Mom’s Retro Chocolate Sheet Cake (aka Texas Sheet Cake)

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Mom's Retro Chocolate Sheet Cake

It’s interesting how popular recipes travel across the country as they are shared among friends and family. This recipe comes from both sides of our family. It’s a delicious retro chocolate sheet cake, also known as Texas Sheet Cake, and it’s one of my favorites from childhood. I remember my mother making these for parties, and they were always devoured. You cook the frosting on the stove and pour it over the cake while both are still hot, then let the cake and frosting cool. The cake has a consistency much like a brownie. It’s absolutely decadent and very easy.


small sauce pan
medium sauce pan
stand mixer with paddle attachment
15-1/2 x 10-1/2 x 1 pan (aka jelly roll pan), greased and floured


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
2 tablespoons ground espresso (optional)
2 sticks unsalted butter
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

1 stick margarine
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, shaved
6 tablespoons buttermilk
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts


1. Cake: Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Sift together flour, sugar and soda.

3. Melt margarine, cocoa and water in small pan on stove over low heat. Bring to a boil and pour over dry ingredients.

4. Blend together and add vanilla, buttermilk and eggs. Mix.

5. Pour into a greased and floured 15-1/2 x 10-1/2 x 1 pan. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.

6. Frosting: About 10 minutes before cake is done, melt margarine, cocoa and buttermilk in medium pan. Bring to a boil.

7. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts. Stir well.

8. Pour over hot cake and allow to set up.


I’ve changed the frosting just a bit and substituted 2 ounces shaved unsweetened chocolate. It makes the rich frosting even richer. The original recipe calls for 5 tablespoons cocoa powder.

The ground espresso is my addition. I like how the coffee plays with the chocolate.


For the cake, make sure that you are using natural unsweetened cocoa instead of dutch process. Natural unsweetened cocoa still has the natural acids, which means that it only requires baking soda for the cake to successfully rise. Dutch process cocoa is treated with an alkali to remove the acids and make a more mellow chocolate, which means that you must use baking powder instead of soda in order for a cake to rise properly.


Source: Germaine McClure, Ann Meyers

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. says

    Wow so glad I found and read your recipe just moments before I started making a texas sheet cake! Being Dutch I planned to use our Dutch cocoa, knowing there is a difference between the two but never realised I had to adjust the baking soda/powder because of that. Thanks so much Andrea!

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