Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake is a beloved dessert that has been passed down through generations, particularly in the southern United States.

Known for its rich chocolatey taste and moist texture, this cake is perfect for gatherings, parties, or just a regular dessert treat. Its simplicity in ingredients and preparation makes it a favorite for many home bakers.

What Makes This So Great?

The Texas Sheet Cake stands out because of its incredibly moist texture and rich chocolate taste. It’s a relatively simple cake to make but delivers a taste that’s far beyond its ease of preparation.

One of the highlights is the gooey, chocolatey icing that gets poured over the hot cake, seeping into every bite and creating a decadent experience. This cake is also perfect for feeding a crowd, making it a popular choice for potlucks and large gatherings. Its ability to stay moist and delicious even a day or two after baking is another reason it’s so loved.


texas sheet cake

What Kitchen Items Do You Need To Make This?

To make a Texas Sheet Cake, you don’t need any fancy kitchen gadgets. Here’s a list of the basic items you’ll need:

  1. Sheet Pan: A large, rimmed baking sheet, typically 18×13 inches, is essential for this cake. This is what gives the cake its thin, sheet-like appearance.
  2. Mixing Bowls: You’ll need a few mixing bowls of different sizes to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately.
  3. Saucepan: A small saucepan is necessary for melting the butter and mixing the cocoa powder and water.
  4. Whisk and Spatula: A whisk will help combine the ingredients smoothly, while a spatula will help spread the batter and icing evenly.
  5. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are key to baking, so make sure you have these on hand.

What Ingredients Are Needed For This Recipe?

Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need to make the Texas Sheet Cake and its icing:

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the Icing:

  • 6 tbsp milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar

How To Make It

Preparing the Cake

  1. Preheat and Prep:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Grease your sheet pan to ensure the cake doesn’t stick.
  2. Mix Wet Ingredients:
    • In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Set this mixture aside.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to distribute the baking soda and salt evenly throughout the flour and sugar.
  4. Heat Wet Ingredients:
    • In a small saucepan, combine the water, butter, and cocoa powder. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boil, remove it from the heat.
  5. Combine Everything:
    • Pour the hot cocoa mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined and smooth, with no lumps.
    • Add the sour cream mixture to the batter and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
  6. Bake:
    • Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan, using a spatula to spread it out evenly.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Preparing the Icing

  1. Heat Ingredients:
    • When the cake is halfway through baking, start making the icing. In a saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and cocoa powder. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Mix In Sugar:
    • Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and there are no lumps.
  3. Ice the Cake:
    • Pour the hot icing over the hot cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Use a spatula to spread it evenly over the cake. Allow the frosting to set for about 10 minutes before serving.

What Is The History Behind This Recipe?

The origins of the Texas Sheet Cake are somewhat mysterious, but it’s widely believed to have become popular in the mid-20th century. Some speculate that it got its name because everything is bigger in Texas, and this large, flat cake certainly fits that bill. Another theory is that the recipe was first published in a Texas newspaper, contributing to its name and widespread popularity in the region.

Texas Sheet Cake is known for its simplicity and the fact that it uses common pantry ingredients. This made it an ideal dessert for home bakers during times when elaborate ingredients were either hard to come by or too expensive. The rich, chocolatey taste and ease of preparation have cemented its place as a beloved dessert across the United States.

What Can I Switch Up To Make This Different If I Have Dietary Needs?

Vegan Version:

  1. Butter Substitution:
    • Use a plant-based butter substitute for both the cake and the icing.
  2. Egg Replacement:
    • Substitute the eggs with flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water for each egg).
  3. Sour Cream Replacement:
    • Use a dairy-free sour cream alternative or plain non-dairy yogurt.

Vegetarian Version:

The original recipe is already vegetarian, so no modifications are needed.

Gluten-Free Version:

  1. Flour Replacement:
    • Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Make sure it’s a 1:1 replacement, meaning it can be used in the same quantity as regular flour.
  2. Check Ingredients:
    • Ensure that all other ingredients, such as baking soda and cocoa powder, are certified gluten-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called a Texas Sheet Cake?

There are several theories about the name “Texas Sheet Cake.” One theory is that the cake is named for its size, as everything in Texas is often said to be bigger. Another theory is that the recipe first appeared in a Texas newspaper, and the name stuck from there. Regardless of the exact origin, the cake’s large, flat, and rich chocolate profile certainly fits the Texan reputation for doing things big.

What’s the difference between sheet cake and regular cake?

The primary difference between a sheet cake and a regular cake is the shape and size. A sheet cake is baked in a large, flat rectangular pan, typically 18×13 inches, which results in a thinner cake. Regular cakes are usually baked in round or square pans and are thicker. Sheet cakes are often easier to serve to large groups, making them popular for parties and gatherings.

Why is my Texas Sheet Cake dry?

If your Texas Sheet Cake turns out dry, it could be due to a few reasons:

  1. Overbaking:
    • Make sure to check the cake at the 15-minute mark. Baking times can vary depending on your oven, and overbaking can dry out the cake.
  2. Incorrect Measurements:
    • Double-check your ingredient measurements, especially the liquids. Too little liquid can lead to a dry cake.
  3. Mixing Errors:
    • Ensure that the batter is well-mixed but not overmixed. Overmixing can result in a dense, dry cake.

How many people will a 1/2 sheet cake feed?

A half sheet cake, typically 12×18 inches, can feed approximately 36 to 48 people, depending on how you cut the slices. If you cut larger pieces, it will serve fewer people, and if you cut smaller pieces, it will serve more. This makes a half sheet cake a great option for large gatherings or celebrations.

How Should I Store This?

To keep your Texas Sheet Cake fresh and delicious, follow these storage tips:

Room Temperature:

  • Cover the Cake:
    • If you plan to eat the cake within 2-3 days, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and keep it at room temperature. This will help retain its moisture.


  • Airtight Container:
    • If you need to store the cake for a longer period, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it. It can last for up to a week in the fridge.


  • Wrap in Plastic:
    • To freeze the cake, cut it into individual slices and wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe bag or container. The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Thawing:
    • When you’re ready to eat, thaw the slices at room temperature or in the fridge.

Enjoy your Texas Sheet Cake fresh or from storage, and indulge in its rich, chocolatey goodness whenever you like!

Texas Sheet Cake

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
Need an easy dessert for your next party? This Texas Sheet Cake is just the thing. Made in a sheet pan, this delicious cake gets its distinctive texture being topped with warm chocolate icing.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 slices
Calories 319 kcal


  • 1 18'' x 13'' sheet pan


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • 6 tbsp milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 tbsp unsweetend cocoa powder
  • cups powdered sugar

Recipe Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease sheet pan.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar baking soda and salt. Mix in your sour cream mixture.
  • Add water, butter, and cocoa powder to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove it from heat and pour it into the batter. Mix until combined and no lumps remain.
  • Pour mixture into your greased sheet pan and smooth with a spatula to make sure it is dispersed in an even layer.
  • Bake in preheated oven until it's set, about 15 – 20 minutes.

For the Icing

  • When the cake is halfway through cooking, begin making the icing.
  • Add milk, cocoa and butter to a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. 
  • Once boiling, remove it from the heat and stir in powdered sugar. Mix until there are no lumps.
  • Pour hot icing over hot cake. Use a spatula to spread it evenly over the cake. Allow frosting to set for about 10 minutes before eating.


Calories: 319kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 4gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.002gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 183mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 2gSugar: 56gVitamin A: 98IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg
Keyword texas sheet cake
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