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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
237 Calories
11g Fat
34g Carbs
2g Protein
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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.)

A beloved recipe in the Lone-Star State, Texas sheet cake is the ideal dessert to feed a crowd. It is traditionally made with buttermilk, so to complement the cake, this version includes a chocolate buttermilk frosting. Although optional, the chopped pecans are one reason this dessert is truly Texan as the buttery nut is native to the state. They also add a wonderful texture and flavor and can either be mixed into the frosting or sprinkled on top.

Unlike most recipes, you want to add the frosting while the cake is still warm, so be sure to make the frosting while the cake is finishing in the oven.


  • For the Cake:
  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 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
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the Chocolate Frosting: 
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, or as needed
  • 1 pound (about 3 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 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 x 15-inch rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan); set aside.

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

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

  5. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. Add the 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 for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Make the Frosting

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

  4. If desired, stir the coarsely chopped pecans into the warm frosting.

Frost the Cake

  1. Pour the warm chocolate frosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly. Top the frosted cake with chopped pecans if desired. 

  2. Place the cake in the pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly before cutting.

  3. Enjoy.

Buttermilk Substitutes

If you don't have buttermilk, there are several ways you can substitute. For 1 cup of buttermilk use:

  • Milk and an Acid: Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.
  • Sour Cream: Combine 3/4 cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup of water.
  • Yogurt: 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 should be almost thin enough to pour onto the cake. It will firm as it cools.