Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

My daughter and I are addicted to the show Friday Night Lights now (yes I know we're a few years late to the party but we don't have a ton of time to watch TV and when we do it's usually hockey). If you've never seen it, the series is set in Dillon, Texas and is basically a really fun soap opera that revolves around the local high school football team. So when I recently saw this recipe for Texas sheet cake, coupled with the fact that making one has long been on my bucket list, I just had to try it. Guys, one bite and it's "Texas Forever" for me!

If you're not already set with your Easter desserts, this would be a terrific addition. First off, it makes a fairly large cake. Then, it's chocolate through and through from the cake to the creamy frosting and will definitely please all those chocoholics in your crowd. Lastly, it's easy to make. Really! As in you-can-whip-it-up-in-under-an-hour, frosting included, because the frosting gets poured on the cake while it's hot!

Once you've slathered on the frosting, you sprinkle a generous amount of chopped toasted nuts on top (I used pecans) and they provide just the right amount of contrasting crunch!

The cake itself is fudgy and moist without being overly heavy and the frosting is creamy, sweet and oh so finger lickin good!

It's an unpretentious, down home, friendly, drop-in-and-have-a-piece-anytime, kind of a treat that you'd expect to find in kitchens all across the great old Lone Star state. Texas forever! 

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

Serves a whole lot of people
Prep Time:  15 minutes; Bake Time:  32-35 minutes


For the Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

The Recipe

1.  For the Cake:  Butter or spray with nonstick baking spray a 15x10x2-inch baking pan and set aside. Center an oven rack and preheat oven to 375F.

2.  Place the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and melt. Whisk in the cocoa. Then add in the oil and water and bring to a full rolling boil. Let boil for about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside to cool a bit. 

3.  While mixture is cooling, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.  Then use a whisk to make sure everything is incorporated well. Pour the warm cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

4.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla together. Using a rubber spatula, stir the buttermilk mixture into the mixture in the large bowl until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 

5.  Bake the cake for about 30-35 minutes, until the surface is firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached to it.  Check the cake early though. All ovens differ and mine was ready at 30 minutes. You want the cake to be moist and not dried out. 

6.  Make the frosting while the cake is baking. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa and bring to a full rolling boil. Let boil for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and whisk in the milk and vanilla. Still whisking, add in 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar at a time, until mixture is completely smooth.

7.  As soon as the cake is done, pour the frosting over it and use an offset spatula or knife to smooth it out over the entire surface. Quickly sprinkle with the nuts and then leave it alone. If you try to move it before the frosting sets, you'll spoil the glossy smoothness of the frosting and there will be bumps and waves in it. Let the cake cool completely before cutting into squares.

8.  Leftovers can be wrapped well and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. 

Note:  Recipe adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.

Print Friendly and PDF