Original Texas Sheet Cake is a tried-and-true, quick chocolate cake recipe that never fails!
Moist chocolate cake topped with chocolate icing and chopped pecans!
This single layer, vintage Southern chocolate cake always a crowd pleaser and ready in about 40 minutes!
The simplicity of the ingredients is probably what helped this recipe to prevail throughout the years.
Texas Sheet Cake History
I found this recipe scribbled on the back of a Kilgore Bank deposit slip, in a Piggly Wiggly grocery sack of recipes I inherited from my Grandmother!
Just in case you're unfamiliar with this small East Texas town, it is not only full or rich oil folks, but also home to the world famous Kilgore College Rangerettes!
From the looks of the newspaper clippings and other recipes in the bag, this version dates back to around 1968.
Food historians and librarians discovered publications as early as 1936, where it appeared Galveston Daily News and in again in 1967, in the Huntsville Heritage Cookbook (out of Alabama, not Texas.)
By the 1950's, this popular dessert was widely known in the South as "Texas Sheath or Sheet" Cake.
My research indicates that there was a discrepancy over whether it was called "sheet" or "sheath."
There are a variety of names for this Southern classic dessert: "Sheath", Brownie or Brownie Sheet, and plain old Sheet Cake.
Early recipes used buttermilk as an ingredient; however, today, there are versions that use sour cream in lieu of buttermilk. This version uses buttermilk.
You'll love this recipe!
Easy - three simple steps
All-natural ingredients - no boxed mix with additives, preservatives or fillers
Keep in mind, this thin chocolate dessert yields about 16-20 slices, so, if you're serving a large group, you might want to double the recipe.
Here's what you'll need for the cake
The Original recipe says to bake this on a jelly roll pan. If you don't have a jelly roll pan, use a 9 x 13 baking dish.
What Is a "Jelly Roll" pan?
A jelly roll pan (also known as a half-pan) is a rectangular baking pan usually 18 x 12 and has one-inch sides.
If you don't have a jelly roll pan, use a baking sheet with sides or a 9 x 13 baking dish.
A note about the baking dish:
If you use a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, the Texas Sheet Cake has a tendency to swell in the center so, when you add the icing, it runs to the sides. For this reason, I strongly recommend using a jelly roll pan.
How to make the Original Texas Sheet Cake
After you add the cocoa sauce to the sugar/flour mixture, it will look something like this. Combine together well.
To finish the batter, add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla to the batter.
Here's what you'll need for the chocolate pecan icing
Powdered (confectioner's) sugar, chopped pecans, cocoa powder, milk, butter and vanilla extract.
How to make the icing
How to tell when it's done
The original recipe says to bake in a non-greased pan, uncovered @ 350ºF about 20-minutes. My oven is old and slow, so it took mine about 40-minutes to bake.
Check it at 20-minutes, then if it's not done, check it in 10-minute increments.
Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center. When it comes out "clean,"it's done!
This Original recipe has pecans in the icing, however, if you're serving to a large group where some might have allergies to nuts, simply eliminate them from the recipe, or serve chopped pecans on the side.
Can I make in advance?
This chocolate dessert does beautifully when made ahead!
Consider storing the it in the fridge (covered) and making the icing the day you plan to serve or, make the batter and icing in advance, store in fridge, and reheat icing prior to serving.
For best results, let the chocolate pecan icing cool on the cake before serving.
Reheating leftover Chocolate Pecan Sauce
This chocolate pecan icing recipe makes about 1 cup, which is plenty to go over the cake; however, if you have any leftover, refrigerate it.
You can easily reheat it on the stove or in the microwave to drizzle a little over a slice of cake.
This Original Texas Sheet Cake is always welcome (and popular) at family reunions and picnics!
- Tex-Mex Sour Cream Sauce
- Texas Chili Recipe
- Southern Sweet Tea
- Southern Potato Salad
- Classic Pecan Pie
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie
- Orange Olive Oil Cake
- No Bake Lemon Icebox Pie
- Orange Creamsicle Icebox Pie
- Chewy Texas Pecan Pralines
If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a rating and comment! I love to hear from you!
Original Texas Sheet Cake
- 2 cups flour , all-purpose
- 2 cups sugar , granulated
- 1¼ cup water , boiling (see recipe notes)
- 2 sticks butter , melted; salted or unsalted
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder , unsweetened
- ½ cup buttermilk , 2% or whole
- 2 whole eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 stick butter , melted
- ⅓ cup cocoa
- 6 tablespoons milk , 2% or whole; (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Bring one cup of water to boil1¼ cup water
- In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar; set aside2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar
- In a saucepan, melt butter; add cocoa and 1 cup of boiling water; combine well; pour this chocolate mixture into flour/sugar mixture; combine well and set aside1¼ cup water, 2 sticks butter, ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- In a separate bowl, combine lightly beaten eggs, baking soda, buttermilk and vanilla; add this to the flour/sugar/chocolate mixture; combine well½ cup buttermilk, 2 whole eggs, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour batter into ungreased baking pan; bake uncovered ¼@350 for 20-30 minutes, or until center is done
- While the cake is baking, melt butter sauce pan; once melted, add cocoa, milk, vanilla, powdered sugar and pecans; combine well; set aside on the lowest temperature1 stick butter, ⅓ cup cocoa, 6 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 ½ cups powdered sugar, 1 cup chopped pecans
- Remove cake from oven and drizzle warm frosting over cake; garnish with additional raw pecans
- Allow to cool a bit before serving
- This cake turns out best when baked in an 18 x 13 jelly roll pan. If you don't have a jelly roll pan, use a 9 x 13 baking dish. The pecan frosting may pool around the perimeter of the cake in a 9 x 13 pan because the cake rises when baked in a glass baking dish.
- Boil 1 ¼ cups of water-you'll only use one cup, but that extra ¼ cup will dissipate.
- This is a relatively thin cake, (when made in a jelly roll pan) not thick like an angel food cake.
- You'll get 12-16 servings out of this recipe
- If you're serving a large number of people, you may want to double the recipes and bake two pans of this delicious dessert!
- Out of milk? Use ½ evaporated milk and ½ water as a substitute for the milk.
- The cake batter does not contain pecans, but you can add some if you like