Texas Sheet Cake

texas sheet cake baked

This Texas Sheet Cake is a family tradition, we grew up eating it and my kids are growing up devouring it.  I’ve had many Texas Sheet Cakes or Texas Chocolate Cakes or Chocolate Sheet cakes, as everyone down here as their own version of it.

This is hands down the best one that I’ve ever eaten and everyone that we make it for falls instantly in love with it.

It’s quite addictive, you can’t eat just one bite, trust me… you keep going back for more.

texas sheet cake ingredients
For the cake you need; flour, sugar, salt, margarine (the original recipe calls for Oleo),  water, Cocoa, eggs, baking soda, buttermilk, vanilla and cinnamon.
Put the margarine, cocoa and water into a pan and bring to a boil


While it’s boiling mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Once the cocoa, margarine and water mixture has come to a boil you will pour it over the flour mixture.  Stir eggs, soda, buttermilk, cinnamon and vanilla together.  Add to mixture. Pour everything into a  greased sheet pan and bake at 350 for 18 minutes

texas sheet cake ready to bake

When there’s 5 minutes left in the baking time, you’ll make the insanely delicious, chocolate (pecan or walnut) frosting.

texas sheet cake frosting ingredients

Milk, walnuts (or pecans), vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, powdered sugar.

Remove the cake from the oven and after two minutes, pour on the icing

texas sheet cake pouring

Resist the urge to dive in and devour this chocolate-y piece of heaven until it has cooled.  Then, slice and serve or just dig in with a fork like we did this past weekend :-)  Whomever you share this cake with will be forever devoted to you and thanking you for showing them the light.  This is after all, the chocolate cake that shames all other chocolate cakes.


3.0 from 1 reviews
Texas Sheet Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This delicious Texas Sheet Cake is a family tradition in the South. Nearly every Church, Junior League and Neighborhood cook has a recipe for this Southern Classic. This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 sheet pan
  • 2 C flour (but not really.. more like 1 C and just a hair shy of another cup..1 C and 1 not quite level cup)
  • 2 C sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks margarine (The original recipe calls for oleo.) ******* You can use butter instead of margarine. 2 sticks (1 Cup)
  • 1 C water
  • 3 Tbsp. Cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ C buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 stick margarine or 1 Stick Butter (1/2 Cup)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 6 Tbsp. milk (1/4 Cup plus 2 Tbsp in dry measuring cups or 3 oz in liquid measuring cups)
  • 1 box (16 oz) confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tsp. vanilla.
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
For The Cake
  1. Stir flour (I use a little less than 2 full cups), sugar, salt.
  2. In sauce pan put margarine, cocoa and water. Stir while bringing to a boil. Pour over the flour mixture.
  3. Stir eggs, soda, buttermilk, cinnamon and vanilla together. Add to the flour/cocoa mixture.
  4. Bake in greased sheet cake (10x15) pan for 18 minutes on 350.
  5. minutes before cake is done make the icing.
For The Frosting
  1. Mix together; cocoa, margarine and milk. Heat and then add nuts, powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. Pour over hot cake and allow to cool.
Rachel's Notes
**** The original recipe calls for Oleo, but you may use butter instead of margarine. If you use salted butter, omit the salt from the recipe.

*** The sheet cake pan for this recipe is a 10X15 sheet cake pan - you may know it as a jelly roll pan.

Serve when cooled, grab your own piece and watch with a knowing smile as people experience the tonguegasmic delight of this Texas Sheet Cake. You will have their eternal love and adoration, trust me. 😉

Featured on Williams Sonoma Blog

 * Big chocolate-y thanks to my Mama for sharing our family recipe with me so that I can share it with y’all!


If You Like This, Try This:

Bourbon Glazed Pecan topped Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes

bourbon glazed pecan topped cupcakes


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  1. Liberty says

    Looks Scrumptious! you could easily add a bit of cayenne to the icing for the grown ups who like it spicy….*blessings*

    • says

      You are SO welcome! I hope that you make this!!! I know you’ll make it and it’ll be stupendous!!!

