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Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

This chocolate Texas sheet cake is a family favorite and perfect for chocolate lovers. The homemade fudge frosting is what takes this delicious cake recipe over the top!

Slice of texas sheet cake on spatula.
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Texas Sheet Cake with Sour Cream

If you love all things chocolate like me, you’re going to love this cake. It’s perfectly soft and moist (thanks to the sour cream), with a delicious cooked chocolate icing smothered on top. Talk about what dreams are made of! It’s a top contender for one of my favorite chocolate desserts, along with my homemade brownies and chocolate cupcakes.

This Texas sheet cake is a true classic and one I remember my mom making growing up. If you’ve never had this dessert before, you need to make it ASAP. It makes a lot, so make it when you have guests over or for your next potluck or party. If not, you’ll be regretting eating the whole pan. ;)

This recipe is very similar to your classic recipe, however I like to add sour cream. I find it makes the cake a little softer and less dense. The frosting may be the BEST part about this dessert. It thickens as it cools and turns into a creamy fudge layer on top.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Serves a crowd. This is the perfect dessert to make for birthday parties, potlucks, family gatherings and holiday celebrations. It serves about 30 to 40 people and is perfect for a large crowd.
  • Double the chocolate. Chocolate cake with a rich chocolate icing on top! This recipe is perfect for those who love any and all things chocolate.
  • Soft and moist. Say goodbye to dry chocolate cakes with this recipe! The sour cream and butter help to make the texture super tender and moist, which is absolutely what you want in any Texas sheet cake recipe.

What Size Pan Do You Use for Sheet Cake?

Texas sheet cake is famously baked in a half sheet pan, which is great for feeding a big crowd. Because the pan is so large and more shallow, the cake is a bit thinner which gives it the perfect cake to frosting ratio.

I prefer to use a 18×13″ half sheet pan, which typically feeds about 30-40 people. If you’d like to half this recipe, you can bake it in a 9×13″ pan for the same great results.

Cake Ingredients

Texas sheet ingredients on marble counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Flour: A traditional all-purpose flour is used for a light texture. Learn how to measure flour without a scale for great results.
  • Sugar: Finely granulated sugar adds the perfect sweetness to this dessert.
  • Butter: Use salted butter for more flavor and richness.
  • Cocoa powder: 100% pure cocoa powder gives the cake a rich and chocolatey flavor. Make sure it’s unsweetened, since we’re adding in sugar separately for sweetness.
  • Sour cream: The secret ingredient in this Texas sheet cake recipe. It moistens the cake and gives it a soft crumb that’s a little less dense than the original.
  • Eggs: Make sure to use fresh eggs for the best results.
  • Baking staples: Baking soda, fine sea salt and vanilla extract.

Texas Sheet Cake Frosting

The cooked chocolate icing is my favorite part about this dessert. It’s made with a mixture of butter, cocoa powder, milk, vanilla, powered sugar and salt and is cooked on the stove until smooth and glossy.

It will thicken as it hardens, creating an irresistible fudgy layer on top that’s sweet, rich and ultra chocolatey. Believe me, you don’t want to skip it!

Variations

Feel free to mix chopped pecans or walnuts into the frosting for a crunchy, nutty taste. Or you can simply sprinkle them over the icing while it’s still wet on the cake. If we’re celebrating a birthday, I like to add some fun colored sprinkles on top for more decoration.

How to Make Texas Sheet Cake

I do have to warn you that this isn’t your typical ‘mix everything in a bowl’ type of cake. There is a little more work involved on the stove, but I promise you, it will be worth it!

Step by step collage showing how to make texas sheet cake.
  • Boil. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Then add the cubed butter, water and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a light boil, then remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes.
  • Pour. Next pour the warm chocolate mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Stir. Then stir in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla (I always add a little more vanilla for good measure).
  • Bake. Pour the batter in a greased 18×13″ half sheet pan and then bake at 350°F for about 18 to 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
  • Prepare icing. About halfway through baking, begin to prepare the icing. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Then add in the cocoa powder and stir. Once the mixture has melted and comes to a light simmer, remove from heat and slowly stir in milk, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Then slowly stir in powdered sugar.
  • Frost. Spread the icing over the cake immediately after you remove it from the oven. It thickens really quickly, so you need to work fast!
Spreading chocolate frosting on top of Texas sheet cake with spatula.

Expert Tips

  • Frosting. I usually start making the frosting after the cake has been baking in the oven for about 10 minutes. That way it’s ready to be poured on top of the cake right when it comes out of the oven so that the frosting soaks in and keeps it moist.
  • Let cool. The frosting will need time to cool before slicing so that it thickens up and stays firm. So make sure you give it time to cool down before cutting into squares.
  • Serving. We love to serve our Texas chocolate sheet cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dollop of fresh whipped cream. The perfect combination!

Recipe FAQs

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

A sheet cake is baked in a half sheet pan that is larger and more shallow than a traditional baking pan, which creates a thinner cake.

A regular chocolate cake is usually baked in a 9-inch round cake pan or 9×13″ baking pan, which will give you a thicker crumb.

How many people does a sheet cake feed?

If using a 18×13″ half sheet pan when making this recipe for Texas sheet cake, it will feed about 30 to 40 people. This is a great dessert to make for special occasions such as birthday parties when you’re serving a larger crowd.

Can I cut the recipe in half?

Sure. If serving a smaller crowd, half the recipe and bake in a 9×13″ pan.

What happens if you put frosting on a hot cake?

While you wouldn’t typically add frosting such as chocolate buttercream while the cake is still warm, that’s not the case with this cooked chocolate icing. We’re pouring it on top immediately once the cake comes out the oven so that it soaks into the cake and keeps it nice and moist. It’s pure genius!

Texas sheet cake with chocolate frosting in baking pan.

How to Store and Freeze

Texas sheet cake does not need to be refrigerated and will stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. However feel free to stick in the fridge to keep it fresh for a few more days if desired. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

5 star review

“I haven’t had this since I was a kid and I had a sudden craving. Found this and I’m in heaven. What’s great is you can even make a half batch easily and it was great for dessert after dinner. Fantastic and easy recipe!”

– Jess
Slice of chocolate Texas sheet cake on baking sheet.

Looking for more homemade chocolate cake recipes? You may love these make from scratch chocolate cupcakes, too!

More Chocolate Desserts

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A piece of chocolate cake on a plate

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

5 from 18 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This Texas sheet cake is a family favorite and perfect for chocolate lovers. The homemade fudge frosting is what takes this delicious cake recipe over the top!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 35 squares

Ingredients 

Cake:

  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1 cup (22 g) salted butter , sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup (18 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • cup (155 g) sour cream
  • 2 large eggs , whisked
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Icing:

  • ½ cup (113 g) salted butter , sliced
  • 3-4 Tablespoons (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (330 g) sifted powdered sugar
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

Chocolate cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a half sheet pan (18×13 inches) and set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Heat the butter, water and cocoa in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a light boil and then remove from heat and let sit 2 minutes. Then pour into the flour mixture. Stir until combined.
  • Stir in the sour cream, vanilla and eggs. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Halfway through cooking, start making the icing.

Chocolate icing

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder. Once the mixture has melted and comes to a light simmer, remove from heat and slowly whisk in milk, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Then slowly stir in powdered sugar.
  • Evenly pour the icing over the cake immediately when it comes out of the oven. Immediately spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
  • Allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Video


Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. 
Nut lovers: Chop 1/2 – 3/4 cup pecans and mix into the frosting. 
Half the recipe: You can half this recipe and bake in a 9×13″ baking dish. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 40mg | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 290IU | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Stack of Texas sheet cake slices on a white plate.

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