Dessert,  Recipes

A Texas Dessert Tradition

If you’re from Texas, you’ve had this cake. I pretty much grew up on it. It’s thin, made in a baking sheet, or sheet pan (hence the name) and has nuts on top, or not.

It used to be made with part butter and part shortening (Crisco, to be exact), but I now make it with only butter. Crisco’s out of style.

Texas Sheet Cake



  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. Butter cubed
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  • 1/2 c. Butter cubed
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. whole milk
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. toasted pecans roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a jelly roll pan or a 15”-x-10” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and salt and whisk until well combined.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter, water and cocoa powder. Cook, stirring often, until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture into flour mixture and stir until well combined. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla and stir until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make frosting: In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder and milk. Bring mixture to a simmer then remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth then stir in pecans.
  7. Pour frosting over cake while the cake is still hot, then sprinkle more pecans on top. Let cool completely before cutting, about 1 hour.

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