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Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake is famous for good reason. It's moist, deeply chocolate and altogether delicious. It's also amazingly quick to put together so it can be whipped up -- start to finish, baking, frosting and all -- in 40 minutes or less. Ready to commemorate, celebrate or alleviate life events. It's also perfect when you want something delicious and you want it fast. You don't even have to get out your electric mixer; you can mix up this cake by hand in a jiffy.
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. (Since I'm a chocolate freak, I use just a half-teaspoon of cinnamon. I want the cinnamon flavor to come through, but only just a hint of it. Strictly a matter of personal preference.)

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, stirring until you have a smooth, rather thin batter.

Pour into your prepared pan, and bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Mix the milk and cocoa in a heavy saucepan (stir, stir, stir). Add the butter and, over medium heat, stir until the butter melts. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the pecans.

When the cake is just out of the oven, spread the frosting evenly on the hot cake.

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 20-25 minutes; Total time: 40-45 minutes

Recipe editor

Note: This is a good recipe in which to use dry buttermilk. For a product review, see Dry Buttermilk.

For the related Dessert Spotlight article, see Texas Sheet Cake, Hospitality in a Cake. The serving dishes in our photograph are Fiesta dinnerware.

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