This Texas sheet cake, which feeds a crowd, is as big as its name suggests

Belinda Smith-Sullivan
Texas sheet cake from "Southern Sugar" by Belinda Smith-Sullivan. (Courtesy Gibbs-Smith)

About the recipes

In her book "Southern Sugar" (Gibbs Smith), Belinda Smith-Sullivan includes this classic chocolate sheet cake that works well to feed a crowd.

Serves: 16 to 20



1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup water

1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

2 large eggs, room temperature

1⁄2 cup sour cream, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 


1⁄2 cup unsalted butter

1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

6 tablespoons sour cream or whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted to remove lumps

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a half-sheet pan (12x18 inches) with nonstick spray.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, and cocoa over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and espresso powder. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and then stir into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate mixture and completely combine. Spread into pan and bake 18–20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add butter and cocoa and cook over medium heat, stirring, until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add sour cream and vanilla. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Pour hot mixture over warm cake and spread. Sprinkle chopped nuts over hot frosting and let harden before serving.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Gibbs Smith.