Moist, fudgy, and extremely chocolatey, this Texas sheet cake is like a cross between a decadent brownie and the best chocolate cake you’ve ever tried.
It’s wickedly rich and chewy with the most scrumptious chocolate frosting on top.
From the fudgy cake to the dreamy frosting, this recipe is all about chocolate.
It’s seriously a chocoholic’s dream dessert! And believe it or not, it’s a cinch to whip up.
Plus, since it’s a Texas sheet cake, you don’t need to worry about fancy decorations. Just pour the frosting over the top and call it a day.
How easy is that?
Are you drooling yet? I know I am!
Classic Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake Recipe
As a chocolate addict, I’ve searched high and low for the perfect Texas sheet cake recipe.
And I’ve finally found it!
It yields the fudgiest chocolate cake ever, with a decadent chocolate frosting covering every inch of the top.
And it couldn’t be easier to make.
Baked in a shallow, wide sheet pan, one recipe makes a huge batch. So it’s ideal for parties!
What more can you ask for?
Why Is It Called Texas Sheet Cake?
Texas sheet cake is named for the sheet tray (jelly roll pan) it’s baked in. However, it’s unclear why it’s known as a “Texas” sheet cake. Some claim the recipe was first published in a Texas newspaper, while others think the name comes from the size of the cake. But neither has been confirmed.
I think either could be accurate. But what I do know for sure is that this specific cake has become synonymous with Texan hospitality.
And it’s always a winner.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a Texas sheet cake.
- Butter, Cocoa Powder, and Water – When cooked together, this trio transforms into a thick and decadent mixture that tastes just like melted chocolate.
- All-Purpose Flour – the base of the cake that provides its structure.
- Granulated Sugar – for sweetness
- Baking Soda – the leavening agent that makes the cake rise.
- Salt – to balance out the sweetness of the cake.
- Sour Cream – the moist-maker!
- Eggs – for binding the ingredients together. They also help lift the cake and provide richness.
- Milk, Cocoa Powder, Butter – you’ll bring this mixture to a boil to yield a thick and luscious melted chocolate sauce.
- Powdered Sugar – is added to the sauce to thicken it further and turn it into a sweet glaze.
- Chopped Walnuts – while they’re optional, chopped walnuts will give your cake an excellent textural variety.
How to Make Texas Sheet Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and grease the pan.
To be sure the cake doesn’t stick, dust the greased pan with flour and shake off the excess.
Or line it with parchment paper.
2. Make the “melted” chocolate.
Combine butter, water, and cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
This dissolves the cocoa powder and results in a thick buttery mixture that tastes just like melted chocolate!
Set it aside to cool.
3. Combine the dry ingredients.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
4. Add the liquid ingredients.
Add the sour cream and eggs, and beat gently until just combined.
Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl and mix to combine. Do not over-mix!
5. Bake the cake.
You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (about 20 minutes).
It’s also done if the center feels firm when gently pressed. However, if you see finger indentations, it’s not quite ready.
6. Make the icing.
While the cake is in the oven, whisk together milk, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.
Mix in the walnuts, if using.
7. Assemble the cake.
No need to let the cake cool here. Just pour the icing over the hot cake, serve, and enjoy.
Tips and FAQs
- Measure the flour accurately, or your cake sheet will turn out cakey, not fudgy. The best way to measure is with a kitchen scale.
- No kitchen scale, no problem – simply spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife. It’ll yield a more accurate measurement than scooping the flour with the measuring cup.
- Don’t overmix the ingredients. Stop as soon as you no longer see streaks of flour; otherwise, your cake will be dense and dry.
- Don’t overbake the cake. Again, you want this cake to be moist and fudgy, not dry and rubbery. Some ovens run hotter than others, so it’s best to test for doneness a few minutes early.
- Make it your own with fun extras! I like to add chocolate chunks to the cake batter, so it’s extra ooey-gooey. But peanut butter chips, marshmallows, and chopped nuts work well too.
- Mellow the chocolate flavors with different frosting. Double chocolate is awesome but can be overly sweet. So, to make it more balanced, try one of these tasty flavors instead:
- Cream cheese frosting
- Strawberry frosting
- Peanut butter frosting
- Salted caramel glaze
- Classic vanilla buttercream
What Pan Do You Use for Texas Sheet Cake?
The pan you choose depends on how large or compact, or thick or thin you want your sheet cake to be.
Sheet cakes are often made in a baker’s half sheet – 13×18 inches. They fit most standard ovens and yield a cake with a perfect sponge-to-frosting ratio. However, some recipes call for 9×13-inch pans, which are more common in amateur baking. Always check the recipe and use the correct size pan.
A wide pan will result in a larger but thinner cake, while a narrow pan will make a smaller but thicker cake.
Technically, you can bake the recipe below in any pan you prefer. You’ll just need to adjust the baking time.
Follow this rough guide, but be sure to check the cake more frequently if you use a different size pan:
- 9×13-inch: bake for 23 to 25 minutes
- 10×15-inch: 20 minutes
- 12×18-inch: 18 to 20 minutes
You also want to consider the ratio between the cake and the frosting. If you use a smaller pan, you may not need as much frosting.
In contrast, if you make a thinner cake in a wide pan, you might need more to cover the whole surface.
This recipe calls for a 10×15-inch sheet pan because I prefer the cake a bit thinner.
How To Store Texas Sheet Cake
On the Counter
Place the completely cooled cake in an airtight container. It’ll keep well for up to 2 to 3 days.
I don’t recommend refrigerating the cake, as it’ll dry out quickly. But if you live in a warm and humid location, go ahead!
Just be sure it’s well-wrapped.
In the Freezer
Got a ton of leftovers? Pop them in the freezer when it’s cooled completely to room temperature.
Double-wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place it in a freezer-safe bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
If you make the cake intending to freeze it for later, I suggest you don’t frost it just yet.
Instead, make and bake the cake, then make the frosting when you wish to serve it.
Thaw the frozen cake on the counter and enjoy.
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