There may be plenty of beauty queens in Texas, but this sheet cake isn't one. But hey, it's supposed to be about inner beauty, right? Whether that's the case or not, this classic Southern recipe would still take home plenty of "Miss Congeniality" awards; it never fails to win over a crowd. This is my take on the cherished recipe I grew up with.
Recipe courtesy of Nealey Dozier
Texas Sheet Cake
35 min
15 min
20 min
s: 24
35 min
15 min
20 min
s: 24


Sheet Cake:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder
  • 1 cup brewed coffee or hot water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted nuts (pecans or walnuts)


For the cake: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 18-by-13-inch sheet pan. 

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a small to medium saucepan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and coffee; increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Follow with the egg mixture and stir until all the ingredients are completely combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and rap on the counter a few times to distribute evenly. Bake the cake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and frost immediately. 

For the frosting: 

When the cake has 5 minutes left in the oven, start the frosting. In a medium to large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder until combined. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir until all of the ingredients are completely incorporated. Fold the toasted nuts into the frosting and immediately pour over the warm cake. Use an offset to help gently spread a thin layer over the entire surface. 

Cool frosted cake on a wire rack for 1 hour, then moved to the refrigerator, preferably overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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