      I will be sure to drop by in the AM and link up!!!

  2. elz says

    This is almost the same exact recipe as the Pioneer Woman’s sheet cake (I make it ALL the time now). Hers has a scooch more butter in it and no cinnamon. Clearly great cooking minds think alike (you and Ree). Anything with butter and chocolate is my kind of recipe.

    • says

      LOL. Interesting 😉
      Texas Sheet Cakes are all VERY similar 😉 A few minor differences.
      The cinnamon and vanilla are what make this one memorable and stand out from the rest.

      The original Texas sheet cakes started with Oleo and so staying true to the original… I make it with margarine… it makes a difference in the texture and flavor 😉

      This one is from way back in the day with my family 😉 If you make it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

      xoxoxo 😉

      • V.Baucum says

        Would like to know if this would be enough flour for the high altitude? Maybe the whole 2 cups? Also, I have two sheet pans which size? I guess it depends on how thick you’d like your cake? Thank You for your time, can’t hardly wait till I bake it for the 4th.

        • says

          Hi! I’m not sure about the high alititude, so I’m going to pop over and ask a friend of mine who cooks at high altitude and get right back to you!

          I use a 10X15 sheet pan :-)

        • says

          Here’s the adjustments from my friend who bakes at High Altitudes!

          2 C flour (but not really.. more like 1 C and just a hair shy of another cup..1 C and 1 not quite level cup)- ——{2 full cups}
          2 C sugar- ——{2 cups sugar minus 3 tablespoons }
          1/2 tsp. salt
          2 sticks margarine (The original recipe calls for oleo.)
          1 C water
          3 Tbsp. Cocoa
          2 eggs
          1 tsp. baking soda- —–{3/4 teaspoon baking soda}
          1/2 C buttermilk- —–{1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk}
          1 tsp. vanilla- 2 teaspoons vanilla
          1 tsp. cinnamon
          1 stick margarine
          3 Tbsp. cocoa
          6 Tbsp. milk
          1 box confectioners sugar
          1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
          1 tsp. vanilla.
          1/2 tsp cinnamon

          Recipe adjustments for high altitude cooking via Kelley from Mountain Mama Cooks

      • LL says

        I have a peanut butter fudge recipe with oleo and I researched the origins and content of oleo to get the fat content just right (I mix margarine with butter flavored Crisco) because I’m a traditionalist. 😉

  3. says

    We eat Texas sheet cake, too, though we haven’t ever lived in Texas! I totally agree with icing the cake hot and then waiting for it to cool. It forms the most fudgy wonderful layer just above the cake. MMMMM!

    • says

      YAY! Texas crossing borders 😉

      EXACTLY! moist delicious cake, delicious fudge-y layer and then the amazing slightly crunchy, totally creamy, chocolate-y cinnamon-y vanilla tinged icing.
      NOM NOM

  4. Liz says

    Okay, I gave in and made this for my family tonight!! It’s cooling now, and everyone is drooling over it!! Thanks for the recipe. :-)

  5. says

    I have never made a Texas sheet cake, even though I am Texan and love cake! It reminds me of the cake I ate all through school. I can imagine the lunch ladies making sheet tray after sheet tray of this cake. Looks so good, it’s on the ‘to make’ list!

    • says

      Oh yes.. this was a Texas lunch lady favorite.. although there’s can’t compare 😉 :-)

      I cannot believe that you’ve never made this!!! You MUST!
      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!!!!!

  6. says

    I grew up thinking this was my grandma’s special recipe. She made it without nuts in the frosting and in a 9×12 pan instead of as a sheetcake and it was literally the only cake I liked as a kid. It wasn’t until I moved to Indiana instead of Texas that I ever saw anyone else make this, and they made this sheetcake version. I was so confused at these people who had changed my Grandma’s recipe.

    When I told her about this, she laughed and laughed and laughed and explained how she’d gotten the recipe from her husband, a cattle buyer for Armour who picked it up from a rancher’s wife when he was out looking at cattle. He loved the cake so much, he went back to that ranch the next day for the recipe! Here I’d thought all these years that this was Grandma’s own special recipe!!

    It’s still the only chocolate cake I want to eat.

    • says

      That may be the most awesome recipe story, ever.
      LOVE it 😉
      My mom still makes it on a cookie sheet, and that’s how it’s supposed to be done however, I have no cookie sheets with sides. (I have one cookie sheet.. it’s sad) and can you IMAGINE the mess? :-)

      I love my sheet pan!
      I love that you commented on this! MADE my night!

  7. says

    I have made this for my cowboy every year for several decades and it is still his all time favorite cake. I think it gets better the second day. We love it with ice cream!!!

  8. Jason @ JL Health Tulsa says

    That cake is a southern delight! Definitely one of our family’s traditional favorites. Yours looks amazing!


  9. Paula - bell'alimento says

    OH my gosh! This look exactly like one my Grandma made too! Ah, sweet sweet DELICIOUS memories.

  10. Krissa says

    That’s the cake this Texas girl has been eating… well, since she was a little girl! And it is called “Birthday Cake” over here, just because it is demanded for every single birthday. It IS the best cake in the world! SOOOOO MOIST!

  11. Jodi says

    My Grandma has been making these for years. I had no idea it was a know recipe, being from Seattle I have never had them outside of family functions (and they are at every family gathering!). We always called them “Awesome Brownies” b/c in high school some guys were fighting over the last ones yelling “these brownies are AWESOME!!” I am excited to try them with the cinnamon, that is about the only difference between your recipe and hers. mmm, excited for tomorrow night:)

    • says

      Jodi, that’s too funny!!! Awesome Brownies 😉 LOVE IT!

      I’m telling you, the vanilla and the cinnamon are what separate this recipe from all the rest and make it simply the best 😉 😉 (not that I’m proud of my family’s recipe or anything *wink*)

      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! I truly hope you come back, or email me and share 😉 :-)

      Greetings from Texas! :-)

  12. says

    Hi there! We’re fellow ThinkFood bloggers, as well as Southerners! I’m having fun exploring your blog…

    Texas Sheet Cake has always been a family favorite of ours. I think it’s time to dust off the recipe.

  13. Amy says

    I had my first Texas Sheet Cake a long time ago when my boss’s wife brought one in for us to eat. Sooooo delicious! I asked her for the recipe and she told me she had a policy of not giving hers out. It was like a slap in my face! Really odd, but what do you say to the boss’s wife?!? Anyway, a couple of years after that, when they were moving to another state, she came in to the office specifically to give me the recipe — I guess she’d felt bad about doing that and it had stuck with her. So, I finally got my recipe and now I see it here too! Thanks for being generous with the recipes for the food you love to make. Sharing good recipes makes you feel almost as good as eating the food in the first place, doesn’t it? :o)

    • says

      Yes ma’am!

      You know, I have NEVER understood not sharing recipes, it’s akin to witholding love!!!
      I’m so glad that she came back and shared it with you.

      I plan on making this for quite a few people for gifts this year 😉 Thank you so much for leaving this comment!

      • Amy says

        I know, it’s crazy, isn’t it? I had an aunt (by marriage) who lived in Alabama who made a really really good blueberry / cream cheese / jello-ey layered thing that was wonderful. When I gushed over it and asked her for the recipe, she said “Oh, you just let me know the next time you’re in town and I’ll be sure to make it for you again” just as sweet as could be. But she didn’t give me the recipe…. She was so good and kind in so many ways, but whenever I think of her, I always think of that too. And I still haven’t found anything that comes close to what I remember that dessert tasting like. “Withholding love” — that’s the truth!!

        • Sue Hebert says

          Hi Amy. If you never got your recipe, it sounds like one that I call Blueberry Salad. Here it is: 1 lg pkg Black Cherry Jello
          Dissolve in 1 c. hot water and add 1 c cold water
          1 can Comstock (or any other brand) Blueberry Pie Filling Add to warm jello
          1 lg can crushed pineapple Add to mixture and Pour all into cake pan and refridgerate.

          Topping: 1/2 pt Sour Cream
          8 oz pk cream cheese
          1/2 c sugar
          1/2 tsp vanilla
          1/2 c pecans (optional but I always add them)

          I hope it’s the same. I love sharing recipes and this is one family favorite.

    • says

      hmmm Amy, I’ve never measured my sheet pan… hold on…

      It is indeed a 10X15 metal sheet pan, these can be purchased pretty much anywhere that sells kitchen stuff: HEB, Target, Wally etc… 😉

      • Amy says

        Thanks, Rachel. I’ve tried making this in the 9×13 and adjusting the temp and time, but it comes out a little gooey in the middle. Which isn’t all bad I guess…. Thanks for checking 😮

        • says

          sure thing! That’s one of the tricky things about this cake (actually, it’s the only tricky thing) it MUST be cooked in sheet pan so that it’s all even and spread out.. thus sheet cake 😉

          Gooey in the middle is NOT a bad thing but, it’s better when it’s not 😉 unless you just serve it gooey and hot over blue bell vanilla ice cream and then it’s on!

    • says

      Becky, because it’s so thin it doesn’t take long to cook at all. For me, 18 minutes is perfect. You can use a spaghetti stick or a toothpick to check for doneness, when crumbs are shown, you’re good. :-)

      It’s very thin. :-) Thank you for commenting and visiting!

  14. Mindy says

    My favorite as a kid growing up in Texas! IF there were leftovers we would put them in the freezer, individually wrapped, so you could pull one out, unwrap, and enjoy. Yum! Going to try your recipe. Thx.

  15. says


    I ate a few pieces of this cake at our monthly book club last month & absolutey LOVED it! I could have eaten the whole cake it was soooo good!

    I’ve been eating Chocolate Sheet Cake all my life, made by my 2 grandmothers. I never thought I would taste a better sheet cake than theirs, but….I did!!! This is the best tasting Choclate Sheet Cake I have ever had & cannot wait to make it myself!

    Thank you for sharing your receipe!!

    ~Lea Ellen

  16. Kristen says

    What size sheet cake pan do you use? I just bought. 12.25×17.25 Bakers Half Sheet pan and I’m hoping I have room for frosting once the cake rises. It’s for my husbands birthday this weekend. I’m so excited to try it! :)

  17. Natalie says

    This is almost EXACTLY the recipe that has been handed down in my family for GENERATIONS! 😀 I’m from Texas. :) This is sooo funny to me. My Mom and Nanny will be so disappointed.. Hahah. This cake is delicious. My sister and I have had this memorized since we were very young. It’s our go-to cake recipe!

  18. Kriss says

    Hi! I can’t wait to try this recipe….it looks delicious! Question; every Texas Chocolate Sheet cake recipe I have seen calls for the flour, cocoa, and baking soda to be sifted, but this recipe doesn’t or am I missing something?



  19. audrey says

    I first made this about 40 yrs ago, shortly after being married and hosting a famiy cookout. I called it AuntAudrey’s chocolate cake and gave the receipe to my nieces who then tried it and one 8th grader even gave a speech about how he made it at home and brought samples to school. It is still a winner. I lost the original one and refound you today. Can I substitute sour milk for buttermilk? knowing this site is not visited a lot, I do not expect a spedy answer on this.

  20. Donna says

    Love this recipe! I just made this cake for my hubby’s 60th birthday party, and can’t wait to share it with the family.

  21. Jones sabo they have got five vendors international says

    Cheers! It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.

  22. Tisha says

    My Grandma used to make a cake that she called chocolate cinnamon cake. Unfortunately when she passed she took the recipe with her my aunts could not find it anywhere. Every year she would bake birthdays cakes for everyone on their birthday, she would always ask what we wanted and everyone always said the same Chocolate Cinnamon. So thank you for posting this recipe because it looks like it is the same or very close to hers and I am going to make it for my sons 13th Birthday tomorrow. :)

  23. Sue says

    Could there be a way to darken up the chocolate used? Seems that milk chocolate is too sweet for my tastes these days.

