March 4, 2019

The BEST Chocolate Sheet Cake

A velvety, tender, perfectly chocolate Texas sheet cake made from a tried-and-true family recipe perfect for entertaining or just because!

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This cake is so decadently delicious and sinfully addictive that we call it the dang devil cake! When you make it you won’t be able to stay out of it because it’s the devil, I tell ya!

The last time Mama brought this over to the house it was setting on the kitchen counter most of the afternoon while we visited and I cooked supper. I’d been looking at it most of the day and hadn’t let it tempt me too terribly.

Because I’d forgotten. I forgot it’s the dang devil!

The BEST chocolate Texas sheet cake recipe that's as velvety tender as petit fours and so sinfully addictive you’ll call it the devil!

We ate supper and were cleaning up the kitchen and, even though I was full as a tick, I grabbed a butter knife and cut out a little square of the cake so I could get a little taste. And then I cut another one. And then another one.

Then Baby Girl came through and I snuck her a little piece. Then she ate another.

Then Mama realized what was happening and before she could open her mouth to scold us, I whacked off a little square of the cake and popped it in her mouth.

The BEST chocolate Texas sheet cake recipe that's as velvety tender as petit fours and so sinfully addictive you’ll call it the devil!

And the three of us stood in my kitchen haphazardly carving that poor cake up one bite-sized piece at a time until we’d knocked about a quarter of it down.

Lawza mercy

It’s the dang devil!

The BEST chocolate Texas sheet cake recipe that's as velvety tender as petit fours and so sinfully addictive you’ll call it the devil!

This is one of those recipes that, at a glance, looks pretty good but, honestly, doesn’t look like anything spectacular. What you can’t tell by looking at it is that it has the velvety, tender texture of a petit four.

Remember petit fours? I mean the good ones you had to order weeks ahead from that special bakery? Back when women still served them at showers? I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a real, scratch-made petit four. When did we stop doing that?

It’s one of those homemade recipes that’s genuinely WORTH the effort. You get to feel super proud of something you made 100% from scratch.

The BEST chocolate Texas sheet cake recipe that's as velvety tender as petit fours and so sinfully addictive you’ll call it the devil!

Don't glance at the recipe and let the length of it scare you off. Most of the ingredients for the cake and the icing are the same (I just list them out separately to make it easy to follow along).

You probably already have a lot of these ingredients. All you need to make this cake is:
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Cocoa powder
  • Buttermilk and milk
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar

This cake is perfect for parties and entertaining because:
  • It doesn’t have to be refrigerated which is helpful when your fridge is otherwise full with all the other food you’re serving.
  • You could slice this thing into as many as 30 servings if you needed to.
  • You can dress it up with sprinkles or chopped nuts if desired (this is amazing for birthday parties!)
  • You can make it a day or two ahead of time and it’s still perfectly tender and moist when you’re ready to serve.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake

Yield: 15-25 Servings
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 40 M


For the Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water or black coffee
  • 2 sticks butter (real, salted)
For the Icing:
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (real, salted)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 1-lb box powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


How to cook The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake

For the Cake:
  1. Grease a 10x15 baking pan (or spray with cooking spray) and preheat oven to 350 degrees. See notes below regarding other pan sizes.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to incorporate ingredients then set aside.
  3. Combine buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract to a small bowl then mix well and set aside.
  4. Add cocoa powder to a small saucepan then whisk in water or black coffee until smooth. Add butter then stir and heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat.
  5. Pour hot cocoa power mixture into bowl with flour mixture then stir to incorporate. Add buttermilk mixture then whisk all ingredients together for one minute.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan then bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven then prepare icing.
For the Icing:
  1. Combine milk, butter and salt in a small saucepan then heat until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat then stir in vanilla extract.
  2. Meanwhile, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa into a large mixing bowl (the sifting is optional but it prevents lumps in the icing). Pour hot milk/butter mixture into bowl with powdered sugar and cocoa powder then stir until smooth.
  3. Pour icing over warm cake. Let cake rest for a few hours before serving to ensure the icing sets up some before cutting the cake.
  4. Once the cake is cool, cover then store at room temperature.


A 10x15x1 pan is a traditional jellyroll pan. If your pan is very shallow, you may not be able to fit all of the icing on your cake (most are – Mama’s is – that’s ok) just include as much as will fit or let the icing cool a bit before adding to the cake so that it pours thicker.
I bought this 10x15x2 pan specifically for making this cake so that the icing goes on easy-peasy and so that I can easily wrap the pan without the foil or plastic wrap resting on the icing (see link below).
You can also prepare this in 18x13 half-sheet cake pan. If you do, reduce the baking time to 15-17 minutes then test with a toothpick for doneness.
I’ve never made this in a 13x9 pan though I’ve heard plenty folks say they make sheet cake recipes in them. If you try it, increase the baking time to 25-27 minutes then test with a toothpick for doneness.
No buttermilk? No problem! Add 1½ teaspoons white vinegar to a small measuring pitcher then add milk until the total volume measures 1/2 cup. Let mixture set 10 minutes before using.
Feel free to top the icing with chopped pecans or sprinkles if you’d like!
Texas, sheet cake, chocolate, cocoa, homemade, devil, best, easy, dessert, petit fours, recipe
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was shared at the Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday!

