Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

A few Sundays ago the women at my church provided lunch.  They created a crowd pleasing menu that consisted of Strawberry Spinach Salad, King Ranch Casserole, and Texas Sheet Cake.  Anytime someone else cooks my family and I lunch on a Sunday afternoon I'm happy.  This Texas worthy menu, however, made me ecstatic.  Adding to the anticipation was the fact that the entire day before the luncheon the women who were doing the cooking were updating their Facebook statuses about dicing onions, roasting chickens, and baking chocolate cakes.  I knew this was going to be delicious!

I provided a Texas Sheet Cake for the occasion and was pleased to dig out a recipe that my mother had written back in the 1980's.  Although I didn't step foot into Texas until a few years ago, I did know about Texas Sheet Cake.  I vaguely remember first having this dessert at a picnic and then my mom copying the recipe before we left the gathering.  It seems my mom had trouble tracking down a sheet cake pan which is 16 by 12 inches instead of the standard 9 by 13 inches that she used most of the time, but when she did my dad and I were glad.  This recipe brought the name of Texas to our Maryland home.

The cake is made from scratch with basic pantry ingredients such as cocoa, flour and baking soda.  The addition of sour cream gives this confection a nice moistness and the nuts add a subtle crunch.  My favorite part of the Texas Sheet Cake is the cooked chocolate icing.  Because this homemade frosting is added to the cake while it is still slightly warm, it fuses with the layer of cake and creates a nice dense topping.

At our church luncheon, I enjoyed the Spinach Strawberry Salad and the King Ranch Casserole.   I'm working on tracking down those recipes and hope to share them in the future.  I also had fun comparing the Texas Sheet Cakes that many women had contributed.  My husband and kids tried to pick out mine from the sea of dessert plates.  Although my recipe originated in Maryland I think it is Texas worthy and would be delicious served in any state.

Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup water
5 Tablespoons cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans.)

  1. Spray a sheet cake pan (16 x 12 inches) with baker's spray or butter and flour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Whisk together sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Bring butter, water, and cocoa to a boil.  Turn off heat. 
  5. Add wet mixture (butter, water, and cocoa) to dry ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda).  Gently mix.
  6. Blend in eggs (one at a time) and sour cream.  Mix just until combined.
  7. Fold in nuts.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with only a few crumbs.
  10. Meanwhile, cook frosting.
  11. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan.  Frost the slightly warm cake.
  12. Cut into squares and serve directly from the sheet pan.

Texas Sheet Cake Frosting Recipe

1/2 cup butter
5 Tablespoons cocoa
1 pound confectioner's sugar (a.k.a. 10x sugar)
6 Tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans.)
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Bring butter, cocoa, and milk to a light boil.
  2. Remove from heat and slowly mix in confectioner's sugar and vanilla.  Beat well.
  3. Fold in nuts.
  4. Spread over slightly warm cake.


    1. Hi Heidi,
      I loved your post about the sheet cake. Your Mothers recipe card is precious. The recipe looks very good, and having it with your church fellowship would make it better. We are happy to claim it here in Texas! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful cake with us at Full Plate Thursday and please come back.