grannie geek, chocolate texas sheet cakeIt was cold and rainy yesterday here in Billings.  Perfect time to whip up a cake.  If I still had school-age children hanging around, this would be a perfect after school treat with a tall, cold glass of milk.  Oh my – this cake is fabulous!

I’m beginning to collect a variety of sheet cake recipes.  They’re quick and easy.  I use a 17″x11″x2″ sheet cake pan, so when the cake bakes, it doesn’t spill over the edge of the pan to burn on the oven floor – a common problem for me in my journey of sheet cake experiments.  I used to make a sheet cake called “Texas Brownies.”  There was an inordinate amount of chocolate syrup in the batter, and the frosting was made with lots of sugar and chocolate chips.  This Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake reminds a lot of my old recipe.

grannie geek, chocolate texas sheet cake 2This particular chocolate cake is rich and moist – a cross between a cake and a light brownie. And the frosting tastes almost like fudge. The original recipe called for cinnamon, but I substituted an equal amount of espresso powder, which makes the cake taste more chocolaty – not a bad thing at all.  Another time saver – you frost the cake when it comes out of the over.  No need to wait for it to cool.

I happen to like walnuts and pecans, but not everyone does.  You can leave the cake plainly frosted, or sprinkle on mini chocolate chips, or mini Reese’s pieces that would be fun for a Halloween themed treat.

Brew a pot of coffee and have a piece, before the kids get home!

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A quick, rich, moist chocolate sheet cake with a simple, fudge-like frosting
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 12-16
  • For the cake:
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons milk
  • 4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pound (16oz) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch Kosher salt
  • 1 cup of toppings of your choice: toasted pecans, mini chocolate chips, mini Reese's pieces, mini peanut butter chips, colored sprinkles
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or use vegetable oil spray to grease a sheet pan - recommended 11"x17"x2" cake pan. You can use a jelly roll pan.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla to buttermilk. Whisk to blend and set aside.
  4. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, add one stick (1/2 cup) of butter, ½ cup of shortening, and 2 cups of sugar. Beat on medium speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. In the meantime, bring water and 2 Tablespoons of oil to a boil. Remove from heat and add 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder. Stir to mix with a fork or whisk, and set aside.
  6. To the butter/sugar mixture, add 2 cups of flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, if using. Mix together on low speed.
  7. Continue on low speed, and add the cocoa/water mixture.
  8. When just combined, add the buttermilk/egg/vanilla mixture. Continue on low speed until just combined.
  9. Remove the mixing bowl, and run a spatula around the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and place on a cooling rack.
  10. For the frosting:
  11. Assemble all the ingredients for the frosting, while the cake is baking.
  12. About 5 minutes before the cake is done, bring the milk and ½ cup of butter to a boil.
  13. As the milk/butter mixture is heating, add the powdered sugar, 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder, and small pinch of salt to a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Using the mixer, stir the powdered sugar and cocoa until it's all evenly disbursed.
  14. With the mixer on slow speed, add the boiling milk/butter mixture to the powdered sugar/cocoa mixture in the bowl. The frosting will come together quickly. Add vanilla.
  15. Spread the frosting over the warm cake, using an offset spatula. Work quickly - the frosting will set up. Sprinkle on top toasted pecans or any other sprinkle topping of your choice.