Texas Sheet Cake with Buttermilk produces the most amazing Texas sheet cake of your life! The cake is buttery, chocolate-y and completely melts in your mouth. Top this perfect cake with a sweet and rich chocolate frosting that seeps into the top layer of the cake and you have officially entered chocolate heaven!  

Chocolate and buttermilk are one of my favorite combinations! It produces the most amazing texture and flavor. Try it in this chocolate Texas sheet cake with buttermilk recipe, in my Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake recipe, in my Small German Chocolate Cake Recipe or in my Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!

A square of Texas Sheet Cake on a white plate.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Moist Texas sheet cake with buttermilk. This best Texas sheet cake recipe uses buttermilk for a delicious buttery flavor and a moist sheet cake texture.
  • Silky smooth chocolate frosting. The chocolate frosting is cooked and warm. Pour it on the chocolate cake when still warm, spread it around and let it set. The frosting will set while slightly seeping into the top layer of the cake. The result is the most amazing chocolate dessert! 

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter: The butter makes this chocolate sheet cake with buttermilk melt in your mouth!
  • Cocoa Powder: Regular, unsweetened cocoa powder! The cocoa powder is combined with the butter and hot water into a delicious chocolate-y mixture. 
  • Flour: This Texas sheet cake with buttermilk uses regular all-purpose flour. 
  • Baking Soda: This is the leavening agent that will help the cake rise while baking. 
  • Eggs: Beat the eggs in a separate bowl before adding to the mixture.
  • Buttermilk: Let the buttermilk come to room temperature before adding. This will help it incorporate into the batter much more easily
  • Powdered Sugar: Because the chocolate frosting is a heated frosting that pours onto the cake and sets, you’ll want to sift the powdered sugar so there aren’t any clumps of sugar. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Boil butter, water, and cocoa. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Add 1 cup butter, 1 cup of water and 5 T cocoa powder to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, remove from the heat and set aside. 
  2. Combine dry ingredients. To a large bowl add 2 cups flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk until combined. 
  3. Add cocoa mixture to flour mixture. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Mix until fully combined. Add 2 beaten eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup buttermilk. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour into prepared sheet pan. Lightly spray an 18-13-inch cookie sheet with cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (Mine took 15 minutes but yours may need the full 20. Keep an eye on it.)
Four images showing how to make Texas Sheet Cake batter.
  1. Make the frosting while the cake is baking. Once the cake is halfway done, start making the frosting. Add 12 T butter to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until fully melted, stirring constantly. Once fully melted, add 4 T cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
  2. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Remove the chocolate frosting from the heat and add 6 T milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 lb (16 oz) powdered sugar. Stir until combined and smooth.
  3. Pour warm chocolate frosting on the buttermilk Texas sheet cake. Once the cake has cooled for 3 minutes, pour the frosting on the warm cake and spread it quickly before it sets. Let sit for a few minutes to set. Slice and serve! 
Two images: left image is a baked Texas Sheet Cake in a pan, right image is a freshly frosted Texas Sheet Cake cut into squares.

Recipe Tips

Classic Texas sheet cake uses a traditional half-sheet pan (which is 18×13 inches). (FYI a jelly roll pan is 10×15 inches.)

All ovens are different so keep an eye on the cake as baking time may vary. My Texas sheet cake was finished at 15 minutes, but others may need the full 20 minutes. Do not over bake the cake. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Start making the frosting when the cake barely over halfway done baking. I start when the cake has baked for about 10 minutes. However, if your cake will need the full 20 minutes bake time, you can put off making the frosting for a few more minutes.

Sifting the powdered sugar will create a very smooth and even frosting consistency and appearance. You can opt for not sifting the powdered sugar, but just know you’re more likely to have small lumps in the frosting.

Remember, this fudgy icing sets as it cools. So, if the cake still has 5 minutes to bake, DON’T add the powdered sugar to the frosting just yet. Wait until the cake has been pulled from the oven before continuing to make the frosting.

When the cake has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for about 3-5 minutes. Then, immediately after you’ve make the Texas sheet cake frosting, you should pour it over the barely cooled cake.

