Texas Sheet Cake and Icing

Texas Sheet Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
585 Calories
27g Fat
85g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 585
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 16g 81%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 285mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 85g 31%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 3g
Calcium 51mg 4%
*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.)

Texas sheet cake may be so named because of its size, but ask any proper Texan and they can likely recite a family secret for making "the best." Featuring a signature Texas ingredient, pecans, the moist chocolaty cake looks unpretentious, like brownies, but it makes an undeniably rich statement on the dessert table. Take one to a backyard barbecue or anywhere you want to feed a crowd. The sturdy cake can even stand up to

The classic recipe generally calls for buttermilk, but this updated version substitutes sour cream for a pleasantly acidic flavor and a particularly moist and tender texture.


  • For Cake:
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Icing:
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar (sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Combine 1 cup butter, the water, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat; stir constantly until the butter melts. Add the sugar, flour, salt, eggs, soda, sour cream, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla; mix well.

  2. Pour the batter into a 15-by-10-by-1-inch jelly roll pan or sheet cake pan.

  3. Bake the cake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake should pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back when you touch it.

  4. Ice the hot cake immediately following the instructions below.

Prepare the Icing

  1. With about 10 minutes left on the timer, prepare the icing. Combine 1/2 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of cocoa, and milk in a saucepan; bring it to a boil then pull it off the heat.

  2. Add the confectioners sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla; blend the icing with an electric hand mixer until you fully incorporate the sugar. Stir in the pecans and pour the icing over the hot cake.

  3. With a spatula or knife, spread the icing to the edges.

  4. Let the cake cool, then cut it into squares to serve. 


  • Replace the water in the batter with brewed black coffee, cooled to room temperature, for a mocha flavored cake.
  • Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the batter to make a Mexican chocolate cake.
  • Substitute chopped walnuts, almonds, or peanuts for the pecans. Or omit them altogether for a nut-free version.
  • Leave out the cocoa powder when you make the batter and the icing for a white Texas sheet cake version.