The BEST Texas Sheet Cake

The BEST Texas Sheet Cake is a dream! Soft chocolate cake baked in a half sheet pan and frosted with warm old fashioned chocolate frosting makes this classic cake the BEST! It feeds a crowd and will be a hit at any gathering!

easy Texas Sheet Cake in a half sheet pan

What is Texas Sheet Cake?

What is Texas Sheet Cake? It’s a classic single layer sheet cake that I am sure you have eaten at some point!

Maybe you have even tried making it! If you have, you know it has a few steps that include, boiling and heating ingredients over the stove! But the end result is amazing! It is totally worth the effort…and it is easy!

I don’t know if Texas Sheet Cake really comes from Texas. I just know it is a classic sheet cake that reminds me of potlucks, picnics, and total southern hospitality. Maybe that is where it gets its name?! It feeds a crowd and is perfect for any social gathering!

A slice of soft chocolate easy Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake (I assume depending on region) can be a yellow cake or a chocolate cake. Either one can be considered a Texas Sheet Cake. But this is a cake recipe for the Best Chocolate Sheet Cake…and it is good!

Classic Sheet Cake is made with buttermilk usually. It helps make the cake soft and gives it the fluffy cake crumb.

But I want my cake even richer, softer and more moist! So I use Sour Cream! It truly makes this easy Texas Sheet Cake the BEST!

Your Stove Top is needed for Texas Sheet Cake!

How you make a Texas Sheet Cake is different than a regular cake where you just mix the ingredients in a bowl.

Texas Sheet Cake requires a saucepan, a burner and some heat for the cake batter and the frosting!

For the cake batter you will heat your butter, cocoa and some water over medium heat. Then it has to cool for 15 minutes-set that timer! Then this chocolate butter mixture is added to the other cake batter ingredients.

butter, water and cocoa heated over low heat in a saucepan on the stove top for  easy Texas Sheet Cake
ingredients for the cake batter heated on the stove
butter and milk heated on med-low heat in saucepan on the stove for the frosting for  easy Texas Sheet Cake
ingredients for the frosting heated on the stove

You will need to heat some of your frosting ingredients on the stove also! Get your saucepan out again and heat your milk and butter together until it is fully melted. Almost on the verge of boiling, just starting to steam up. Then off the stove it comes to finish it off and frost the cake!

The stove top and heating of ingredients adds a few steps to this cake, but it is worth it! And it is simple!

The Pan for Texas Sheet Cake

Many people bake their Texas Sheet Cakes in a Jelly Roll Pan. I prefer a half sheet pan, and yes their is a difference! I always prefer using a half sheet pan! I don’t even own a jelly roll pan! (See below for the half sheet pans I have and love!)

half sheet pan of the BEST easy  texas sheet cake

The jelly roll pan is typically a sheet pan or baking sheet that is rimmed and measures about 10×15 inches.

While a half sheet pan (what I always use) is rimmed and measures about 13×18 inches. So it is a little bit bigger, and makes a bit thinner cake, which I prefer!

You can use a jelly roll pan for this recipe. It may need to cook a few more minutes because the cake will be thicker in a smaller pan!

Making the Easy Texas Sheet Cake Batter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your half sheet pan (or jelly roll pan).

Like I mentioned before, you need a sauce pan (medium sized) for part of the cake batter and 2 bowls (medium to large size).

First, take your butter and cut it into pieces.

butter cut into slices for the cake batter for Texas Sheet Cake

Add your warm water to your saucepan and then add your butter pieces and cocoa powder. Heat it on low heat, whisking every now and then until the butter is fully melted and everything is fully mixed together.

butter, cocoa and water in a saucepan heated over low heat for the cake batter for Easy Texas Sheet Cake
butter melting into cocoa and water for EasyTexas Sheet Cake Batter
butter, water and cocoa heated over low heat in a saucepan on the stove top for easy Texas Sheet Cake
ingredients for the cake batter heated on the stove

Turn your heat to medium and let the mixture come to a boil, whisking occasionally. Once it reaches a slow boil, take it off the heat.

ingredients boiling for the cake batter for Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Let it cool for 15 minutes (set your timer)! It will not fully cool and that is ok! You want it to be warm for when you add it to the other ingredients!

While your chocolate mixture is cooling, mix up the other batter ingredients. You will need 2 medium/large bowls.