Do your best to pour it evenly. Once poured over the cake quickly use a spatula to even out the frosting before it sets.

I enjoy having a slice of this cake when the frosting is only partially set, it has a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. There’s really nothing quite like it.

Add chopped pecans to the frosting for a nutty element. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

You can make the entire cake and frosting ahead of time because the cake will last at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days. However, you can’t really make the cake and the frosting separately.

The cake needs to still be warm (just slightly cooled) when you pour the hot chocolate frosting on. So, you’ll need to make the cake and the frosting in the same sitting. 

Store any leftovers of this Texas sheet cake with buttermilk covered at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days. 

To freeze, let cool completely, then flash freeze for a few minutes until the frosting is firm. Double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Warm before eating! 

Overhead photo of frosted Texas Sheet Cake cut into small squares.

Recipe FAQs

Do boiled ingredients in the cake and frosting need to be cooled before adding?

No. With the cake ingredients, you’ll boil the butter, water, and cocoa and set that aside. So I guess in a way, this is slightly cooling. But you don’t deliberately wait to cool down the ingredients. When you’re doing the frosting, you don’t want to cool the frosting, or it will set in the bowl. Make the frosting and immediately frost the cake. 

Can Texas sheet cake be frozen?

Yes. Frost the cake as instructed then let it cool completely. Once fully cooled, flash freeze until the frosting is firm then wrap the sheet in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Warm in the microwave for best results! 

Can you make Texas sheet cake in round pans?

Yes. I would use three 8-inch round pans. Spray the pans then place a circular piece of parchment paper at the bottom of the pans. Spray again. Then pour in the batter. They may bake more quickly so keep an eye on them. 

Can you make Texas sheet cake into cupcakes?

Sure! I’ve never tried it, but the theory should work. You’ll pour the cake batter (only fill 1/2-2/3 full) into cupcake liners. Bake at 350ºF for 12-15 minutes (turn on the oven light at the 10-minute mark just to make sure they’re not baking more quickly). Remove and let cool for 2 minutes. Then dip the cupcake tops into the frosting. Let set. 

What makes Texas sheet cake different?

Texas sheet cake is different from other cakes because it is made by heating butter, water, and cocoa on the stove. It’s also baked on a sheet cake — making it a thin chocolate cake that is practically the size of Texas! The frosting is a cooked frosting that is thin, but sets on top of the cake. The result is a moist chocolate cake that melts in your mouth, topped with a smooth and sweet chocolate frosting. Amazing! 

Does Texas sheet cake have to be refrigerated?

No, you can store it at room temperature, but it will last longer if stored in the fridge. If you live in a warm or humid climate, definitely opt for the fridge. 

Why is my Texas sheet cake so dense?

Once wet ingredients and dry ingredients are combined, you don’t want to over mixing. Over mixing at this stage will make the batter tense, which causes a dense cake. 

A slice of Texas Sheet Cake on a white plate with a fork net to the slice.

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

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Overhead photo of frosted Texas Sheet Cake cut into small squares.
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5 from 27 votes

Texas Sheet Cake with Buttermilk

This Texas sheet cake is so yummy! We love that it's easy to make. The cake is moist and the frosting is irresistible.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes
Servings: 24 servings


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk




Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 18” x 13” pan with cooking spray.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, water, and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl add flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the chocolate mixture. Mix well. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Mix until combine. 
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (All ovens vary, mine finishes baking by 15 minutes, but yours might need the full 20 minutes, so keep an eye on it).
  • Cool the cake for about 3 minutes before pouring the frosting over it.


  • Once the cake is halfway done baking begin making the frosting. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and heat until melted. Once fully melted add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir until combined and smooth. Pour the frosting over the cake and spread quickly before it sets.


You want to start the frosting when the cake is just more than halfway done. The cake should only cool for 3 minutes before frosting. And you want the frosting to just be done so it doesn’t set in the pan. 


Calories: 310kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 45g (15%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 9g (45%)Cholesterol: 50mg (17%)Sodium: 225mg (9%)Potassium: 60mg (2%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 36g (40%)Vitamin A: 445IU (9%)Calcium: 20mg (2%)Iron: 0.8mg (4%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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