Texas Sheet Cake

$11.27 recipe / $0.75 serving
by Monti - Budget Bytes
5 from 4 votes
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Texas Sheet Cake might be the ultimate chocolate cake. It’s incredibly easy to make and has a buttery, velvety richness with a pure chocolate punch. PS, because you make it in a sheet pan, it’s easy to slice and perfect for feeding a crowd. Seriously. You can get 25 slices from one cake! I’m in love.

A stack of three slices of chocolate cake on a plate.

What is Texas Sheet Cake?

Texas Sheet Cake is a very simple chocolate cake recipe made in a 10×15 sheet pan that’s two inches deep (also known as a jelly roll pan). You can also use a 12 x18 baking pan, but the cake won’t be as thick and will cook faster. Once cooled, you cover the sheet cake in a thick layer of warm, buttery homemade chocolate icing, right in the pan.

The difference between Texas Sheet Cake and regular cake is the thickness of the cake. Traditional cakes are thicker and sometimes layered. You also remove the cakes from the pans and then frost. Texas Sheet Cake is made in one pan. The thin layer of batter bakes quicker than traditional cakes. You then frost the cake right in the pan.

Ingredients for Texas Sheet Cake

This is one of those recipes that needs to be followed as written. Cakes are a science, so, unfortunately, I don’t have substitutions for any of the following ingredients. You are, of course, welcome to experiment, but I can’t offer guidance or guarantee results. Here’s what you need to make Texas Sheet Cake:

  • All-Purpose Flour – creates the structure of your crumb.
  • Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, and Powdered Sugar – these sugars do more than sweeten the cake and the icing. Brown and granulated sugar soften the cake crumb and add moisture. Powdered sugar creates structure in icing.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – leaven the cake and create a light, airy crumb.
  • Butter– creates a light, tender texture and helps the cake rise. It also adds richness to the icing.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – adds a deep chocolate flavor to the cake and the icing.
  • Coffee– adds depth to the chocolate.
  • Eggs– provide structure to help leaven the cake.
  • Mayo – adds moisture and richness to the cake.
  • Heavy Cream– thins the icing and adds richness.
  • Vanilla – adds depth to the icing.
A Texas Sheet Cake being cut into slices.

Tips For Making Perfect Texas Sheet Cake

  • For a richer chocolate flavor, use dark cocoa powder.
  • Grease your sheet pan with melted butter, dust it with flour, and then freeze it while you make the batter. That way, the batter doesn’t move the butter around when it hits the pan, creating spots that your cake could stick to. 
  • You serve this cake in the sheet pan it was baked in, so I’d avoid using parchment. Your knife could shred the parchment as you slice the cake, and little bits of paper could get caught up in the slices.
  • To add a little texture and crunch to your cake, top it off with chopped nuts before you frost it. Toast them for extra yum-factor.
  • You can frost the cake while it’s still warm for an ooey-gooey, though slightly sloppy experience. If you want cleaner cuts, wait until the cake has completely cooled before icing it. And then let it sit for a bit and allow the icing to solidify some.
  • Texas sheet cake is traditionally served warm, but it’s also delicious at room temperature, chilled, or frozen. (IE Anytime.)

Can You Make The Cake Ahead?

Yes, you can make Texas Sheet Cake ahead of time. However, to keep the icing glossy, I would frost it the day of. Bake the cake up to 2 days ahead of time. Let it cool, wrap it in plastic, and then aluminum. Leave it at room temperature or freeze and then thaw. Make your icing when you’re ready to serve.

A slice of chocolate cake being lifted out of the sheet pan.

How To Cut Texas Sheet Cake

The beauty of this cake is that it’s simple to slice. You don’t have to cut through multiple layers hoping your slices are even. Instead, you cut through one layer in easy-to-manage squares or rectangles. We did brownie-sized 3×3 slices and got 15 pieces out of it. But you can cut 2×3 pieces and get 25 servings! This is the perfect cake for large gatherings like potlucks or school bake sales.

How To Store Texas Sheet Cake

Texas sheet cake can be stored at room temperature for up to three days. To prevent it from drying out, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in a layer of aluminum foil. You can also freeze the double-wrapped cake for up to 2 months. It’s perfect for chocolate emergencies. (Beth and I have those at least once a week). You can thaw it at room temperature overnight. But you don’t have to bring it to room temperature to enjoy it. On hot summer days, I eat it straight from the freezer.

Two plates with slices of cake on them, one with a fork.
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Texas Sheet Cake

5 from 4 votes
Texas Sheet Cake might be the ultimate chocolate cake. It's incredibly easy to make and has a luscious buttery richness with a pure chocolate punch!
A slice of chocolate cake being lifted out of the sheet pan.
Servings 15 slices
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting ($0.28)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar ($0.40)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark ($0.44)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.04)
  • 2 tsp baking powder ($0.12)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda ($0.02)
  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks) ($2.50)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted ($0.31)
  • 1 cup coffee, hot ($0.15)
  • 2 eggs ($0.78)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise ($0.87)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.72)

Icing

Instructions 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 350°F. Grease a jelly roll pan (10×15) with a 2-inch rim with melted butter. Lightly flour the pan. Shake off any excess and place in the freezer.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then brown it. Take the pan off the heat.
  • Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to the brown butter, and stir to incorporate.
  • Place the pan back over medium heat. Add the hot coffee, and stir. Take the pan off the heat.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla to the mayonnaise and combine. Add a few tablespoons of chocolate to temper (warm) the egg mixture.
  • Once the egg mixture is warm, mix the chocolate and egg mixture together.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just enough to combine.
  • Add the batter to the sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake has a slight spring when you press a finger on its surface and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Once the cake is out of the oven, make the icing. Set a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the butter, heavy cream, cocoa, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir until incorporated.
  • Pour 3/4 of the warm frosting over the center of the cooled cake. Begin to spread it over the cake with a spatula and add more frosting if necessary to cover the cake from end to end. Cut, serve, then sit back and enjoy the marathon of compliments you're going to get!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 546kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 4gFat: 33gSodium: 428mgFiber: 2g
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Three slices of chocolate cake on a plate, stacked.

How to Make Texas Sheet Cake – Step by Step Photos

Greased and floured jelly roll pan.

Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 350°F. Use a pastry brush or paper towel to grease a jelly roll pan (10×15) with a 2-inch rim with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Lightly flour the pan. Shake off any excess and place in the freezer.

Dry ingredients for the cake batter in a bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Browned butter in a skillet.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) in a light-colored pan. It will foam, then begin to brown. Stir constantly to distribute the heat evenly. As soon as it turns a light caramel color take it off the heat.

Cocoa powder being added to browned butter in a skillet.

Add 6 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and stir to incorporate.

Coffee being added to the skillet with the chocolate.

Place the pan back over medium heat. Add 1 cup of hot coffee, and stir. Then take the pan off the heat.

Wet ingredients for the cake batter in a bowl.

In a large bowl combine the two eggs,1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of mayonnaise.

Small amount of chocolate added to the egg mixture.

Add a few tablespoons of chocolate to temper the egg mixture. Tempering raises the temperature of the egg mixture slowly so that the eggs don’t heat too quickly and solidify into scrambled eggs.

Egg Mixture added to the hot chocolate in the skillet.

Once the egg mixture is warm, add the tempered egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and combine.

Wet ingredients added to the bowl of dry ingredients.

Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just enough to combine.

Cake batter poured into the jelly roll pan.

Then add the batter to the sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake has a slight spring when you press a finger on its surface and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Ingredients for the icing in a pan.

Once the cake is out of the oven make the icing. Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 cup of butter (two sticks), 1/4 cup of heavy cream, 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted to prevent lumps), 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (sifted to prevent lumps). Stir until incorporated. Do not boil.

Icing being spread over the baked cake.

Pour 3/4 of the warm frosting over the center of the cooled cake. There might be extra frosting depending on the depth of your pan and how much your cake has risen. Begin to spread it over the cake with a spatula and add more frosting if necessary to cover the cake from end to end. Cut, serve, then sit back and enjoy the marathon of compliments you’re going to get!

Sliced Texas sheet cake with one slice half removed.

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Comments

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  1. So glad I stumbled on this! I’m a native Texan who moved to the northeast a few years ago, and I’ve been seriously craving this cake. One of my earliest memories is getting caught stealing a lick of my grandma’s brown butter/cocoa mixture – toddler me didn’t realize chocolate is bitter without added sugar, lol.
    I’ve never been able to make it as good as my grandma’s, so I’ll have to try this recipe. Seems I wasn’t using nearly enough butter. I do agree with Janet that chopped pecans on top are excellent if you can afford them; I miss getting cheap five pound bags of Texas pecans in the fall. Thanks for posting, Monti!

  2. “Brown and granulated sugar soften the cake crumb and add moisture”

    Your comment here made me curious; do white and brown sugar impact texture differently in baked sweets? I have always assumed they were interchangeable, but I don’t bake often enough to do any kind of trial by comparison.

    1. Hi Shawna! Love the curiosity! Brown and White sugars behave differently in batters as they have different moisture content and acidity levels. Check out this great article in Serious Eats.

  3. Would I have any success substituting half and half for the cream in the frosting?

    1. Half and half has a higher water content than heavy cream, so it might change the consistency of the icing slightly. Overall it’s a small amount compared to the total volume of the recipe, so you might be able to get away with it.

  4. I’m a bit confused about the pan… in the text it says 2″ deep but the link to a similar pan is only 1.25″. My sheet pans with sides are only about 1.25″ deep. Would it overflow?

    1. Hi Cashew,

      The pan we used was 1 1/2 inches deep and we had a little extra frosting. So I recommend using a 2-inch-deep pan. However, you can always use your pan and store extra batter and frosting to make mug cakes in the microwave! YUM.

  5. This is a long time favorite, and there are never leftovers when I bring It to any event. As Janet mentioned, here in Texas it usually has nuts on top, but it’s delicious without them. The coffee, though, is a must, and I often add instant coffee granules to the icing, too.

  6. This cake has many versions, but the real key to it is icing it while hotter than warm so the icing melts and turns into fudge. Some recipes add cinnamon, some do not use coffee, although I like to include it. I use less sugar, too, mostly because the icing is so sweet. But follow the instructions here and you’ll never go wrong. In Texas, it usually has chopped pecans in the icing, but those significantly increase the cost of the cake–it’s still delicious without them. I never cut it until it’s completely cooled and the icing has set. Take a cake this size to an office party or potluck and you’ll be lucky to have any to bring home!

  7. Hello my name is Kris. I was wondering can your Texas Sheet Cake be made without coffee, I’m not a fan of coffee?

    1. Yes, you can replace it with water. Or if you want to be really experimental, you can try black tea!

  8. Just ain’t a Texas sheet cake without cinnamon in the batter and pecans in the frosting! Looks like a yummy chocolate cake otherwise.

    1. I wouldn’t suggest it because light mayo has more water and less fat, which can alter the chemistry and consistency of the batter.