Texas Sheet Cake | Print |
(20 votes, average 3.70 out of 5)


By Rick Bayless

This was my dessert growing up in Oklahoma, probably because I couldn’t stay away from the chocolatey ooze created by spreading warm chocolate frosting on warm chocolate cake.  After years in professional kitchens, I’ve modified the recipe slightly—I’ve made it a little less sweet and substituted tenderizing powdered sugar for granulated. The “sheet” in the title refers to the pan-size—a 13 by 18 inch jelly roll pan—a little larger and deeper than a standard jellyroll pan.  Feel free to finish the cake a day or so ahead; well-wrapped and refrigerated, it keeps nicely. I like to cut the cake into 3-inch squares, sprinkle them lightly with a little extra powdered sugar and serve them ice cream.


Makes 24 3-inch squares

For the cake:

  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (13 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups (20 ounces) powdered sugar
  • ½  cup (2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the frosting and topping:

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • A 1-pound box or bag of powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted if you like
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 13x18-inch jelly roll pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, water and vegetable oil.  Set over medium heat and stir until the butter melts.  Remove from the heat.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Add the butter mixture and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined.  Add the egg mixture and beat for a couple of minutes (all this beating can be done with a stand or portable mixture if that suits you).
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the center springs back when lightly touched.
  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting (don’t start before the cake goes into the oven; the frosting needs to be warm when it goes onto the warm cake).  In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the butter and milk.  Stir until the butter melts, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa. Pour in the warm milk mixture and stir to combine.
  7. When the cake comes out of the oven, let it stand for 3 or 4 minutes, then dollop the frosting over it.  Use a spatula to gently spread it evenly over the cake.  Sprinkle with the pecans and let cool completely.

Adapted from Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless (Simon & Schuster).