When it comes to iconic American desserts, the Texas sheet cake holds a special place in the hearts of many. I love a good chocolate cake. and Texas sheet cake is characterized by its moist, tender crumb, rich chocolate flavor, and velvety icing, has been a staple of Texan gatherings for generations.Jump to Recipe
This lightened up Texas sheet cake gives you all of the flavor of the traditional cake, but without that feeling of heaviness you feel after eating.
Texas Sheet Cake History
This dessert, also known as "Texas Sheath Cake" or "Texas Brownie Cake," has deep Texan roots. Its exact origins remain a topic of debate, but it's believed to have been a popular choice for potlucks, picnics, and family gatherings across the state since the mid-20th century.
The Perfect Ingredients
The foundation of any great Texas sheet cake lies in selecting the finest ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Baking soda
- Cocoa powder
For the frosting you will need:
- Powdered sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Pecans (optional)
The Baking Process
Creating the perfect Texas sheet cake begins with the cake batter. Follow these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a cookie sheet pan. (approximately 18x13 inch with rimmed edges)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate pan, combine the yogurt, cocoa powder, and water over low heat. Stir until smooth.
- Pour the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
- In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the batter and stir until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Preparing the Frosting
The icing is what takes the Texas sheet cake to the next level. Here's how to make it:
- In a saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa powder, and buttermilk over low heat.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and then remove it from the heat.
- Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until the icing is smooth.
- Finally, fold in the chopped pecans (if using) ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the icing.
Serving and Presentation
Once your Texas sheet cake is baked and the icing is ready, it's time to put it all together:
- While the cake is still warm, pour the icing evenly over the top. The heat of the cake will help the icing spread and set.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before serving. This gives the icing time to set, creating that iconic sheet cake texture.
- Slice your cake into squares or rectangles, and it's ready to serve!
To add a touch of elegance, you can garnish each piece with a dusting of powdered sugar or a few extra pecans.
Variations and Creative Twists
While the classic Texas sheet cake is hard to beat, there's room for creativity and personalization. Here are some ideas to experiment with:
- White Texas Sheet Cake: Swap out the cocoa powder in both the cake and icing for white chocolate to create a delightful white Texas sheet cake.
- Flavored Extracts: Add a unique twist by using different flavored extracts, such as almond or orange, for a subtle flavor variation.
- Spices: Incorporate spices like cinnamon or nutmeg into the cake batter for an extra layer of warmth and complexity.
- Nut Variations: While pecans are traditional, you can use other nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts for a different flavor profile.
Tips for Perfecting Your Texas Sheet Cake
- Even Spreading: Ensure that you spread the batter and icing evenly in the pan for a consistent texture throughout the cake.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Let your eggs, buttermilk, and butter come to room temperature before using them. This helps with even mixing and baking.
- Cooling Time: Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting to achieve the best texture and flavor.
- Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
What Pairs Well with this Cake?
More chocolate of course! But maybe for a fun variation you could try this molten lava cake, or a copycat Cheesecake Factory Oreo Cheesecake. Of course, you can never go wrong with a chocolate keto cake too. It's also gluten free!
Making Texas Sheet Cake Gluten and or Dairy Free and Vegan
To make your cake gluten free, just use gluten free flour. Make sure it's a good baking flour that has xantham gum. Additionally you can add 2 teaspoons psyllium husk powder for an extra beautiful light and airy cake.
It's also pretty easy to make this cake dairy free and vegan too! Just use flax eggs for the eggs and substitute dairy free butter and milk.
Frequently Asked Questions
It's called a "sheet" cake because it's typically baked in a large, shallow baking pan, resembling a sheet. This allows you to feed a crowd with ease.
Yes, you can halve the recipe and use a smaller baking dish if you don't need as much cake. Adjust the baking time accordingly.
Yes, you can omit the nuts from the cake or icing if you have nut allergies or simply prefer a nut-free version. It will still be delicious.
You can use unsweetened cocoa powder, either natural or Dutch-processed, depending on your preference. Natural cocoa powder tends to have a brighter, more acidic flavor, while Dutch-processed cocoa is mellower.
While buttermilk is traditional and adds a tangy flavor, you can use regular milk as a substitute if necessary. However, buttermilk does contribute to the cake's characteristic tenderness.
Yes, you can make it a day ahead. In fact, many people find that the flavors meld and the cake becomes even more delicious the next day.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. If you have a particularly hot climate, you might want to refrigerate it to extend its shelf life.
Yes, you can freeze Texas sheet cake. Wrap individual slices or the whole cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw slices in the refrigerator before serving.
To achieve the ideal texture, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature, and follow the recipe instructions for mixing and baking carefully. Additionally, allowing the cake to cool completely before cutting helps it set properly.
The Best Texas Sheet Cake Recipe
- For the Cake:
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup hot water
- ½ cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup low fat buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the Frosting:
- 6 tablespoon butter
- ⅓ cup reduced or fat free milk
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup chopped pecans optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degree pan. Grease and flour a 15x9 inch jelly roll pan.
- In a mixing bowl, place the flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add in the hot water,greek yogurt, cocoa, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and continue beating mixture on medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Pour mixture into the 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
- Makes 20 slices.
- In a mixer, blend together milk, powdered sugar, and butter at medium-high speed until frosting becomes light and fluffy (approximately 1-2 minutes). You may need to add more powdered sugar if necesary. (⅛ a cup at a time). Spread evenly over cooled cake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans if desired.