In one bowl, add your dry ingredients (flour, white and brown sugar, baking soda and salt). Mix it together.

flour, white sugar. brown sugar, salt and baking soda for cake batter for Easy Texas Sheet Cake
dry ingredients mixed together for Easy Texas Sheet Cake

In your other bowl add your wet ingredients. Add your eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. (There is vanilla added in the pic below…I use Mexican Vanilla that is clear, so you can’t see it). Mix it well (I use a whisk).

eggs, sour cream and vanilla for Easy Texas Sheet Cake
wet ingredients mixed together for the BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Stir your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. Make sure to mix it well so there are no dry ingredients left behind and no “dry” spots in the mix.

wet ingredients added to dry ingredients for the cake batter for The BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake
stirring the dry and wet ingredients together for The BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake

It will seem like it will never mix and there is too much flour, but keep mixing, it will mix in just fine. It will be a thick cake batter at this point! Almost like a cookie dough!

mixing the cake batter for the BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake
fully mixed wet and dry ingredients for the BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Once your chocolate mixture has cooled for 15 minutes, add it to the bowl of your cake batter and mix it well!

warm chocolate mixture poured into the cake batter for the BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake
cake batter getting mixed for The Best Easy Texas Sheet Cake
fully mixed cake batter for the BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Pour your cake batter into your greased half sheet pan/jelly roll pan. Spread it out evenly in the sheet pan. Bake it for 18-22 minutes. Mine hits the sweet spot at 21 minutes and is perfectly baked.

chocolate cake batter poured into greased half sheet pan for The Best Easy Texas Sheet Cake
cake batter in half sheet pan ready to bake for The Best Easy Texas Sheet Cake

How to tell if your Texas Sheet Cake is baked enough

You will know you cake is baked perfectly when the entire cake looks spongey and has little bumps all over (even in the center).

cake will look sponge-like when it is fully baked

I have noticed at 18 minutes the very center of the my cake is still smooth and slightly jiggly if I gently move the pan. I know it needs another 2 minutes. In that 2 minutes, the center bakes perfectly and looks like the rest of the cake and gets bumpy and sponge-like looking like the rest of the cake.

fully baked Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Poke the center of the cake with a toothpick and it should come out clean! But making sure the cake looks the same all over (see the photo below) is a great indicator the cake is done!

Take it out of the oven when it is done baking. It will cool slightly while you make the frosting!

The Chocolate Frosting

DO NOT MAKE THE FROSTING WHILE THE CAKE BAKES!
You need the cake to slightly cool before adding the frosting but it still needs to be warm. You need your frosting to be warm and spreadable so do not make it ahead of time!

The warm frosting sets and gets that perfect smooth frosted look that you find with your traditional Texas Sheet Cakes… but it has to be fresh and warm!

The frosting for The Best Easy Texas Sheet Cake is easy and so yummy. It is a classic for this cake, and in my opinion the makings of a great Texas Sheet Cake.

The frosting needs a saucepan also! Combine your milk, and butter and let it heat on medium-low heat until the butter is melted fully.

butter and milk in a saucepan for the BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Whisk the butter and milk as it is heating. The butter and milk needs to heat fully but not boil. I take mine off the heat just as it starts to steam!

butter and milk heated on med-low heat in saucepan on the stove for the frosting for easy Texas Sheet Cake
ingredients for the frosting heated on the stove
butter and milk heated to a steaming point for the frosting for the BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake

After the saucepan is off the heat, add your cocoa and vanilla and whisk it together. Sometimes my cocoa will be a bit lumpy, which is frustrating when I am wanting a smooth frosting. You can sift your cocoa after measuring it if you want it perfectly smooth. I usually don’t bother and deal with a few dark chocolate cocoa spots in the frosting.

cocoa and vanilla added to the warm butter and milk for frosting for the best Easy Texas Sheet Cake
cocoa fully mixed into the heated milk and butter for the frosting for Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Next you will add your powdered sugar. I do sift my powdered sugar while my cake bakes (the only thing I do for my frosting as the cake bakes) to avoid a really lumpy frosting. This is personal preference and not necessary. Measure the powdered sugar first, then sift it if you choose to.

powdered sugar added to the chocolate for frosting for the best easy texas sheet cake

Mix the powdered sugar fully in to the chocolate mixture.

fully mixed chocolate frosting for the best easy texas sheet cake

Immediately pour it on to your warm cake and quickly smooth it out with a rubber scraper.

warm chocolate frosting poured on warm chocolate sheet cake
spreading the chocolate frosting on the chocolate texas sheet cake

Work fast. It starts to set immediately and will leave marks on the cake if you are slow at smoothing it. (You can see on the side of my cake in the photo where I smoothed out the frosting after a minute and it left a line…no big deal…but if you want it perfectly smooth, work fast!)

Frosted Texas Sheet Cake in a half sheet pan

Serving The BEST Easy Texas Sheet Cake

Let the cake sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The frosting needs time to set.