  24. Susan Martin says

    WHY are all these sheet cakes chocolate???? I hate chocolate but would love a lemon or vanilla or yellow sheet cake recipe!

  25. Penny Smith says

    Did anyone read the ingredients & the directions? The directions say for the cake, Stir in eggs, SODA, buttermilk, cinnamon & vanilla together. The ingredients do not mention SODA. Would love to make this. Will try recipe without SODA….

    • says

      Hi Penny,

      The soda mentioned, is the baking soda.. while transcribing it to my blog, I used my Granny’s terminology exactly, and she called Baking Soda, SODA 😉 I will add in a notation.

      Thank you for taking time to comment and catching that. Have a fabulous weekend!

    • says

      Thank you so much for taking time to leave a comment, Faye.
      I’m sorry that you found the cinnamon overpowering, maybe the next time you make it, try 1/4 teaspoon instead of the 1 teaspoon we use.

      I often find that depending upon what we grew up eating, we are more sensitive to flavors.

      Thank you so much for commenting. Have a delicious week!

  26. Sunny says

    The frosting recipe should really give an amount for the powdered sugar besides “one box”. Powdered sugar comes in numerous sized packages. I buy mine in large bags. I guess I will just add it until it seems right.

    • says

      Hi Sunny – it sure does come in all sizes! 😉 The very original recipe says 1 box -which used to equate to roughly 1 pound of powdered sugar. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t updated this recipe to state 1 pound. Thanks for the heads up and Happy Holidays! Have a wonderful day. – Rachel

  27. Sunny says

    You also need to specify the pan size. I would wager that most people think of a standard half sheet pan (as the previous commenter did) when they read “sheet pan”. A 10 X 15 pan is typically sold and referred to as a jelly roll pan. I see you clarified what you used in the comments, but unfortunately I didn’t read the comments before I baked my cake in a standard half sheet pan. The cake is fine, but there is no room to pour frosting over it.

    • says

      Hey Sunny – sorry for your troubles. I grew up with the 10X15 being referred to as a sheet pan and it was only the past year that I’ve ever heard someone call it a jelly roll pan. I will go up and add that in the recipe, again sorry for your trouble with this.

      Have a great holiday!


  28. Nikki says

    Hi I am just wondering if the sugar used can be substituted with Splenda cooking sugar to make this a sugar free cake or at least cut some of the sugar out ..

    • says

      Hi Nikki,

      I’ve never experimented with sugar substitutes before so I’m not sure, but if they say it’s an equal substitute, I would give it a try.

  29. says

    First introduced to this cake at a Neiman Marcus office. (Thank you, Gerri Franks). Can’t get more authentically Texan than that! Should get award for easy assembly and clean up also and since most of us do not have a gramma with a churn tucked away just use a little vinegar or lemon juice to turn sweet milk into buttermilk. I prefer white vinegar. Frosting tastes remarkably like authentic homemade fudge. That olio bit must go back to the war years as it shows in a lot of older recipes. Recipes from cooks who themselves would never have voluntarily used olio (Have you seen it with the color to add.). Nastyeee. Also, pan size doesn’t seem to matter. Personal tweeks do no not matter either. This is simply the best basic chocolate cake ever, period.

  30. Linda M says

    Hello…my Texas cake recipe calls for the brand name Wondra flour, which is no longer available here…maybe yours is the substitute and calling for second cup to be shy a cup…is your for self-rising flour? I have wondered what type flour to substitute for Wondra. Thanks for an answer.

  31. Susan H. says

    This is the same exact recipe that my mom made since I was little (& I’m 44). It even calls for oleo, soda, and box of confectioners sugar. My dad passed a month ago and I was feeling nostalgic and made the cake the other day. So good. Thanks for sharing the yumminess of this recipe. And it’s not a true Texas Sheet Cake without the cinnamon, otherwise it’s just regular chocolate cake. 😉

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad. Thank you so much for sharing this, and I’m so happy that this helped you remember happier, delicious times. <3

  32. says

    You can absolutely use butter instead of margarine! Thank you for reminding me that I need to update this recipe!

    Have a delicious week! – Rachel


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