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Texas Sheet Cake

This Texas Sheet Cake is a decadent classic. Chocolate lovers unite over this rich sheet cake that’s deceivingly simple. With only a handful of common ingredients, you’re less than an hour away from divine chocolatey goodness.

The not-so-secret secret ingredient in this Texas Sheet Cake is sour milk. Don’t click away! Hear me out. You won’t taste anything weird, and the sour milk has a purpose. 

For one, it acts like buttermilk, so you’ll end up with a delicate, tender crumb. That means the cake will be light, moist, and so tasty. And it was gives it the classic taste like these Sheet Cake Cookies.

Additionally, the vinegar used to sour the milk activates the baking soda in the recipe to act as the leavening agent for the cake. So sour milk is like a double-whammy secret ingredient that creates a cake to die for.  

Chocolate Sheet Cake

If you’re a chocoholic like me, you’ll also want to try my Death By Chocolate Pie and these Moonies, AKA Chocolate Mousse Brownies

This Texas Sheet Cake is a family recipe we’ve been making since I was a little girl. From birthday parties to a special weekend treat, this is a tried-and-true recipe from my family to yours.

Why This Recipe Works

Texas Sheet Cake is an effortless, delicious dessert that can feed a large crowd.

  • You can bake, frost, and serve this cake in under an hour. Or, bake it ahead of time and frost it right when you need it.
  • Sour milk and baking soda are the leavening agents in this recipe that’ll create the perfect crumb.
  • Sour milk in the frosting cuts through all the sugar to create a compulsively craveable cake. So, one slice will never be enough.
Chocolate Sheet Cake

What You’ll Need

For the Cake:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Butter – You’ll need ½ cup of butter to melt into the water and another ¼ cup of softened butter to add to the batter. Reach for unsalted butter when possible, but if you only have the salted kind on hand, you can use it, just skip the additional salt in the batter.
  • Eggs – Normally, I suggest room-temperature eggs since they incorporate better. However, these eggs are added to warm batter, so it’s not imperative. 
  • Vanilla
  • Sour Milk – Don’t worry, I’ll explain this next!
  • Baking Soda – The baking soda reacts with the vinegar in the sour milk to create the rising agent for the cake. Don’t swap it for baking powder, or the cake will balloon and spill over the sides of the pan.

For the Frosting:

  • Butter – Use softened, unsalted butter for the frosting. The sour milk will cut the overly sweet taste, and you can add nuts to the frosting if you’d like to lean into a salty taste.
  • Sour Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla
  • Nuts – These are optional. Walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds are my favorites for this recipe. Try toasting and cooling them before adding them to the frosting for added depth of flavor.
Chocolate Sheet Cake

Sour Milk

Sour milk works double-time in this recipe as a texture enhancer and leavening agent. The acidity creates a delicate crumb while activating the baking soda to create the rise for the cake. 

To make sour milk, fill your measuring cup with milk, leaving about ¼ inch of room in the cup. Then top the milk with white vinegar until the measuring cup is full.

You’ll need ½ cup of sour milk for the cake batter and ⅓ cup for the frosting.

How To Make Texas Sheet Cake

For the Cake:

  1. Combine Dry Ingredients – Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Boil Water & Butter & Mix with Dry Ingredients – Meanwhile, bring water and ½ cup of butter to a boil. Then, pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. 
  3. Incorporate Remaining Cake Ingredients – Add eggs, vanilla, sour milk, and baking soda to the batter. Mix until thoroughly combined. 
  4. Pour Into Pan & Bake – Pour the batter into a greased and floured 15” x 11” jelly roll pan or rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350°F oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

For the Frosting:

  1. Beat Together Ingredients – With a stand or hand mixer, beat softened butter, sour milk, powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Start slowly, so the dry ingredients incorporate without covering your kitchen in powdered sugar. As the frosting comes together, you can raise the speed and beat until smooth and glossy.
  2. Fold In the Nuts – If you’re adding nuts to the frosting, you can gently fold them into the finished product. Or, sprinkle them on the frosted cake to serve as flavor and decoration. 

Can I Make This Cake Ahead Of Time

You can bake the sheet cake, then cover the pan with multiple layers of cling film. It’ll keep in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Then, allow the cake to thaw and come to room temperature before frosting and serving.

close up slices of chocolate sheet cake on a white plate

How To Serve Texas Sheet Cake

An ice-cold glass of milk is perfect with a decadent chocolate Texas Sheet Cake. Or, you could put together one of these exciting drinks that’ll hit the spot and create a truly special occasion. 

More Tasty Cake Dessert Recipes

Yield: 24

Chocolate Sheet Cake

slice of sheet cake on white plate

This Texas Sheet Cake is a decadent classic. Chocolate lovers unite over this rich sheet cake that’s deceivingly simple. With only a handful of common ingredients, you're less than an hour away from divine chocolatey goodness.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour milk (see notes below)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sour milk (see notes below)
  • 2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup nuts, (optional)

Instructions

To make the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour a 15x11 in jelly roll pan.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside
  3. Bring water and 1/2 cup butter to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, add to the flour mixture, stir until combined.
  5. Add in the eggs, remaining 1/4 cup butter, vanilla, sour milk, and baking soda.
  6. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

To make the Frosting

  1. With a stand or hand mixer, beat softened butter, sour milk, powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Start slowly, so the dry ingredients incorporate without covering your kitchen in powdered sugar. As the frosting comes together, you can raise the speed and beat until smooth and glossy.
  2. If you’re adding nuts to the frosting, you can gently fold them into the finished product. Or, sprinkle them on the frosted cake to serve as flavor and decoration. 

Notes

To make sour milk, fill your measuring cup with milk, leaving about ¼ inch of room in the cup. Then top the milk with white vinegar until the measuring cup is full.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

24 Servings

Amount Per Serving Calories 290Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 42mgSodium 230mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 1gSugar 29gProtein 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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Erin S
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joy

Sunday 31st of May 2015

The recipe for the sour milk doesn't make sense to me. Both recipes call for 1/2 cup yet the recipe at the bottom indicates 1/3 cup. Clearly I am missing something. I guess all of you can "duh" me when explaining. :)

Erin S

Monday 1st of June 2015

Joy - The cake portion calls for 1/2 cup and the frosting portion calls for 1/3 cup. The notes should help explain how to make the sour milk.

Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

Monday 28th of October 2013

You had me at chocolate.

Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking

Wednesday 2nd of October 2013

Hi Erin, Thank you for sharing your recipe with me. Few weeks ago was the first time I made a sheet cake and although I actually made yours in a 13X9 pan next time I will use a sheet pan so it turns out just like yours. Thank so much for being so supportive since the first #chocolateparty last year and I hope you'll join us for many parties from now on

Laura (Tutti Dolci)

Sunday 29th of September 2013

This cake looks like chocolate heaven!

Emily @ Life on Food

Sunday 29th of September 2013

I had so much fun seeing all of the chocolate recipes. I am sad to see it end.

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