Serving up this cake needs no explanation! Cut this cake into pieces and serve it up! We love a cold glass of milk to eat with this rich chocolate sheet cake. Some vanilla ice cream is always yummy too!

piece of the BEST easy Texas Sheet Cake with a glass of cold milk

For some more delicious half sheet pan recipes, try my Peanut Butter Fingers, Sheet Pan Apple Pie, Lemon Sheet Cake, my Best Banana Bars, or my Pumpkin Bars.

If you liked this recipe please take the time to leave a comment and a star rating below! Also, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram!



The BEST easy Texas Sheet Cake on a plate for eating

The BEST Texas Sheet Cake

Traditional Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake is soft and fluffy and frosted with classic Texas Sheet Cake Frosting. It bakes in a half sheet pan that feeds a crowd.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 20 servings

Ingredients

The Cake

  • 1 cup butter, cut into pieces *I use salted, but unsalted works, just add 1 full teaspoon of salt instead of the 3/4 tsp the recipe calls for
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar. firmly packed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt

The Frosting (do not make your frosting while the cake bakes – it needs to be warm and fresh for pouring on the cake)

  • 1/3 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces *salted or unsalted is fine
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar *see notes

Instructions

The Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° Grease a half sheet pan or jelly roll pan.
  • In a small/medium saucepan add your butter, warm water and cocoa powder. Heat on low heat, whisking it and letting it heat until the butter is melted and combined fully with the water and cocoa. Once the butter is melted, raise the heat to medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat once it comes to a slow boil. LET IT COOL FOR 15 MINUTES – SET A TIMER!
  • In a medium/large mixing bowl, measure your dry ingredients (flour, white and brown sugar, baking soda and salt). Mix together.
  • In another medium/large mixing bowl, add your wet ingredients (eggs, sour cream and vanilla). Whisk it together until fully combined.
  • Mix your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Keep stirring and mixing until all of the dry ingredients are fully mixed and there are no dry spots in the batter. It will be thicker, more like a cookie dough.
  • After the chocolate mixture has cooled for 15 minutes, pour it into the cake batter mixture and mix well.
  • Pour the cake batter into the greased half sheet pan. Bake it for 18-22 minutes. Mine bakes for 21 minutes. You will know it is done when a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the middle.
    *If using a jelly roll pan, the cake will be slightly thicker and may need to bake for a few extra minutes.
    TIP: You can also tell it is done when the middle is set and doesn't "jiggle" if the pan is gently tapped. The center of the cake should look like the outside edges and will be sponge-like and bumpy (not smooth). See photo above in blog post.
  • Take the cake out of the oven to cool slightly and then make your frosting! DO NOT MAKE YOUR FROSTING WHILE THE CAKE BAKES! The frosting needs to be warm and fresh for pouring on the cake, so you will make it while the cake cools for a few minutes.

Frosting

  • In a medium saucepan, melt your butter with your milk over medium-low heat. Whisk it occasionally. Once the mixture is melted and is starts steaming (not boiling) remove from heat.
  • Add the vanilla and cocoa powder and whisk until combined.
  • Add your powdered sugar and mix until smooth and fully combined.
  • Immediately pour the frosting on to your warm cake and let it spread smooth. Spread it out evenly over the cake. WORK FAST!
    The frosting will set fast and will leave marks as you frost it after about 30 seconds! So if you want it perfectly smooth work fast!
  • Let the frosting "set" for about 45 minutes to 1 hour before cutting/slicing and serving. I cut mine into 20 pieces but you can cut them bigger or smaller for more or less pieces of cake.
  • Enjoy the cake, cover tightly to store for up to 4 days!

Notes

I  use a half sheet pan for this cake. (See blog post above for the ones I have and love).  You can use a jelly roll pan that measures a bit smaller than a half sheet pan.  The cake will be a bit thicker in a smaller pan so the cake may need to bake a few more minutes- watch it closely.
For a smooth frosting, sift your powdered sugar.  This is not necessary but if you want your frosting smooth, you may want to do it.  Measure it first, then sift it.
 

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should only be used as an approximation.

Serving: 1Piece/slice | Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We bake this cake every week for our local farmers market. We sell boxes of 4 slices. It has become a favorite of many. We sell out every time! Thank you for such a detailed instruction.

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Linda!!! You made my day with this comment! I love hearing from people that have tried my recipes and I really love that you and everyone that buys the cake loves it!!!! Thank you for trying my recipe and sharing it with so many!!! I am so glad it’s a hit at the farmers market!!!! Try my banana bars…they are always a hit with everyone and may sell good at the farmers market too for another option! Thank you again for stopping by the blog, trying my recipe and taking the time to leave a comment! I appreciate the love and support!!! 😘❤️

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