4. If desired, stir coarsely chopped pecans into the warm frosting or top the frosted cake with chopped pecans. 

  5. Spread the warm frosting over the cake.

Buttermilk Substitutes

If you don't have buttermilk, there are several ways you can substitute. Here are a few:

  • Sour Milk: For 1 cup of sour milk, put 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add milk to the 1-cup line and let it stand for about 5 minutes. It will look curdled, but it's fine to use in the recipe.

  • Sour Cream: For 1 cup of buttermilk substitute, combine 3/4 cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup of water.

  • Yogurt: For 1 cup of buttermilk substitute, combine 3/4 cup of plain yogurt with 1/4 cup of water. For this cake, you may use vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt.


  • The frosting is a little scant for a larger sheet cake, so do feel free to double the frosting, and add more milk, as needed. It should be almost thin enough to pour onto the cake. It will firm as it cools.