Keep up with my latest shenanigans by following South Your Mouth!
The BEST chocolate Texas sheet cake recipe that's as velvety tender as petit fours and so sinfully addictive you’ll call it the devil!


  1. I love a good sheet cake, it is the perfect thing for feeding a crowd. I can see why you kept going back for more of this. It looks delicious!

  2. Mandy, I don't know if this recipe originated in Texas or not, but I am originally from East Texas (in Tennessee for the past 30+ years) and I can tell you I started making this cake at least 47 years ago (that's how long I have been married, and it was one of the first desserts I attempted.) I remember deciding to make this cake once and got all my ingredients out and got my pan ready, preheated the oven and was ready to go when I opened my box of cocoa and discovered that I only had about 2 tablespoons of cocoa left. Needing to make a dessert, I just winged it, and left the cocoa out of the recipe and added lemon juice and a little lemon extract in place of the vanilla. It turned out great. I think this recipe is very forgiving. Thanks for sharing it with everyone. Love your recipes.

    1. The earliest versions of this recipe I've seen date back to the 60s... you know something's good when it's been around that long! I *think* it might be called Texas sheet cake because it's as big as Texas not necessarily that the recipe originated there but who really knows?! Maybe it's both!

      I've made this without the cocoa and just doubled up on the vanilla and LOVED it but now I'm dying to try it with lemon juice and extract! That sounds divine! Thank you for sharing that idea!

    2. Here is a thought, if you make it with lemon, when it comes out the oven poke some holes in it with a skewer and make a little lemon/sugar syrup and pour that over the top, let it soak in for a few hours and then cut and serve, I would dust it with a little icing sugar and add a whacking big dollop of real whipped cream, not that canned spray cream Amerkans seem to enjoy so much. I wonder if using limes would make it like a "Key lime" cake.
      So we don't get confused, I'm from Australia, we like to have our cake and eat it too.

  3. The last time I made a Texas sheet cake, we kept picking at it even after everybody had had a piece or two. I finally just put it in the middle of the table and we took turns cutting off "just a little piece" until the whole dang thing was pretty much gone. :-)

    1. It's the dang devil! I'm glad we're not the only ones!

  4. Definitely making this when husband is home. Otherwise, my "just one more bite" will have me polishing off the whole cake.

  5. 3 1/2 sticks of butter?? Yikes!! Will it make you gain 10 lbs?!?

    1. Only if you eat the whole cake by yourself.

  6. Love anything Southern and I'm not. Love your cooking, homes and gardens. Thanks for all your hard work. Pat

  7. Could you use self-rising flour, and leave out baking powder? Thanks

    1. I would think so but I've never tried it myself so I'm not 100% sure. I don't know how important the baking soda is (vs baking powder that's in SR flour). If you try it, let us know!

  8. I think this is similar to the recipe my mom uses for my most FAVORITE cake, but I think she pokes holes in it with a toothpick before pouring the icing over. Do you think that would work well with this? It makes the cake super moist!

  9. Have this cooling right now. I made it in a 13x9 and had to add an additional 15 minutes. My only downside is I didn't like that the middle of the cake was slightly higher because the icing pooled around the whole perimeter but barely covered the center. I didn't need all the icing since the top surface of the cake was smaller but that gave me a few licks to polish off ;)

    1. That's always going to be the case with 13x9 pans (same thing happens when you use a cake mix) because there isn't as much open surface area.

  10. Looks delicious! How many grams is a stick of butter?

    1. Google is telling me 115. One stick of butter is 1/2 cup, 115 grams, 125 ml or 4 ounces.

  11. Made this cake and turned out fabulous!! Brought some into work and it was gone in an hour! Talk of the day! Didn’t need all that icing though and I love icing. Making again today and will probably do 1/2 or 3/4 of the recipe for the icing. Awesome recipe!!!

  12. Yummm! Looks like an incredible cake! I can’t wait to try it soon. May I ask if there is a taste difference when using coffee instead of water? Thank you so much!

    1. I think it has more of a dark chocolate taste but only slightly. I don't think you can taste the coffee really, it just knocks the sweet down a tad while giving it another layer of flavor.

  13. Looks Delicious!!May I ask where you purchased your10x15x2 inch pan?I think that would be a great size.

    1. For some reason I can't copy the link, but I got it on Amazon… search for Fat Daddio's 10x15x2 :)

  14. Please I love recipe
    Can you wrote in metric system.
    I sm from Croatia.
    Thank you!!!


Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy