Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

Expansive yet barely an inch tall, this chocolate-on-chocolate special of the Lone Star State starts with a cake that’s even lighter than devil’s food. A hot cocoa icing sheens its surface and soaks into the warm cake a bit, deepening its richness. Variations abound among cooks, but baking the batter in a shallow pan is key to achieving the just-right, fudgy-fluffy balance of icing to cake. While some recipes include pecans in the icing, this version keeps them on top of the cake so they stay crisp. It also calls for enough nuts to generously cover the whole top so there’s crunch in every bite. If you’d like, you can sprinkle the top with a little flaky or coarse salt too.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 13 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a half-sheet pan (13-by-18-by-1-inch). Spread the pecans on a second half-sheet pan and bake until lightly toasted, 7 to 9 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt, and make a well in the center. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring often. Add the cocoa powder and stir well. Then add the hot coffee and boil for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Pour the mixture into the well in the dry ingredients, then fold gently just until no traces of flour remain. Set saucepan aside without washing.
  3. Step 3

    Whisk the sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour into the chocolate mixture and fold gently until incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, 18 to 20 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack.
  4. Step 4

    Right after the cake comes out of the oven, make the icing: Melt the butter in the reserved saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Add the cocoa and stir until smooth and bubbling, then turn off the heat. Add the milk, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar, and stir until smooth. It’s OK if there are tiny lumps.
  5. Step 5

    Pour the warm frosting over the warm cake and spread evenly. Sprinkle the toasted pecans all over the top and gently press into the icing. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. The cake keeps, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to 3 months. If needed, bring to room temperature before serving.