This Texas Sheet Cake recipe is THE ONE, you guys! As in, the only one you will ever need. Sour cream in the cake and the glaze, brown sugar, and extra cocoa make this the BEST chocolate sheet cake of your life!!

texas sheet cake

Here’s how my summer is going so far:

Morning time: Poke around the house with the kids until they start strangling each other.

Lunchish: Get kids out of the house to run errands. Forget to feed them lunch. (??? Okay I’ll be honest I think I was in denial about preparing another meal and just fled the house instead)

Target time: Party Poppers! Firework Oreos! Water balloons! So much fun stuff for the 4th, but the food court in Target (what do you call it? You know, where they have the pizza and popcorn.) was CLOSED. The guy’s walking off and I’m like hold up! And he’s like, naw I’m on my lunch break. (???)

texas sheet cake recipe

Pool time: I promised the kids we would go to the pool in the afternoon, but it’s already 3pm and still no lunch. So I head to McDonald’s and get in the 100-car-length drive through line. Then I realize that the pool closes at 4 and if we don’t leave immediately we won’t get to swim. So we leave and go swim. My kids at this point have had nothing to eat since a 10am muffin. (That we made together!! Fun in the kitchen! See, sometimes I feed them!!)

McDonald’s time: When the pool closes at 4pm, I feel so bad that the kids haven’t eaten that I give in when they ask me to go to the slightly-farther-away McDonald’s that has a Play Place.

texas chocolate sheet cake

Nope: Play Place is closed. We don’t get our food until 4:45. (Why is there so much traffic in Sacramento??)

After that I took the kids to Costco for some stuff we needed, because I like to torture myself on days when I skip the baby’s nap and drag it out even longer. But they loved the samples! Making up for missed lunch.

Are you guys ready for the 4th of July?? I’m so excited. We will be making Nana’s Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs and “Barb”-ecue Sauce, My Favorite Coleslaw, and Mexican Street Corn Dip. And of course this Texas Sheet Cake.

This Texas Sheet Cake recipe is perfect for big parties because it’s SUPER easy and makes a ton. I made this last week, and then immediately sent the leftovers to work with Eric.

recipe for texas sheet cake

Three days later I made it again because I was regretting sending it in to work. Had one piece and realized I had an entire cake to myself and that is bad news. I distributed between neighbors.

Then last week I was writing out the final recipe and was doing some serious Texas Sheet Cake pondering, and decided I wanted to add brown sugar and even more cocoa, so I started making it again. Eric heard me get the pan out and turn on the gas burner and said, “Again??” It was 10:30pm.

How to Make a Texas Sheet Cake

how to make texas sheet cake

chocolate sheet cake

It was worth it guys. The final batch of this cake was definitely the best. Traditional Texas chocolate sheet cake calls for all white sugar and about 1/4 cup of cocoa. In this cake, we’re using half brown sugar and half white sugar, and doubling the cocoa. It makes it extra rich and chocolatey! And it’s so moist!

The other thing about this cake is that you’ve got to make it in a decent size sheet pan. To get the best cake-to-glaze ratio, you need to bake this in an 18×13 inch pan, also called a baker’s half sheet. If you bake it in a smaller pan, you will get a thicker cake and then you will only want to eat the top half of the cake. (At least that’s what I did.) There are baking times in the notes if you do want to make it in a smaller pan though.

texas chocolate sheet cake

One last amazing thing about this recipe for Texas sheet cake: sour cream. A lot of recipes call for buttermilk, which would work great too, but I never have buttermilk on hand. I always have sour cream though. Sour cream adds the same tanginess that you’re going for. It’s perfection!

This would be a great dessert to bring to your festivities tomorrow!! Happy 4th of July everyone!

Update! I’ve become slightly obsessed with sheet cakes. Here’s a White Texas Sheet Cake that you are going to love, and here’s a Lemon Sheet Cake with Lemon Glaze, both based off the original chocolate version! They are so good.

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One year ago: No Bake Cherry Cream Cheese Pie
Four years ago: Some 4th of July Recipes for You!
Six years ago: Chicken Shawarma 

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Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

Serves 16-20     adjust servings

This Texas Sheet Cake recipe is THE ONE, you guys! As in, the only one you will ever need. Sour cream in the cake and the glaze, brown sugar, and extra cocoa make this the BEST chocolate sheet cake of your life!!


For the cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs

For the glaze

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan* with parchment paper, or spray well with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium or large saucepan, add 1 cup butter, 1 cup water, and 1/2 cup cocoa. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once it boils, take it off the heat.
  3. Let it cool for a minute or two, then stir in brown sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
  4. Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the saucepan. (Then wipe out the bowl and put it back in your cupboard.)
  6. Stir well, then add 1/2 cup sour cream and eggs. Blend well until all the lumps are gone.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the sides.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes* (check times below), until a toothpick comes out of the center with no wet batter on it. The sides of the cake should just be starting to pull away from the edge of the pan. Don't over bake!
  9. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Clean out the saucepan you used for the batter** and add 1 stick of butter and 1/4 cup cocoa. Stir together over medium heat until it comes to a boil, then remove from the heat.
  10. Add 6 tablespoons sour cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  11. Use a whisk to stir in the powdered sugar. If your cake is not done baking when you finish the glaze, stir it every now and then to break up the hardened shell on top.
  12. When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Spread the glaze over the cake.
  13. Serve this with milk. No, seriously.


If you make this recipe, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it!

More sheet cakes you won’t be able to resist! 

Mississippi Mud Cake << kinda like Texas Sheet Cake…except there’s also a layer of marshmallow cream.

Mississippi Mud Cake from The Food Charlatan


Almond Sheet Cake << this is one of my personal favorites!! You could decorate the top of this with strawberries and blueberries for your 4th of July festivities this week.

Almond Sheet Cake


Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting << this is stupid easy.

Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting from The Food Charlatan


I know this isn’t a sheet cake, but it is a TEXAS recipe, so I feel like I need to include it :)

Texas Cowboy Cookies << one of the top recipes on the blog!

Texas Cowboy Cookies (Cow Chips) from The Food Charlatan


More sheet cakes to try from blog friends!

Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from A Family Feast
Lemon Sheet Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from Back for Seconds
Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Caramel Frosting from Bless This Mess